By Mobile Enterprise Editorial Advisory Board
Mobile Enterprise invited the members of its Editorial Advisory Board to share their views on what's ahead for the wireless enterprise. In the first half of our two-part Outlook 2008 series,we'll explore topics ranging from the hottest apps to pointers on establishing the top priorities for your mobile enterprise. We welcome your responses to these topics; email us at Editor@MobileEnterpriseMag.com
with the word OUTLOOK in the subject line.
||1. What should be the No. 1 priority for an enterprise as they think about mobility for the year ahead? Why?
BARADET: What are the top 10% of the features/services that 90% of your user base will want/need to access from a mobile device? Are those features/ services crafted to deliver over SMS, WAP and other networks to small screen form-factor / bandwidth limited devices? Can they be properly authenticated and delivered in the most secure manner that is practicable?
BRUMER: The convergence of wireless communications between home, office and cellphone. Moving towards a one-number connection plan is critical to having full access to people and information.
CAFFERY: In the utility [sector], the biggest challenge we are faced with is total cost of ownership. As we move our entire utility workforce to mobiles (3,000+ users), it becomes a constant test to accurately reflect the amount of money we spend each year on support, network charges and upgrades.
HALPERT: Mobile device lifecycle management should be the No. 1 priority for organizations. There are two aspects that need consideration. The first is how to deal with the physical device itself while the second is howto securely manage the data contained on the mobile device.
JOHN: Though many great and valid points of concern surround the inevitability of mobility in the enterprise, privacy concerns and implications should be priority No. 1. Privacy issues were slow to surface and garner governmental interest in the electronic information age but will not be so as greater mobile technologies are embraced. Consumer privacy legislation will dictate the pace for bringing innovation to the marketplace.
LEWIS: Mobility is not an option: it is an imperative for businesses large and small. It is a mistake to separate mobility projects in the I.T. budget. New systems should incorporate mobility, leaving the air interface and device interface modular to enable future flexibility. Larger enterprises can afford RF engineers, but even smaller firms need a mobile specialist (or outsourced help). Whether you have had a good year or bad, think of the processes now used by your customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders to communicate. Pick the one that can be most improved by a mobile option and work on a plan to make it happen.
MACGILLIVRAY: Enterprises need to make 2008 the year to take inventory of the wireless devices (including cell phones, smartphones, converged mobile devices, EVDO/HSDPA aircards, etc.) that are being used in, and expensed to, the organization. Corporate policies need to be established over mobile phone usage. Moving to a corporate-liable environment is critical. Enterprises will benefit from corporate discounts and minute pooling, which will save money and allow enterprises to plan for the next step in their mobile strategy.
O'MALLEY: Developing applications that meet business needs and address business problems. That's universial - beyond mobility, beyond industry, beyond technology. Wehave to find ways to use technology to improve business outcomes.
SETTLES: Taking an accurate pulse of the end-user community. As every major computing trend - CRM, sales force automation, wireless - has taken hold within commercial and government organizations, you find multimillion- dollar deployments driven by management before they gather sufficient end-user feedback.
SEYBOLD: First, with all of the industry hype about new technologies such as WiMAX coming on line - followed in 2009 and 2010 by next-generation technologies that promise data speeds four times what we have today - it is possible that many enterprises will decide just to wait and see how things develop.
This has been a trend since the first wireless data networks were introduced in the early 1990s, and has been a deterrent to uptake of wireless services by enterprises ever since. Yet the reality is that those companies that did not wait and made the decision to implement wireless have already reaped the rewards in terms of better customer care and a return on investment.
My advice for enterprise customers in 2008 is to not listen to what will be but listen to what is here and now, understand how today's technologies can be of benefit to your company and move forward with pilot projects and then full implementation.
SIGNORINI: Mobility Management. Usage and spending on mobility continues to increase every year for both basic voice services and more advanced mobile data services. This will not subside in the near future. Companies need to gain more centralized control of procurement, inventory and cost optimization. This will be crucial as enterprises seek to widen deployment of mobile data and application initiatives; in many cases, getting basic mobile voice under control can yield cost savings that can be used to fund data initiatives. The management controls put in place will be crucial to maintain adequate security and compliance for mobility.
VOSHELL: Security, security, security. With all the talk around loss of mobile devices, personal information, and social security numbers, the weakest link we are seeing in the industry is the mobile devices.
WINTHROP: The No. 1 priority for an enterprise should be metrics. Organizations should always consider why they are looking to deploy a mobile solution and simultaneously what they expect the tangible outcomes from this investment to be. The greatest challenge in enterprise mobility is the ability to tangibly quantify the value a solution can provide. [This is true] particularly for a horizontal application (e.g. it's almost impossible to quantify the value of mobile email, although no one will challenge its importance). You have to plan, assess by measuring and adapt the plan based upon real-world results.
2. What's the hot new mobile enterprise application or technology for 2008?
BARADET: Location-based services, especially on GPS-enabled phones, will continue to roll out. Look for mobile-related Google Map mashups for dining, transport and entertainment. See HopStop, NextBus, etc.
BRUMER: CRM/Customer information that interfaces to email and client information.
CAFFERY: The new technology PSE&G is looking at is finding a device that can be portable, lightweight, wireless, and inexpensive that can support business requirements. We are currently replacing our CIS system and migrating to SAP - CCS. Our credit and collection reps will be getting mobile devices that need to fit the abovementioned requirements.
HALPERT: Although not directly targeting the enterprise, anything Google and anything Apple. Apple and Google. Gapple? Can I get a finder's fee for that one?
JOHN: Although the argument can be made that LBS are typically for the consumer market, many business applications will gain speed, such as Send Word Now and Verizon's Field Force Manager.
LEWIS: Affordable, chip-based, wireless voice security is my pick. Whether deal making, personnel privacy, asset protection, or prevention of financial results leaks is the issue for your business, these activities can be compromised while speaking on cell phones. (Full disclosure: my client Koolspan, Inc. is piloting a peer-to-peer chip-based wireless solution).
MACGILLIVRAY: WiFi. No, it's not a new enterprise technology, but its use is going to evolve in 2008 as more WiFi-enabled dual-mode devices become available. Just like cellular data access moved from the mobile handset to the laptop, WiFi is moving from the laptop to the mobile handset. This new venue for WiFi has the potential to drive down data (and eventually voice) costs. WiFi is cool again.
O'MALLEY: Location and location- based services are becoming more and more functional and expected by end users. Devices that understand where we are can add tremendous value by presenting contextual information. Just as consumers led the way to widespread usage of cellular, consumers are today leading the way through the explosion of consumer GPS technology. It's up to enterprises to develop applications that take advantage of this new element of data to help our mobile workers be more productive.
SETTLES: One of the big technologies this year is going to be multi-mode mobile devices - those that can automatically sense and switch seamlessly between cellular data services to WiFi to the office or campus wireless network. Though this type of transparency between networks gives some I.T. people the willies about the security risks, organizations and users will benefit in the long run.
Users can quickly access WiFi networks, which typically are much faster than cellular networks and enable users to get more work done. Data from the field flows to back-end systems faster, and vice-versa. Additionally, workers won't lose time (hopefully) wrestling with the technical logistics of logging in and out of different systems as they move around. Organizations also benefit because they spend less for data access the more they get employees off cellular networks and onto free corporate or cheap external WiFi networks.
SEYBOLD: I would describe the hot new mobile enterprise application as "beyond email." That is, companies that have already installed BlackBerry, Palm and Windows devices to send and receive email should be looking at expanding the role of their wireless devices to interface with other applications in day-today use within their company.
SIGNORINI: Location. The emergence of more location-capable devices with built-in GPS will allow location-based services to expand beyond traditional strongholds such as transportation, f leet management and field service. Additionally, more applications will be built to take advantage of these capabilities and ultimately be incorporated into most mobile application initiatives.
VOSHELL: VoIP calling on cell phones.
WINTHROP: Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC). FMC is going to finally deliver on the promise of unified communications. It will be the next killer application for mobility in terms of extending the desktop phone and its accompanying PBX features onto the mobile device. It will also provide the opportunity for the continued proliferation of dual-mode devices (i.e., WiFi enabled smartphones). The extension of the PBX will provide mobile workers the same benefits that mobilizing email did, and solidify the notion of how mobility can help create a borderless office.
3. What do you think is going to be the biggest enterprise application/technology flop in 2008?
BARADET: Idon't know, but I hope it is location-based targeted advertising via SMS or email to mobile devices.
BRUMER: Forcing the iPhone into the enterprise.
CAFFERY: I don't know if the security issues we are now facing will be adequately resolved in the coming year.
HALPERT: Mobile WiMax. The promise is great, but with all new mobile devices capable of WiFi and/or cellular broadband, where is the enterprise practicality?
JOHN: Fixed-Mobile Convergence. Specifically as it relates to combining mobile and land-based calls.
LEWIS: Mobile payments in the U.S. Vending machine and busfare micro-payments (near-field communications) may get traction, but cellphones supplanting credit card readers? Not yet. [There are] no standards. [There are] too many dollars invested in undepreciated secure legacy payment systems and too many secure desktop payment options.
MACGILLIVRAY: WiMAX. All the hype, and yet there is skepticism that Sprint will reach 100 million subscribers by year end. In 2008, what enterprise applications (that are actually being used in a mobile environment) will need higher bandwidth than is already provided through the cellular network?
O'MALLEY: iPhone (really a 2007 answer). It's an amazing device, but it's not an enterprise device, at least not yet.
SEYBOLD: In 2008, we will begin to see the greatest technology flop of the 21st century. Sprint will launch its WiMAX network in several cities in the United States and will try to portray the network as ideal for corporate data services. In reality, the coverage will be lacking and the devices will be slow to come to the market. Further, WiMAX performance will disappoint its customers. We will find that all of the existing wide-area broadband companies can supply higher speeds with better coverage than Sprint will be able to with its WiMAX network.
SIGNORINI: Speech recognition, again.
VOSHELL: Applications that require too many third-party drives or interfaces to run on the device. The object of the mobile device is to keep it thin and light; up-time for a mobile device is critical.
WINTHROP: Android. There's a ton of hype around the Android platform, but given Google's business model of bundling a ton of apps that then are paid for by (mobile) advertising, I find it very hard to believe that any organization would allow those kinds of applications and devices to interact with mission critical data, devices and content.
4. When do you think the activities around the 700 MHz auction and Google / Verizon wireless open access will begin to have impact on enterprise mobility? What will that impact be?
BARADET: 700 MHz will be interesting, especially in delivering service deep inside structures where the higher frequency services are now blocked. For those of us in rural, sparsely populated areas such as Upstate New York, it will be at least three to five years until we see 700 MHz service if the winner has to build out from scratch. If the winner partners with an existing carrier, such as Verizon or Sprint, we may see it closer to the three-year time frame.
BRUMER: It will be at least two to three years before anything is rolled out for customers with the 700 MHz. The open access statement released by Verizon won't haveanyimpact on enterprises for some time. The networks will not be "open" in the true sense of the word. Products and applications will need approval and "certification" to be placed on the networks. It may help with small third-party providers in a few years, but the jury is still out.
HALPERT: Enterprise implications are a few years off: 2009 - 2010. That said, the results could have a tremendous effect on the business model for mobile carriers and device manufacturers. The testing ground will be the consumer market prior to enterprise adoption of related technologies.
JOHN: Impact won't be seen until late 2010 at the earliest. One of the greater implications of open access will be the potential to create broadband service that competes with the telco and cable companies. Current broadband carriers will be forced to be more competitive to retain business.
LEWIS: The auction marked a watershed in U.S. cellular communications, freeing a portion of spectrum (about one third of that up for bid) from the restrictive device and application rules of Verizon and AT&T. Google lobbied for this "open" network and will bid for it, cheered on by handset, application and infrastructure vendors eager to take advantage of this market opportunity. Building a new network will take three to five years.
Of immediate importance to enterprises is the "opening" of the existing Verizon network, subject to a testing process for devices. For enterprises, the newly opened Verizon network means new devices to evaluate, [and] the opportunity to use new and existing mobile applications [that were] previously restricted. Enterprises may elect to use more managed mobile services and more third-party systems integration to cope with the profusion of choices this will bring.
SETTLES: I can see a couple of indirect results in the next few months, assuming Google is one of the winning bidders. First, the incumbent telcos will duel to become the champions of open access, as we've seen already with announcements from Verizon and AT&T. [Open access] is going to reduce costs and headaches for enterprises, while leading to more productive operations by the workforce as a whole.
Second, prices for cellular data network services should start to drop. Google scares telcos because it has as much money as Bill Gates and a death grip on a significant mindshare of the U.S. market. Nothing sparks the southward spiral of telecom prices like the threat of a better, cheaper competitor.
SEYBOLD: In 2008, there will be minimal impact from either the 700- MHz auctions or the "Open Access" requirements of the FCC, and Verizon and the other networks will make strides. However, 2008 is too early for any significant "open access" devices. We'll see new pricing models for data usage [that] will be based on the total amount of data used, and [these] could be different for network customers and open access customers.
SIGNORINI: The 700 MHz auction will not have a direct impact on enterprise deployments for five or more years, since network buildout, etc., will take time. The concept of more "open" networks and access will have a more near-term effect. It's likely that enterprises will feel that impact in areas such as machine-to-machine applications and wide-area enablement of laptops, rather than things such as basic voice services.
VOSHELL: Activities around the auction and open access will have an effect at the enterprise level in Q2 2009.
WINTHROP: Neither will have any real impact for years. An existing wireless carrier will need years to fully deploy a 700 MHz-based network. Google will need even more time [than others] as it has none of the infrastructure - unless it chooses to buy out Sprint. Verizon's open access? Opening up the current network is more symbolic than anything else. The real change at Verizon Wireless will occur when they switch to LTE (currently scheduled for 2012), which is fundamentally the 4G version of GSM. //