Last week, a network TV drama interjected comedy with what appeared to be a fanciful innovation: The face and voice of a telecommuter wandered the halls of a law firm on a wheeled robotic device—a cross of iPhone’s Facetime with a Roomba vacuum. Good for a laugh, but how many viewers realized it was already reality?
In fact, this concept was portrayed in a session I attended Wednesday at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, where the analyst cited new devices emerging on the market and highlighted a collaboration of iRobot and CISCO Telepresence.
Mobile Commuting Rising in Importance
It’s no surprise that in its annual survey of CIOs’ highest priorities, Gartner found that over the past five years mobile computing has risen from being almost non-existent to become the second most important agenda item worldwide. In the Gartner session I attended, Distinguished Analyst David Willis explained the major component of Gartner’s Nexus of Forces as well as its direction and the associated implications for enterprises over the next five years.
Eclipsed only by analytics in Gartner’s 2013 CIO survey, mobile computing is coalescing into broad solution portfolios and flexible mobile platforms that put such discrete legacy markets as cloud mobile backend services, enterprise file synch and share, and mobile device management solutions at risk. New enterprise mobile platforms will be a set of socially-enabled software and services which understand enough about each device tapping into them to present the user experience appropriately, while maintaining all required security and reliability of enterprise systems.
Long Live Mobile
Gartner advised the audience to invest tactically in best-of-breed vendors for mobile platforms. They listed the emerging leaders for enterprise mobile platforms as IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Citrix and Salesforce, with more players joining the ranks each quarter. With each mobile user in the workforce costing their enterprise between $200 and $300, on average, mobile computing is not a cost-saving proposition for corporations. But the advantage ensues from the dramatic productivity and innovation gains of thousands of workers connected by, and benefiting from, the integration and analytics afforded by enterprise mobile platforms.
Industries Must Take Advantage or New Platforms
In retail, companies can not only deepen loyalty with their faithful customers—who opt in to such programs by making real-time offers while they are in-store—but can also offer attractive bundled discounts to web shoppers, who may have been looking at one discrete item online, diminishing the frustration of abandoned shopping carts in the process.
In healthcare, enterprise mobility platforms are allowing secure, real-time social collaboration between physicians to increase the accuracy and speed of diagnoses. Also, Medtronics provides mobile enterprise platform services that allow doctors to monitor vital signs via sensors tied to patients’ mobile phones while they go about daily routines; physicians can see what life or work actions that trigger heart arrhythmias or dangerous spikes in blood pressure.
For consumers, there’s Uber to help you get a taxi or limo in seconds from your smartphone in cities around the world; Waze for real-time traffic delays, directions, and speed traps; and airbnb to find lodging in vacant rooms of private homes or boats, versus the standard hotel.
Gartner also notes that enterprise mobile platforms are being built into smart buildings where devices can control entire buildings, smart phones that can supplant hotel keys, and for emergency workers to see through building infrastructures to avoid fire dangers and locate occupants in danger via the equivalent of Google Glass.
However, Gartner analyst Willis noted that sporting Google Glass in a bar today will more than likely get the wearer into a bar fight. Caveat emptor.
To learn more, read this whitepaper: Seven Principles for a Mobile Integration Strategy.