Only a few years ago, workers weren’t allowed to use their mobile devices while at work. Today, many enterprises have adopted a mobile-first strategy to equip and empower employees to do their jobs faster, more accurately, and closer to the customer.
The global average for adults using personal smartphones for business activities reached 54 per cent, with the highest level at 64 per cent in North America and the next highest at 50 per cent in Germany.
New use cases for enterprise mobility solutions surface practically every day. It’s taken for granted that many employees will have access to a smart mobile device, either their very own device or a company-issued device. A social media manager may be expected to post updates throughout the day using their mobile device. Workers use company-provided wearable barcode scanners and rugged tablets to check in new inventory in a warehouse. A retail worker can check stock locations to guide customers to the right aisle for a home repair part.
As businesses adapt to this new paradigm, enterprise mobility management solutions quickly become critical for managing hardware, software, and networks worldwide.
Key trends and key players are shaping the landscape as enterprise mobility becomes the standard in 2024 and beyond. The success of your enterprise mobility management will depend on your strategic understanding and response to these developments.
Trend 1: Enhanced Security Protocols for Mobile Devices
While there are many benefits, the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise IT estate also increases the number of attack surfaces that must be secured.
Whether mobile devices are used on-premises, or in a remote environment, an enterprise mobility security strategy requires stricter measures to both secure data, and protect corporate data from breaches or unapproved access. The European Commission has banned the social media app TikTok from phones issued to staff members in response to security fears.
Enterprise security faces challenges with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and choose-your-own-device (CYOD) policies, which allow employees to use devices not controlled by the company for enterprise work. These personal devices must deploy appropriate controls to safeguard sensitive company data while allowing the employees to perform their functions. A unified endpoint management program can address these challenges.
Enterprise mobility management provides the features required for successful enterprise and mobility solutions deployments. Comprehensive EMM solutions from key vendors offer security features such as application and content-level control on a unified platform to secure data.
To keep pace with the expanding mobile device footprint of enterprise customers and ongoing attacks on enterprise security, traditional mobile device management (MDM) is being supplanted by mobile application management (MAM). It is a stricter yet flexible mobile management for controlling smartphone and tablet usage at work. The enterprise mobility management industry is stepping up its efforts to secure sensitive enterprise data, too.
Trend 2: IoT Integration for Seamless Operations
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a networked system of interrelated computing devices, physical and digital machines, objects, or practically anything given unique identifiers to access corporate data over networks.
Refrigerated cargo trailers, construction equipment, utility poles, smart hospital beds, and more are all nodes in the IoT. Asset tracking with GPS tags helps companies manage mobile assets in real-time.
Security is crucial to successful IoT integration, as each endpoint represents a possible attack vector. Bad actors have gained network and corporate data and access through thermostats and other benign devices.
IoT devices must be able to connect with all corporate enterprise data, networks, and outside parties while maintaining security for enterprise data, devices, and networks.
The spread of 5G in public and private networks will boost the integration of IoT devices in many sectors. For example, the high speed and low latency of 5G make it ideal for industrial automation and control systems. Backed by the performance of 5G, mobile devices enable collaborative work, building on sensor information and smart devices to create an intelligent layer in real time that transforms how people do their jobs.
Trend 3: Edge Computing in the Enterprise
One of the top benefits of enterprise mobility solutions is bringing computing solutions closer to work.
Rugged mobile devices can be found at the ragged edge of the enterprise, from the depths of coal mines to oil drilling platforms and sterile healthcare settings.
Workers can increase their productivity and customer service as the mobile workforce expands. Delivery truck drivers can offer electronic proof of delivery that can be sent to all involved parties to speed up payments and remove paper from the process. Restaurant waitstaff can accept credit cards at the table side.
Healthcare IT departments are looking for edge computing solutions to accelerate patient diagnoses and move to telemedicine for non-emergency cases.
Expanding enterprise mobility programs enhances worker productivity, allowing them to work anywhere. They can access corporate data while on the go.
However, the endpoint devices must meet requirements to run enterprise workloads and apps with seamless integration with the rest of the IT estate.
Capabilities of mobile devices to access corporate data and support edge computing are developing along with two key trends. First, the evolution of software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings allows employees to access tools and company data from any connected device. This ability to access corporate data allows companies to overcome technical debt by embracing lower-cost mobility solutions and cost-effective SaaS offerings with reduced capital expenses compared to legacy technology.
Second, edge computing power will be increasingly vital to maximizing the adoption of the large language models underlying AI services by sharing processing loads with cloud services. Mobile device performance increases to match the heavy computing demand.
Trend 4: Augmented Reality (AR) in the Field
Mobile devices will be the primary platform for extended reality (XR), such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The expansion of AR is being made possible through 5G networks that support the bandwidth and low latency necessary for the XR applications.
Augmented reality blends a view of the physical world with digital information in real time. It adds digital components to real-world devices. In contrast, virtual reality is a completely digital environment. Some common examples are filters on social media platforms that place humourous artwork on a person’s face, like adding a dog’s snout and ears to your picture.
To handle AR apps, mobile devices must be equipped with processors that can handle complex calculations in real-time and the camera, motion sensors, and other hardware to interact with the software for adequate performance.
With AR in field applications, users bring data collection and interactivity closer to the work. Repair crews can access AR apps that overlay repair information on top of a video of the machine. Healthcare workers can find veins with an AR app that makes blood drawing easier for everyone involved.
In some cases, the future of AR is already here. Room, a manufacturer of office pods and phone booths, uses an AR app to help field installers solve problems in Sydney, Melbourne, and North America.
Trend 5: 5G’s Impact on Enterprise Mobility
Enterprises are still coming to terms with the spread of 5G cellular networks around the globe. By 2029, 5G is expected to become the dominant mobile technology, with connections doubling over the next two years.
As the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity, 5G delivers faster speeds and more reliable connections. Higher data rates and lower latency support innovative use cases in edge computing and IoT devices. Some operators offer private networks to take advantage of 5G performance.
The enterprise mobility management industry is working tirelessly to fulfill the promise of 5G. For example, Asian port operators have set up local 5G networks to introduce automation and intelligence to new and existing terminals. Singapore has sponsored 5G trials across multiple sectors, such as healthcare, manufacturing enterprise mobility management, and construction. The nation’s traffic sensor program will test the outcome of using 5G to enhance performance in traffic management and urban planning.
City officials in Jakarta are using 5G to enable smart mobility solutions to target seasonal flooding that causes significant damage each year.
Major vendors like Getac in the enterprise mobility management industry continue to refine solutions for using 5G for managed enterprise mobility and services for their enterprise customers.
Trend 6: Remote Work Solutions Revolutionising Enterprise Mobility Management
Since the pandemic, many organizations have adopted a work-from-home model of some form, altering work styles and creating demand for enterprise-grade managed mobility services, solutions, services, and security.
With 5G delivering increased network speed, optimised battery usage, and improved performance in dense office spaces, other enterprise mobility solutions and tools such as video conferencing, cloud storage, and web collaboration tools are moving from nice to have to the status quo. With 5G, remote work can be accomplished more efficiently even when employees aren’t connected directly to the enterprise business network.
However, remote work presents challenges for enterprise mobility management.
The BYOD model enables IT departments to install enterprise-approved and managed apps on employees’ devices. Users select their devices, while employers retain control of corporate data and software. Although BYOD may reduce device acquisition costs for the employer, increased IT oversight expenses may offset those savings. However, research indicates allowing personal devices at work helps employees be more productive.
Alternatives include the Employer-Provided Device (EPD) and the Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) models. The company provides the devices but allows some level of personal use. These models allow companies to monitor workers more closely through management apps to monitor data use and tools to record work hours remotely.
As more employees use personal devices, end-user management (EUM) will be increasingly important to deliver a satisfactory experience. From the enterprise mobility management industry’s perspective, EUM can automate responses to low-level user experience issues. Key players like Microsoft already have a strong presence in this space.
Enterprise Mobility for the Future of Business
In 2024 and beyond, the enterprise mobility management industry will be a key player that shapes companies’ business.
Mobile devices enable enterprises to streamline operations, deliver better customer service, and embrace innovation that delivers value to enterprise customers and all stakeholders.
Work can be done anytime, anywhere, and employees can access relevant company data as needed, facilitating internal knowledge sharing.
Mobile device and application management, along with vigilant security operations, will be critical elements for enterprise mobility management initiatives now and in the future.