quicklook: mobile in 2012

Fotolia_25192269_XS251x168.jpgMobile will be massive in 2012, and beyond. The smartphone-driven explosion is changing everything and they are taking over some of the ancillary functions traditionally handled by laptops and other PCs.

Stock control, equipment manifests, customer contacts, digital signatures, translation devices, input tools; many applications in many different industries are potentially affected. For example, airline pilots can use tablets such as the iPad for their flight maps and data. In the long run, how many low-level PCs could be replaced by portable devices?

that post-PC thing? It’s real

In 2011, shipments of mobile devices exceeded those of PCs. IDC predicts that in 895 million mobile devices ($277 billion) will ship in comparison with under 400 million PCs ($257 billion) in 2012.

"By 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client,” informs Gartner. It believes that the pace of change over the next four years will be breathtaking, with collaboration requirements and mobile device management at the forefront of this revolution.

“In what should come as little surprise, governments will see "explosive new growth" in mobile applications and devices, not only for citizen outreach, but also for more internal business use,” according to IDC, as reported by Information Week. Concrete recent evidence of this when sources confirm Downing Street is developing an iPad app for UK PM, David Cameron. This will give him access to all available government-released data, for example National Health Service (NHS) waiting-list figures, crime statistics and unemployment numbers.

emerging markets matter

As the global wealth balance continues to reconfigure itself, anticipated future weakness in established markets means emerging markets are incredibly important. As evidence of this potential, Apple’s attempts to boost business in China have generated a 270% climb in its revenues there.

"We purposely put the bulk of our emphasis from an emerging market point of view on China to really learn, and then we're going to take that learning to other markets," said then-COO now CEO, Tim Cook last April.

“In 2020, half of the world’s middle class population will come from Asia,” writes AT Kearney. With business booming in Asia, mobile device makers are focusing on Brazil and Latin America for future growth. Asia-Pacific will see almost 39 million tablet sales next year, reports Yankee Group.

our machines are talking

The number of global mobile subscriptions will pass the 6 billion mark in February. Asia-Pacific alone will pass 3 billion in January, says Pyramid Research. 2012 is also the year of LTE, it says. Broadband penetration will pass 10 percent globally. IPTV, software as service, cloud-based solutions, the app economy and new media services will drive the mobile offering.

LTE will also boost new markets in machine-to-machine (M2M) families of connected devices as connected devices become every day in the home. This will create a new future opportunity for mobile carriers, some reports suggest.

“Two areas that are beginning to see growth in the M2M segment are the in-home and automotive sectors. Both segments witnessed initial traction with Bluetooth technologies that allowed for the connection of devices using the short-range technology. But more powerful radio technologies are now making their way into both avenues, providing greater capabilities and opportunities,” according to a recent report from IDATE Consulting and Research.

How do you think mobile technology will change your business in 2012?

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.