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Mobile technology: Evolution and predictions for 2016

Today's mobile technology can be a real game-changer for businesses. So much so, that CEOs expect game-changing results from their business technology leaders. They are demanding more technology, more innovation, and more strategic thinking in order to achieve their overall objectives.

In a landscape in which ownership of mobile phones is reaching saturation point, these demands appear to be substantiated. According to predictions by Forrester, by the end of 2016 4.8 billion people worldwide will use a mobile phone. Customers, clients, competitors and employees all have the power of smartphone technology at their fingertips and businesses need a mobile-first strategy to harness this potential.

Forrester also predicts that over the coming year, businesses will change how they use mobile technology to better meet their business objectives.

Leveraging business mobility

For many businesses, the first foray into mobility took the form of bring your own device (BYOD). Today, this has expanded into more businesses leveraging mobility as a platform from which to deliver new products and services, to drive business process transformation, and to engage with customers and partners. Over the coming years, we will see business leaders expect even more from mobile technology.

The most recent IDC global market study revealed that around £593 billion was spent on mobile technologies globally in 2014. Of this spend, smartphones and wireless data make up the most part. This growth is expected to reach almost £790 trillion in four years' time. Businesses need to ensure their investment stays in line with this trend, advancing and evolving mobility, and running with technologies that are unique to specific industries.

Enterprise apps to increase

The focus on business apps is expected to grow over the coming years. Research suggests that mobile apps can help boost productivity, increase employee engagement and improve customer satisfaction too. The variety and depth of mobile apps is something that can empower employees – to a far greater extent than email or social media. We will see more business leaders making apps a priority in an effort to garner some of these benefits and deliver the highest business impact.

The Internet of Things is here to stay

Leveraging data from smartphones and devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) is the direction many businesses are choosing to take. The IoT allows companies to streamline processes, improve services and create a more efficient business as a result.

Next year, we can expect some of the Internet’s biggest players (the Amazons, Apples and Googles of the world) to make substantial investment in product and service development to make the most of this trend.

Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM)

There was a time when companies entering enterprise mobility were only worried about securing and managing devices; going forward companies are looking for comprehensive solutions to ensure the productive and secure integration of mobile devices. Within the context of EDM sits mobile device management (MDM). Currently, there are around 160 MDM tools available, but by 2019 we will see a much reduced number of mature EDM tools.

Upsurge in mergers and acquisitions

Next year and beyond, we will see Internet giants looking to become even more colossal as they vie for world dominance. Companies such as Facebook and Google will look to expand their mobile audiences through acquisitions, keen to reach specific demographics. Meanwhile, major cloud companies are likely to be looking for greater mobile automation. Their focus will be on more streamlined products, data-driven insights, and engaging in-app experiences.

Security remains a primary concern

Security concerns will continue to be priority in 2016 and beyond. In a survey commissioned by EMM and BYOD solutions company SOTI, 69% of IT decision makers place mobile security, hacking and malware as their most urgent priority. Mobile device threats are increasing in number and are becoming more aggressive. For businesses this does not only mean data loss, security breaches and compliance violations, but also that the credibility and reputation of a brand is left in tatters.

No one can deny that mobile and cloud computing have created major market disruptions, leading businesses to revisit their technologies and services. This has also meant that immediacy and contextual awareness have been catapulted to the fore, forcing companies to implement some radical changes. And all of this is taking place at break-neck speed, making the evolution of mobility feel more like a revolution.

Read our related blog: Big data can lead to IT jobs boom
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