MWC 2015: Pre-Show Expectations

by David Krebs | 02/26/2015

Barcelona is again set to become the epicenter of all things mobile with MWC 2015 upon us. A team of four VDC analysts will be roaming the exhibit floors at Fira Gran Via - not to mention the odd Tapas bar in Barcelona's Barrio Gotico. With our calendars maxed, we are eagerly anticipating this year's story-lines. Using our 2015 research calendar as the backdrop, some of the themes we will be following closely include:

1. (Non-iOS) Mobile Device Announcements. Clearly what creates the most greatest buzz at these shows - and MWC 2015 won't be any different - are the mobile device announcements. Minus Apple, MWC represents the launching pad for other OEMs, especially those running Android. With the massive success of Apple's iPhone 6 and widely circulating reports of Apple's share of smartphone profits reaching almost 90% (astounding considering its market share of ~15%), this will be a VERY important show for Android OEMs (and more specifically Samsung). All eyes will be on Samsung on March 1st when it is expected to release its flagship S6 smartphone. While there is not much expected in terms of real innovation (rather incremental improvements), we should expect substantial improvements in build quality, a much more seamless OS stack (less bloatware) and some gimmicky functionality like wireless charging. Although it is premature to suggest this as a "make or break" device for Samsung, the pressure is certainly mounting as the company is increasingly vulnerable with marginalized competitive differentiation. 

2. Windows 10. Although under Nadella Microsoft is becoming more adept at competing without the benefit of OS dominance, it sure would enjoy the fruits of a successful Windows 10. While it is unlikely for Windows 10 to substantially move the needle for Microsoft in terms of smartphone OS share, many of VDC's enterprise mobility clients are rooting for a strong showing. Several OEMs are using the crowded Android landscape as an opportunity to differentiate through Windows 10. We will be very interested to see how the vision of Windows 10 translates across all form factors. 

3. Enterprise mobile apps and the IBM-Apple alliance. Apple's absence from IBM InterConnect this week certainly did not go unnoticed, prompting many to question the strength of the relationship. Although Apple is not exhibiting at MWC, a IBM press conference that will cover the "next chapter of their relationship" will be compelling. While not a top-line needle mover in 2015, this relationship is perhaps even more important for IBM as it looks to offset the challenging outlook for its overall business and as it looks to transition its revenue base to cloud services, analytics technology, security and businesses related to mobile devices and social networks. Beyond IBM, messages from other enterprise IT stalwarts SAP and Oracle and their mobility initiatives will be important. With more organizations eager to provide mobile access to key enterprise applications and to transform existing workflows, these vendors need to be doing more - and have the opportunity to do more. 

4. No more secrets: mobile security is no joke. The recent cyber attacks at Sony and hacks/compromises at Gemalto (cracking encryption keys in SIM cards) as well as Home Depot and Target compromises only scratch the surface about the extent to which information can be compromised. This cannot be the new normal. Secure communications is becoming much more critical and not only in the highly regulated, highly sensitive market segments. Start-ups such as Blackphone and USMobile are expected to play an increasingly prominent role. In addition, Blackberry, long the torchbearer for best in class mobile security, is teaming with Google to do what others have failed at, legitimizing security for Android devices in the enterprise. Secure mobile browsing and secure messaging are two of the areas driving significant requirements.

5. Creation of meaningful value.  It is high time to shift the conversation from technical capabilities to the creation of tangible business value. Avoiding the inevitable spec sheet comparison, it is time to pressure vendors on how the solutions are being applied to derive real benefits. From an enterprise mobility perspective, this can be measure in terms of workforce performance, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and retention, asset cost of ownership, among others. With a large share of enterprise mobility investments still being influenced by "employee convenience," the time is ripe to place greater emphasis on how these solutions can benefit real business outcomes.

These are among the many topics we are looking forward to hear more about at MWC next week. Looking forward to seeing you there!

View the 2017 Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Research Outline to learn more.


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