Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Blog

Q3 Sees Strong Rugged Mobile Performance Across the Board

by Kathryn Nassberg | 12/17/2014


During Q3 2014 all rugged mobile form factors tracked – including notebooks, tablets, forklift mounted computers and handheld devices – posted year-over-year (YoY) growth, with notebooks and handheld devices leading the way. While the market dynamics for these solutions are increasingly encouraging, noticeable headwinds remain, limiting the growth potential over the next several quarters.

Rugged notebook shipments reached nearly $275 million in Q3, representing an increase of more than 10%, representing the second consecutive quarter of growth. The primary catalyst behind the recent swing in demand has been the retirement of aging systems running Windows XP. Read more

VC $'s Flowing into Mobile Development Startups

by Eric Klein | 12/08/2014


More than $200M has been invested in notable vendors that are participating in mobile development platform and tools market in just the past ~12 months. Significant venture capital investments continue to pour into the mobile development platform and tools space. More than $200M has been invested in notable vendors that are participating in this market in just the past 12 months. VC's who are banking on successful exits have reason to optimistic in our view. Read more

Symbol TC70...Bridging the Gap to 'Modern' Rugged Handheld Devices

by David Krebs | 11/11/2014


While we do not typically write product reviews, the recently released Motorola/Symbol/Zebra TC70 did catch our attention. To suggest that the rugged handheld market has been struggling through an identity crisis over the past several years is perhaps putting it mildly. While other mobile categories such as smartphones and tablets have been growing at a furious pace, the rugged handheld market has contracted, and in some cases fairly significantly. There have been a couple of factors at play contributing to this protracted malaise creating somewhat of a perfect storm. Read more

Many SMEs in Field Services are still Conservative in Employing Mobility Solutions

by Kathryn Nassberg | 10/28/2014


Despite the buzz that surrounds enterprise mobility, the fact remains that a large percentage of SMEs have yet to integrate mobile software and hardware solutions into their line of business (LOB) applications. A recent survey from Software Advice, a company that researches and reviews field service solutions, revealed a surprisingly high number of respondents continue to rely on manual documentation, including paper and whiteboards for their LOB operations. Those who use software frequently rely on basic software like Excel and Quickbooks to handle operations for which they are not optimized. Often, this can be due to a combination of factors that include budgetary constraints, a lack of awareness of available solutions, and a tendency to stay with familiar ways of operating. The latter factor belies a conservative streak in many organizations that can transcend company size and lead to mobile deployments that run on decade-old technology. This is evidenced in the uptick of upgrades following the retirement of Windows XP as a Microsoft-supported OS. Read more

Samsung Continues to Expand its Enterprise Presence Through Samsung 360 Services

by Kathryn Nassberg | 10/20/2014


This summer, Samsung hired several key executives from BlackBerry and Nokia, and Disney to bolster its position in the enterprise market. The most notable was Robin Bienfait who was named executive vice president and chief enterprise innovation officer of Samsung's global enterprise services unit. Bienfait was previously BlackBerry's CIO, where she led the company's enterprise business unit, end-to-end security, customer service engagement, global network services and corporate IT functions.  Bienfait also brought fellow BlackBerry alumna Donna Henderson with her who will be instrumental in executing Samsung’s expansion into mobile enterprise services. The hires come at a time when Samsung is trying to present itself to government agencies and enterprises as a viable alternative to BlackBerry devices and Apple in corporate environments. Read more

HP Splits: No Longer "Stronger Together"

by David Krebs | 10/07/2014


A move initially suggested by ousted CEO Leo Apotheker and previously shunned by now CEO Meg Whitman came to light when on Monday HP officially announced it was splitting into two companies: HP Enterprise and HP Inc. (Note, Apotheker suggested an outright sale of the PC/Printer business). This is not to suggest that Meg is following Leo's blueprint but rather that this was not her original plan. Clearly over the past three years through targeted - and often deep - RIFs and internal reorganization, the 2014 HP has Meg's fingerprints all over it. Moreover, from a financial perspective the company is in a significantly better position having paid down debt and increased its cash reserves. Wall Street responded favorably to the move with shares up almost 5% on Monday. Part of the sales pitch was that while three years ago HP was too weak financially to absorb such a split today it is and today technology company's need to be more nimble to succeed. Read more

LANDESK consolidates mobile productivity position with Naurtech acquisition

by David Krebs | 10/02/2014


Yesterday, Systems user-oriented IT solutions provider LANDESK announced its acquisition of Naurtech, a firm that develops connectivity solutions to provide mobile access to enterprise data and applications for devices running Windows CE. The move represents the firm’s third mobility acquisition in three years and consolidates LANDESK’s terminal emulation capabilities, which, while somewhat niche, remain central for industry segments like warehousing and manufacturing. Despite being a somewhat older technology when compared to other branches of enterprise mobility products and solutions, the ability to integrate from the backend is critical. While Naurtech has remained a relatively quiet brand to date, it nevertheless has a longstanding history that compliments the capabilities of Wavelink, an enterprise mobility firm that provides terminal emulation, voice-enabled productivity software and device management solutions acquired by LANDESK in 2012. Read more

VDC Releases Results of its Quarterly Rugged Device Tracker

by Kathryn Nassberg | 09/30/2014


This week, VDC published the results of its quarterly device tracker, which follows both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year figures for major OEMs both globally and by region.

Notebooks on the rebound

After six consecutive quarters of contraction, the rugged notebook market is showing signs of life, growing nearly 10% year-on-year in Q2 2014, rising to over 100,000 units shipped for the quarter. This comes after a particularly difficult year, in which the continued effects of GD-Itronix’s exit from the market and budget restrictions in the wake of the government shutdown struck a market grappling with the trend of tablets being increasingly deployed in line of business applications as a notebook replacement. With a few notable exceptions, all major vendors tracked by VDC saw growth in Q2, with some companies recording growth in the double-digits over Q2 2013. This return to growth is not limited to rugged devices, as major consumer-grade manufacturers are also reporting strong YoY performance. Read more

AT&T‘s 2020 Vision and Digital First Transformation

by Eric Klein | 09/23/2014


VDC had the opportunity to attend AT&T’s annual Analyst Summit last week in Dallas, Texas, and came away with a clear purview into the company’s mobile ambitions moving forward. The company issued several notable news releases to coincide with the event — the announcements all show that AT&T is moving in a coordinated way to ensure its participation in the ever expanding mobile ecosystem. In this vein, AT&T’s executives did a great job in articulating how the company’s network build commitment (project VIP) along with its digital-first strategy would help lead its customers toward the business transformational opportunity of mobile enablement. Read more

Event Recap: AirWatch Connect

by Eric Klein | 09/15/2014


I had the opportunity to attend and present at AirWatch Connect event last week in Atlanta. The event attracted 1,500 of the company's customers and partners who were eager to learn more about AirWatch’s vision for long-term growth. The fact that the company was able draw nearly every big name enterprise-oriented mobility vendor to its event was impressive given that CTIA's marquee event (Super Mobility Week) was taking place at the same time. Read more

Apple advances but doesn't revolutionize mobile payments, wearables

by David Krebs | 09/10/2014


Yesterday saw the announcement of both the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch in Cupertino with considerable fanfare (and technical streaming issues).  Moving further away from Jobs’ dictate of a smaller screen, Apple has taken its cue from Samsung and the general smartphone market by offering both a 4.7” and 5.5” – marking its first foray into the phablet range. A relative late entrant to the market, the iPhone 6 will likely nevertheless help to recapture some of the market share that it has previously lost to Android which now accounts for more than 80% of the total smartphone market worldwide versus Apple’s 12%. While Apple’s market share is considerably higher in the US, it has slipped considerably in recent years as previous iPhone iterations have become increasingly incremental. Read more

Smaller Mobile Form Factors on the Rise for Line-of-Business Workers

by Kathryn Nassberg | 09/04/2014


VDC Research has released its annual enterprise mobility report for smartphones and handheld devices, showing  that  the use of mobile devices to support line-of-business workers across numerous sectors continues to grow as organizations benefit from an increasingly connected and productive workforce. Industries continue to internalize the benefits of a mobilized workforce, as data from VDC shows an anticipated average increase of mobility-based budgets for 2014 of 10.6%. Smaller form factor devices – namely rugged handheld computers and smartphones – are among the most common devices being leveraged. VDC anticipates that a total of 3.3 million rugged handheld devices and 34 million smartphones will be deployed in 2014, growing the installed base to almost 70 million units. Read more

Now VMWare is thinking with Portals

by Eric Klein | 08/28/2014


Today marks the last day of VMWorld, VMware’s annual conference located in San Francisco. One of the key announcements came on Wednesday with the unveiling of the VMware Workspace Suite, which includes desktop virtualization, identity management, and app, device and data management. The package features many elements from its AirWatch acquisition, including Secure Content Locker and mobile management software. A central element to the package is the Workspace Portal, which enables mobile users to access Windows applications, cloud services and web apps from a single, centralized location. Read more

Apperian Goes Big on User Acceptance Testing

by Eric Klein | 08/20/2014


With an increasingly mobile workforce relying on a combination of enterprise-issued and BYOD devices, the need of custom-made applications to support line of business workflows has grown significantly in recent years. Data from VDC shows that there is a clear trend towards custom applications that are internally developed, as the year-on-year change for internally developed apps was positive across all industry verticals surveyed. Field mobility in particular saw a marked increase from 30% to 45% of apps being custom developed in-house. While an increasing portion of resources are being allocated to development, quality assurance (QA) and user acceptance testing (UAT) are often complex and long processes that require specific skills and can be difficult to scale. Frequently, the testing pool is limited, and often relegated to a small number of employees, or even the developers themselves, which can adversely affect the user experience of the app. Apperian, a mobile-first ISV, is looking to address this shortcoming with the industry’s first large-scale solution for user-acceptance testing for mobile applications. Read more

EMM Vendors not Doing Enough to Satisfy Mobile Security Requirements

by Kathryn Nassberg | 08/15/2014


VDC will be releasing its annual mobile security report next week, which takes an in-depth look at how enterprise mobility management (EMM) vendors have enhanced their mobile security capabilities and how ownership models like that of BYOD impact mobile security investments, as the line between personal computers and mobile devices is increasingly blurred. While the mobile hardware race is in full swing, so too is the battle among mobile ISVs, who are all vying to be the primary provider for an increasingly broad range of mobile solutions for today’s enterprise. An ever-growing mobile workforce carries with it an increasing amount of potentially vulnerable data ranging from emails and attachments, voicemail and private corporate data.  Read more

Will Good Technology's IPO Be Better than Good?

by Kathryn Nassberg | 08/08/2014


Both the tech and finance world are awaiting the announcement of Good Technology’s IPO, which is hotly anticipated. The EMM firm filed its S-1 with the SEC in May of this year, following the successful IPO of rival MobileIron in April. Good’s IPO would mark the third public offering of a pure-play enterprise mobility firm since the IPO of Tangoe in 2011. While MobileIron’s IPO raised $100 million, selling 11 million shares and setting a strong precedent for Good Technology, there are nevertheless strong headwinds that face Good as it prepares to go public. Read more

BlackBerry Looks to Voice Encryption to Retain Customers

by Eric Klein | 07/31/2014


Earlier this week, BlackBerry announced that its acquisition of privately held German firm Secusmart as part of its drive to become the handset OEM of choice for security-conscious clients in federal markets and in enterprise. While Secusmart's technology has powered BlackBerry's encrypted emails and texts, secure browsing and encrypted file system since 2009, BlackBerry will now integrate going forward through this acquisition Secusmart's Security Card technology. The solution is dependent on the usage of a micro-SD card which features a crypto-controller with a PKI coprocessor for authentication. An additional high-speed coprocessor encrypts voice and data communication using 128 bit AES. Read more

Apple Welcomes IBM. Seriously.

by Kathryn Nassberg | 07/16/2014


Tuesday saw the landmark announcement of an exclusive partnership between Apple and IBM in which IBM will bring its MobileFirst solutions to iOS and allow the former rival to sell iPhones and iPads with industry-specific solutions. With the impending release of the more enterprise-friendly iOS8 later this month, the announcement represents the culmination of Apple’s transition from consumer trendsetter to enterprise powerhouse. Read more

Microsoft Shifts Focus Back to the Enterprise

by David Krebs | 07/13/2014


Satya Natella’s recent company-wide email, while lacking specifics, shed some interesting light on the direction Microsoft will take under his guidance. Steve Ballmer’s “Devices and Services” strategy is being evolved into “Mobile-first and cloud-first” with an emphasis on productivity and collaboration. One clear message from the email was a renewed focus on the enterprise customer, while not completely ignoring the consumer, especially in ackowledging the dual-use personas increasingly prevalent in the way we adopt mobile technology. Again, a meaningful pivot from Ballmer’s recent direction. In reading the email one could not help think that the key messages were formulated with Google in mind more so than Apple. Read more

Still a Long Way to go for FirstNet

by David Krebs | 07/10/2014


With broadband networks playing such a critical role in the future of public safety, especially regarding the enablement of mobile solutions, the public safety market is moving towards establishing a nationwide, interoperable, voice, video, and data-run network: the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Through the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), the goal of this revolutionized public safety communications system is to give first responders access to the modern-day tools necessary to help save lives, solve crimes, and keep our communities safe. Though broadly a nationwide effort, Ed Parkinson (FirstNet director of government affairs) said, “This network – it’s not going to be a one size fits all. It’s really going to be focused on local problems and local solutions”. This represents a sizeable national infrastructure project to undertake, and with many steps yet to come, the implementation of FirstNet remains in the initial development stage. Read more