2011: The Year Ahead in Enterprise Mobility

By  Martha Walz — December 23, 2010

2011 is upon us, so what does that mean for enterprise mobility? In the next few weeks, we will be bringing you in-depth insight from the Mobile Enterprise editorial advisory board as to what they see for the year ahead in mobile. In the meantime, let's review what analysts and vendors are predicting for 2011.
 
Tablets
According to ABI Research, 2011 will be the year of the tablet. The lack of iPad competition in 2010 will lead to a crowded mix of OEM tablet vendors in 2011. The market share for Apple will drop accordingly, but no one single vendor will outsell Apple. On top of that, ABI predicts that although tablets will take off in 2011, netbooks will remain more popular than tablets in the coming year. Gartner analysts agree and predict that tablet sales will reach 54.8 million in 2011 and grow to more than 208 million in 2014.
 
Based on feedback from more than 350 enterprise customers and industry leaders, Zenprise, a provider of enterprise mobile management and mobile device management software, has a bold prediction for tablets in 2011: tablets will kill the laptop. Zenprise believes that tablets will begin replacing laptops in the enterprise, especially by executives who are traveling.
 
Antenna, an enterprise mobile app company, agrees with Zenprise. Antenna has already seen an uptick in enterprise tablet interest and believes that 2011 will be the first year of significant tablet deployments at the expense of laptops.
 
In addition, Zenprise predicts that iPads will trump iPhones in the enterprise. The company anticipates that since enterprises, for the most part, have mobilized their workforces, they are now looking to mobilize their business processes. To that end, Zenprise predicts that the trend will shift to enterprises purchasing and deploying iPads for their employees.
 
Networks/Carriers
With the explosion of tablets, smartphones, M2M devices, and myriad other Web-enabled devices in 2011, ABI Research believes that the carriers will not be able to handle the corresponding explosion in traffic. ABI anticipates networks slowing down, grinding to "an agonizing crawl" in 2012. Only then will carriers start making inroads in adopting more innovative network designs that will be able to handle the traffic of the multitude of devices.
 
Juniper Research analysts agree. 3G networks were under severe strain in 2010 from the surge in network traffic driven by the consumer smartphone boom. The response by some network operators was to introduce tiered data pricing, a trend that Juniper Research believes will undoubtedly increase. However, network capacity will still be tested in 2011. Tiered pricing and Wi-Fi offload may serve to alleviate the problem in the short term, but until mass deployments of LTE networks and LTE-capable devices arise, Juniper sees operators experiencing a nervous period of attempting to manage this transition.
 
Yankee Group analysts believe that 2011 will be a big year for 4G as operators roll out their networks and new devices hit the market. They predict a slow start for 4G, but moves made by players in 2011 will determine their ultimate fate in the marketplace.
 
That said, Yankee Group believes that 4G will fail to win the enterprise in the short term. Currently, less than a third of enterprise decision makers believe that 4G is important, and Yankee Group believes that number will not increase by the end of 2011.
 
BlackBerry vs iPhone vs Android
In the enterprise, BlackBerry holds the top spot among smartphones. In 2011, ABI Research believes that the BlackBerry will remain king, due mostly to the iPhone's security flaws and the fact that the devices can't support some of the mission-critical apps that are available on the BlackBerry. ABI sees iPhone and Android devices making inroads into the enterprise as personal use devices but expects corporations to stick with BlackBerry as the most secure solution.
 
In addition, ABI does not believe that Android will eclipse Apple in 2011 due to the fact that Android has no improved technology or standout features that make its products significantly more attractive than the iPhone.
 
Apps
Visage Mobile, a SaaS provider of enterprise mobile management solutions, believes that as smartphones become critical to business, the future of corporate computing is fueled by employee access to cloud-based enterprise apps on smartphones and tablets.
 
Zenprise agrees that apps will reign supreme in 2011. The vendor predicts that more employees will be connected 24/7 to their e-mail, including non-exempt (hourly) personnel. As such, Zenprise anticipates that more employers will implement and enforce corporate policies to create clear guidelines for after-hours work on mobile devices and ensure proper compensation for non-exempt employees.
 
Zenprise also believes that 2011 will see the creation of a new kind of app they dub the "microapp," which will enable employees to use their mobile devices for transactions commonly conducted via company intranet, such as requesting additional business cards, expense approvals, vacation requests, etc.
 
Antenna sees enterprises branding their own app stores in 2011 as mobile apps proliferate for employees, customers, and partners. This will enable better application management, control, and brand protection.
 
Antenna also sees natively built apps continuing to grow but believes that app and content consumption via mobile Web browsers will also become a key component of a comprehensive enterprise mobility strategy.
 
Mobile threats
Juniper Research sees the security risks of smartphones increasing in 2011 with the growing number of open Wi-Fi networks. While antivirus and firewall products have been must-haves for PCs for some time, the same hasn't been true for mobile devices. With new mobile devices having a wider array of connectivity options which are sometimes less secure, Juniper believes that a more concerted effort for antivirus and firewall products for the mobile space will be a focus for software vendors in the new year.
 
Zenprise anticipates that in 2011, companies will require increasingly sophisticated mobile security solutions that span multiple management layers including the network, device, and application levels.
 
PandaLabs, a cloud security company, believes that threats for Android smartphones will increase considerably throughout the year, becoming the number one mobile target. However, they do not believe that tablets will become a major security threat in the coming year.
 
M2M
In 2010, the M2M market grew significantly, with carrier roll-outs, dedicated M2M business units, and strategic partnerships in the M2M space. Although M2M is now mainstream, ABI Research predicts that in 2011, M2M will face two key challenges: mobile operators and third-party vendors have already developed and deployed systems that incorporate existing communication standards into proprietary frameworks; and vertical-specific standard framework development efforts will compete for attention and development activity. This will lead to a "too many" standards environment that will result in a pause on the path toward comprehensive adoption of universal standards.
 
So which of these predictions for 2011 will come true? Only time will tell. 

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