A view from Mobile World Congress
Mobile World Congress (MWC) has moved to a new venue for 2013. This week the Fira Gran Via is 94,000 square metres of hardware vendors, application developers, security companies, service providers and just about anyone who is anyone in the world of mobility. 10 years ago it would have been a much smaller gathering of mostly mobile service providers focused mainly on getting a voice call from one country to another. Now it is much more about mobile computing, lifestyle and the ability of mobility to make an impact just about everywhere.
We took some of our enterprise customers around the event, introduced them to a few of our partners then asked them for their impressions of the event and the themes they picked up on:
- Separating the personal and professional - We looked at a number of ways of bringing enterprise applications to mobile devices with the security that protects both the personal and professional life. Our friends at Samsung showed us just how far this has come with their KNOX program.
- It's all about the application - The focus is much more on the applications, than on the devices, and making applications work together to deliver business value. There was a big ‘but’…the applications have to be easy to use, otherwise the enterprise will not realize any benefit.
- Filling in the gaps - Device vendors are offering ranges of devices, not just high-end smartphones and tablets, to help get the next 1 billion consumers connected. This also helps the enterprise to spread the benefits of mobility far beyond the executives and sales users.
- Controlling costs – Enterprises are looking at regional or global deals to drive down and control costs. Bring your own Network, sometimes part of Bring your own Device, is seen as a problem in cost control.
- NFC and M2M – Near Field Communications was in evidence just about everywhere and the ‘connected city’ zone showed the coming together of the internet of things and mobile people.
- Who wasn’t there – Comments were made about the lack of both Apple and BlackBerry, though there was no lack of Apple products on display and BlackBerry had cunningly installed themselves in a hotel across the road. More than 50% of my enterprise customers run a significant BlackBerry fleet so BB10 and the new devices are very much of interest to them.
My own personal observation is that MWC now resembles a lot of other IT industry events; yet more evidence that mobility is a significant part of the IT landscape.
Did you go to Barcelona this year? What did you think?
March 15, 2013Interesting comments about devices, especially in the light of the major launch from Samsung last night of the S4 and the better than expected sales figures from Black Berry. I like the idea of choice of devices for different user needs especially for bringing on the next billion users, a major theme running through MWC this year.
March 14, 2013Alan FosterThe unbelievably soaring prices of the iProducts has created an awareness among users to search for cheaper devices. Although the launch of BB10 might have not been a huge success as hyped, but it surely did capture a fraction of the market. People may say that it is because of their loyal customers, but some other people too have jumped on board.
March 1, 2013StewartThanks Peter, great summary. I agree with most of it, but I think you underplay the interest in devices. Phablets were everywhere and the Firebox OS stand was chokka. Everyone is looking at the iPhone alternatives. What will be interesting from the enteprise perspective will be the further fragmentation of the OS market and BYOD. Yes, great that HTML5 will eventually become the standard for all mobile apps (great for developers) but the security risks for each device will be different (no great for IT managers). So I think IT managers should keep a keen eye on how the OS market is developing and whether they want a really open arms approach to BYOD or bring it back in house with a Choose Your Own Device Within Reason (CYODWR) plan. You might be able to tell that I made the last bit up.