The smartphone completely transformed the ways in which organizations function years ago, and many firms have begun to take a mobile-first approach to their workforce management and enablement programs more recently. The fact of the matter is that a mobile business is a successful one in the modern era, as employees expect a certain level of flexibility in terms of where and when they can complete their tasks, as well as how fluid their experiences are in remote locations.
At the same time, the consumer marketplace has shifted sharply in the direction of preferring services that are available through and optimized for their chosen devices, many of which are tablets, smartphones and portable devices. Mobility can have a profoundly positive impact on the average organization's bottom line when approached intelligently and managed properly, but presents immense challenges in terms of maintenance, optimization, security and more.
Business leaders have commonly begun to modernize their IT departments from their infrastructure and platforms to software and beyond through the use of cloud services, which can be one of the greatest remedies for the challenges of mobility. In fact, with the Internet of Things scaling up so quickly, it is likely that the private and public sectors will invest even more budget in cloud computing to ensure that they can support a much wider diversity of devices and end users without disruption, security failures or poor experiences.
If you would like a quick rundown of the mobility market at large, check out this video from the Market Research Store that discusses findings of research focused on the past, as well as forecasts for the future:
Entrepreneurs are arguably the best positioned to excel with mobility given their unique needs, including affordable technology deployments that engage users and boost productivity without enormous costs. However, small-business owners still need to be wary of the management and security demands of this trend, and ensure that they are taking a highly guided approach to crafting strategies and policies, while implementing the systems necessary to enforce the rules. This will demand a working knowledge of trends in the mobility landscape.
Smartphones still flying
Despite the fact that so many individuals already have smartphones, and have for years now, the market for these gadgets continues to expand around the globe and still has plenty of room to grow in certain marketplaces. Gartner recently reported that revenues in the global smartphone market increased by nearly 10 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2015, although certain gadgets faired better than others.
For example, the source stated that iPhone saw its first decline in the history of the quarterly tracker, despite growth elsewhere in the market driven by companies such as Samsung that have effectively caught up to Apple of late. Still, the researchers pointed out that there was a 14.4 percent increase in the number of units sold globally between 2014 and 2015, with the volume hitting 1.4 billion last year alone. Certain tactics employed by distributors and manufacturers are helping to keep smartphone sales growing, especially in emerging marketplaces.
"Low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, and strong demand for premium smartphones, continued to be the driving factors," Anshul Gupta, a research director at Gartner, stated. "An aggressive pricing from local and Chinese brands in the midrange and entry-level segments of emerging markets led to consumers upgrading more quickly to affordable smartphones."
Samsung possessed the strongest market share in smartphone shipments both in 2014 with 24.7 percent, and in 2015 at 22.5 percent. Apple's iPhone remained strong at 15.9 percent of the total market share in 2015, but the world's most popular smartphone might begin to feel more pressure from competitors as consumers and businesses look to other companies including Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and smaller, up-and-coming manufacturers in the coming years.
Still, Gartner believes that companies like Samsung will have to face other matters should they hope to truly match the consistent success of Apple, which tends to see massive spikes in sales when one of its newer devices hits the market on a nearly annual basis. Either way, entrepreneurs will need to be mindful of which types of operating systems and devices their employees prefer before arranging mobility management policies, as the strategies must be aligned with the reality of the situation in each individual company.
"The traditional tablet has been on a skid in terms of demand."
Tablets are changing
The traditional tablet has been on a long slide downward in terms of market size and shipments for several years now, as consumers and businesses alike have appeared to shift their focus toward more multi-functional technologies. For example, 3-in-1 devices have become far more popular than the traditional tablet, and a new report indicated that detachable iterations of the gadgets are now beginning to take a up larger shares of the market as well.
International Data Corporation reported that roughly 20 percent of all tablets shipped in the final three months of 2015 fell into the category of detachables, making it a far more fast-growing segment than other types of the technology.
"As the detachable tablets available on the market become more powerful and better suited to business requirements, this form factor has been successfully adopted by professionals and executives as it perfectly addresses their mobility needs and is increasingly seen as a notebook replacement," IDC EMEA Personal Computing Research Analyst Daniel Goncalves explained.
Detachable tablets will not necessarily come with an entirely different operating system than the same devices from each manufacturer, but understanding that these types of devices are becoming more popular among consumers is relevant for the average business leader. Should entrepreneurs be planning to invest in tablets for their employees, they might want to consider the prospect of choosing detachables, as this could further engage staff members.
As always, business leaders must ensure they are properly managing the entirety of their IT frameworks and, when it comes to mobility, this would include security fortifications, system optimization, monitoring and beyond. With cloud services from a reliable managed solutions vendor, strategic improvements can be streamlined significantly.