Real men don’t eat quiche. Don’t they? It took the quiche industry years to recover from those 5 little words. Our society constantly pits people/places/things against each other and HTML5 vs. Native is no different. Can’t we all just get along and realize that there is a time and place for everything. I for one, truly enjoy a nice quiche Lorraine after my Saturday morning hike right before I go for a nice glass of Pinot Noir (notice it’s Pinot Noir, not Grigio, as real men cannot eat quiche and drink Pinot Grigio in the same day, that’s just a known fact). It’s time people realize that you don’t have to choose one camp over the other – there is a time and a place for HTML5, and a time and place for Native development – don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Recently, some big-name device OEMs like Samsung and BlackBerry have been touting new or updated solutions to keep “work and play” information separate. BlackBerry’s Z10 and Q10 devices build on the company’s “BlackBerry Balance” solution that has been around for a few years now and helps companies keep apps and information for work and play separate. At Mobile World Congress a couple months ago, Samsung introduced their KNOX solution, which aims to do something similar – create separate spaces within the devices they manufacturer to provide companies some built-in mobile device management capabilities.
However, it’s not just the device companies that are talking about containers. There’s a list as long as your arm of software companies that are pitching their wares to cordon-off sensitive work activities from the tweets, downloads, posts, and Angry Birds that workers like to do both on- and off-the-clock. Products like Good Dynamics, Citrix MDX, Apperian’s EASE, and Divide from Enterproid are just a few of the myriad solutions available on the market today. They may not actually call it a “container,” but instead use terms like shells, hubs, sandboxes, and personas. But don’t be fooled – they are all essentially trying to accomplish the same thing. It’s about the data. It’s about protecting sensitive work information and securing it from the other potentially hazardous activities folks could be doing on their mobile devices, which by the way are increasingly being supplied by the employees themselves. In fact, a recent report from Gartner states that by 2017 half of all employers will require workers to supply their own devices for work purposes (commonly referred to as BYOD, or bring your own device).
While BYOD was originally thought to be a boon for businesses looking to shed device costs, there has been some recent backlash among enterprises that have lived with it for a while. I was recently speaking with a CIO at one of our largest and most tenured customers who told me he is reevaluating his entire BYOD strategy. For him and many others like him, the original attraction to Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions was the ability to allow employees to bring their preferred device into the workplace as long as they downloaded a piece of client software that gave IT a level of control and management over the computing tool. The value proposition was dirt simple and was to a certain degree pushing on an open door, which is why MDM solutions have become so pervasive throughout enterprises in recent years. As the old adage goes: “if you can’t beat them, join them.” In other words, if folks want to use their own devices, many IT executives are saying, “I might as well let them because (a) I don’t have to supply and pay for corporate devices, and (b) it will help drive greater end-user satisfaction and productivity.” (Because the last thing any CIO wants is to be known as someone getting in the way of productivity). But as was the case with our customer, he told me he was moving away from BYOD because the time and cost to support the devices had far eclipsed the advantages. And the security risks were also too great in a business that has a high turnover rate.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of posts which will (briefly) examine the impact of mobility in various industries. Have an industry you’d like Jon’s comments on? Let us know below!
The state of today’s mobile shopper has drastically changed within the last couple of years. The convergence of social, mobile and all things digital have become the key elements in delivering a seamless experience to shoppers. As mobile has become a more important part of that equation, retailers have jumped on board in order to keep up with ‘tech giants’ such as Amazon and eBay who have already have reinvented the customer experience.
However, many retailers are still in experimentation mode. In some cases, they have fallen short in their customer’s expectations around mobile offerings and are now faced with potential lost sales/revenue to companies who have made it easy for consumers to purchase items. The solution is creating mobile apps that have the right elements to reach and engage the customer by personalizing the experience which will ultimately drive sales, and providing an experience that works seamlessly across the various retail channels – in store, mobile, and traditional online. One example we love is Dick’s Sporting Goods mobile app – check it out.
When building an app, retailers should keep the customer top of mind as they are most vocal in what works for them. Here are some tips to enhance your mobile strategy:
Last month Google announced that it was retiring Google Reader. Cue howls of protest from thousands of devotees that no-one knew existed (it was a low key product, after all). But despite these protests – protests that eventually took the form of a massive online petition – Google Reader looks about as likely to make a comeback as Firefly does.
So what will the news junkies do when their favorite dealer of news fixes goes into retirement on the non-extradition-treaty island where Google houses its past-it projects? The answer, of course, is: go over to the competition.
If you’re someone who’s going to be looking for a new RSS reader come July 1st, you might want to check out the following tablet-friendly programs:
Pulse News (free on iOS, Android and web) has an extremely intuitive interface – one that has been noticeably optimized for touch screens. Another plus is the way it displays news sites in vertical columns, making it easy to scroll up and down to view all the latest headlines. Pulse is cheekily taking advantage of the furor over Google Reader’s demise by offering users the option to import their Google Reader feeds via a special page on its website.
Flipboard (free on iOS and Android) is the big daddy of mobile news-readers thanks to options that allow users to customize their news homepages down to the last serif. The latest edition of the app also allows users to create their own ‘automatic’ attractive magazines. Sharing stories over social networks is as easy as you would expect, meaning that you’ll be able to send your favorite Buzzfeeds to all and sundry (except your boss) in the blink of an eye.
As a fairly young mobile maven, sometimes I forget how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time. Recently I’ve been pretty frustrated with my iPhone 4 (more on that in an upcoming blog!) and have found myself a victim of what I call the Louis CK syndrome — if you’ve never seen his bit about cell phones needing to communicate with space, I highly recommend it but I won’t link to it here because of the language, but you can check out a more friendly version here. I’ll try to open an app, wait for what feels like forever for it to load and shut it down in frustration – and then repeat about 10 times. Probably all in the span of a minute. I’m definitely a product of the “RIGHT NOW” generation, but sometimes I just can’t help it. Yet I know it’s important in times like that to reflect on how far technology has taken us.
Recently I’ve gotten some great perspective on this. Take for example the milestone of last week — when we celebrated 40 years since the first cell phone call. That’s longer than I (or Mark Zuckerberg for that matter) have been alive. In the 40 years since that first call a lot of improvements and changes have been made — to the design, functionality, and use of these devices that now serve as a crucial part of most people’s daily life. And I can’t even begin to imagine what will be accomplished in the next 40 years in mobile technology.
I was just listening to Jon Stewart interview NY Times writer Michael Moss about his new book Salt Sugar Fat and he said something that struck a chord with me. He was talking about the science of creating food and something called the “Bliss factor.” That perfect balance that will ensure that the products are a smash hit with consumers. That’s where I want to go with BYOD policy – I’ve been searching for that perfect mix of hardware, software, and education that will protect my IP yet give my consumers that rush they get when eating a Twinkie. OK, I know it’s a bit of flight-o-fancy to think that a BYOD policy can compare to a Twinkie (they are coming back!), but why not, why not venture out on that quest, at least for a little bit.
When I was growing up, we were encouraged (er, pushed mostly) to go play outside. Video games you could play at home were in their infancy and computers were just starting to infiltrate the home. Smartphones hadn’t been invented yet and the idea that “there’s an app for that” was a long way off. Being ambitious as a kid meant being a good student or excelling at a particular sport or musical talent. But in today’s digital age, ambition in youth looks more like young technology entrepreneurship (a la the Mark Zuckerberg effect), and kids are leveraging technology to make a name for themselves early on.
In the last couple days a few of these ambitious digital youngsters have really jumped out at me. Take for example this super cute (and funny) nine-year-old girl who put up a Kickstarter to raise some money for a camp that would equip her with better skills for building her own RPG (Role Playing Game). A pint-sized developer in her own right (with an edge), she asked folks to donate a mere $829 for the course fee. Fortunately, people love a little tech tycoon and her project went viral – as of this writing she’s raised nearly $23,000. She said if she got more than her $829 goal her mom said maybe she could buy a new laptop…so I’m guessing she’ll be getting a nice digital upgrade. As developers become a more and more important role – particularly in mobile – it’s nice to see a young girl with such an avid appetite for technology, and the gumption to go out there and really do something with it.
On the flip side is 17-year old app developer, Nick D’Aloisio, whose app Summly was just bought by Yahoo! for $30 MILLION. He launched his first app a few years ago and right now his company (and his time alone) is worth quite a pretty penny. It sure beats the $5.00 an hour I was making at an apple farm when I was 17.
It’s interesting to watch these tiny tech moguls pursue their dreams and ideas with the help of technology, and I think it puts a whole new spin on what being an ambitious kid means in today’s society.
I had a chance to chat with a friend recently and catch up on what’s going on in his life. The last time we talked was about a year or two ago and we just hadn’t connected since then due to a variety of scheduling issues and a general lack of trying.
When last we spoke he had mentioned that his company was mid way through doing a top to bottom analysis of what they needed to mobilize their business. Low and behold, they are STILL at it some two years later. Seriously?
The term analysis paralysis comes to mind. They are so concerned with evaluating everything that they have lost sight of the original reason they started this process: Find out what they need to know to move QUICKLY on a mobile strategy. I guess “quickly” means different things to different people but even the government doesn’t usually consider 2+ years “quick.”
My friend is very frustrated because he has seen plenty of lost opportunity and even inroads into their customer base from their competitors due to a lack of mobility. They are slower at responding to customer requests, unable to automate their field force, and have had nothing but problems offering additional value-added services that their customer’s actually need. The short story is…they are being left behind.
What I find odd about this entire process is that they realized earlier than most people that they needed to consolidate their mobility focus and make strategic decisions while using specific projects and applications as tactical steps toward their overall goal. The problem is that they can’t make a decision to save their own lives and it is killing them.
Do you have a mobility plan at your company? Are you executing on it or just planning it? Have you been at it longer than a congressional election cycle? Are you analyzing every possible “what if” scenario no matter how unlikely and tangential the possibility is?
Businesses have traditionally lagged behind consumer markets when it comes to adopting new devices, but tablet sales in the enterprise are set to grow substantially in the next few years, according to Gartner.
Indeed, Gartner has heralded the devices as the “key accelerator to mobility” for the enterprise, and predicts that businesses will have purchased 53 million tablets by 2016 (click here to see how tablets and a very special Antenna solution accelerated Eaton Corporation to mobility in 2012).
Truth be told, tablets are not a new phenomenon – they’ve been around for years as a computing device for field workers not able to tote around laptops in extreme or highly mobile environments. In fact, it was in the early 2000s that Microsoft coined the term Microsoft Tablet PC; however, it wasn’t until 2010 when Apple launched the first iPad that tablets achieved their celebrity status as a popular consumer device. Apple’s dominance of the tablet category is likely to continue in 2013, thanks to the strength of its brand and a rich ecosystem of content comprising 600,000+ apps. But other Android-based models have emerged as viable alternatives due to their competitive price points and powerful capabilities. Take for example, Google’s Nexus 7 – which has a quad-core processor and 720p display, and is priced quite a bit below the iPad. Nevertheless, putting in a large order for tablets has – until now – been prohibitively expensive for all but the largest enterprises. ‘Until now’ – because a new range of low price, low-end tablets are now trying to steal market share from the big boys.
I’ve been on the road a lot in the past few weeks, particularly spending time at some of the largest wireless and technology conferences on this side of the Atlantic. Both Mobile World Congress and CeBIT were great conferences and shows we participated in with some of our leading partners – IBM and Huawei.
MWC keeps getting bigger and better, packed with great technology, cool ideas and super smart people – estimates suggest that 72,000 delegates attended this year.
The new venue was a vast improvement on recent years. Admittedly the spectacular back drop was has gone but the venue afforded modern, spacious, clean and well organised accommodation with plenty of flexible seating to conduct meetings, although some would argue a tad soulless.
Neither Microsoft, Google, nor Blackberry had a stand this time and, as usual, Apple declined to participate. The vacuum left by these organisations was impressively filled by organisations like Airwatch (MDM vendor) who, on the back of a $200m funding round, set about spending some of their newly acquired cash on a stand the size of Wales.
I must admit there seemed to be more of an Enterprise feel to the show this year. Of course consumer technology hunters were not disappointed but the increased attendance from software vendors, systems integrators and consultancy firms definitely pointed to a substantial focus on the Enterprise customer.
Above all though it was the year of the API. It was apparently obligatory for every single delegate to mutter the word API in every single conversation. Jokes aside, the true innovators seem to be assembling technologies like Lego blocks in order to extend, improve and differentiate their product offerings.