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

Google I/O kicks wearable device talk into high gear

by Kathryn Nassberg | 06/27/2014


June has been a big month for consumer wearable devices – it has seen the Salesforce announce the launch of Salesforce Wear to help build up a wearable-specific ecosystem geared primarily towards smartwatches and augmented vision devices. This month also saw Samsung’s announcement of the Samsung Z – the first smartphone to run on its proprietary Tizen OS, establishing a single platform for its growing family of Gear smartwatches, including the Gear 2, the Neo and the Gear Fit. However, the biggest buzz has come from this week’s announcements at Google’s I/O developer conference. Google had announced its wearable specific OS, Android Wear, in March, but gave more insight this week as to its capabilities and scope. Read more

Google’s Android Evolution – Knox and Divide? The End of Fragmentation?

by Eric Klein | 06/27/2014


Google made several important enterprise mobility-oriented announcements at its annual developer conference (Google I/O) earlier this week. The company provided details of its “Android for Work” initiative, which aims to help business users separate personal and corporate data. The effort is being supported by prominent handset OEMs (Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei and HTC), as well as PC OEMs, including Dell and HP. While these OEMs are eager to work with Google, it is likely that the company had to offer assurances (such as guaranteed timely access software updates and key security enhancements) to ensure a solid roster of vendors for the fall release of its next OS “Android L”. Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai shared key details of the next OS (and announced its beta release to developers), and demonstrated several new enterprise features for enhanced security and privacy. Read more

Cloud First - Mobile Second at SapphireNOW

by Eric Klein | 06/07/2014


SAP's CEO Bill McDermott and his broader executive team were consistent in their core message at this year's SAPPHIRE event; the main message: "Simplify everything. Do Anything." SAP's strategy is increasingly centered around cloud delivery, an integrated suite, and sreamlining customer support for large multi-national customers. There is no questioning the strategic importance of the in-memory database technology that SAP has been developing for the last decade. HANA has been front and center at SAPPHIRE since its release in 2010; and continuing to demonstrate the platforms' traction with customers will be key for SAP to prove their viabilty in the cloud computing market. Having long time (and marquee) customers such as John Deere, ConAgra Foods and eBay elegantly articulate their success with HANA certainly helps. Read more

Good Exchange NYC: Good Technology on the Offensive

by David Krebs | 06/03/2014


Good Technology hosted its inaugural Good Exchange in NYC on June 3, 2014, an event I had the pleasure of attending. Good has a long and often colorful history in the enterprise mobility market. Perhaps best known for its secure email solutions, the company has evolved considerably as it sets itself up for an IPO. Acquisitions have played prominently with Good acquiring BoxTone in early 2014, a pioneer in the mobile service management space, bookended by today’s announced acquisition Fixmo, a leading provider of mobile security and device integrity solutions. Buttressing these acquisitions include a series of new launches including a secure mobile collaboration app and a trusted authentication framework, consisting of APIs that can be used with two-factor, single sign-on biometric and smartcard authentication modes. Early partners supporting this initiative include EyeVerify, Biometrics Associates, Intercede, Mi-Token and Precise Biometrics. Read more

Thinking Outside the Box (or Container)

by Eric Klein | 05/30/2014


The IT Security landscape must continue to evolve in response to sea change of user and enterprise behavior that has come with the increased usage of mobile applications. This comes in addition to the continued trend toward cloud computing, an increased reliance on the web for transacting with customers, and the increased sophistication of those looking to exploit IT infrastructures. Bottom line, in corporate settings, mobile users and their devices have become a big security pain point and one that must be addressed. Read more

Google Acquires Divide to Enhance Android’s Enterprise Cred

by Eric Klein | 05/23/2014


Google made headlines earlier this week by finalizing an acquisition of Divide (formerly Enterproid); a company specializing in the internalization of a work container within an employee’s personal smartphone.Google has planned to incorporate the Divide feature to future Android releases, thereby strengthening the platforms’ enterprise capabilities as a whole. The acquisition will impact the ecosystem of vendors focusing on mobility management for the enterprise, and will give HW OEMs that compete with Samsung an opportunity to offer a well-integrated containerization solution along with their hardware. The move by Google also portends to a more strategic focus (albeit late) on the enterprise market. Read more

Event Recap ― IBM Impact

by Eric Klein | 05/05/2014


VDC had the opportunity to attend IBM’s Impact event in Las Vegas last week ― the event was well attended (~9,000 attendees) and featured hundreds of breakout sessions that spanned a broad range of technologies. A key theme at the event was what the company described as its ability to help companies become “composable businesses”. The company's keynote speakers were very much in sync with this message and articulated how IBM was positioned to provide its customers with a path to transform their business and help them embrace the “ecosystem of everything.” Read more

Zebra Goes All-In to Become AIDC Powerhouse

by Kathryn Nassberg | 04/16/2014


Yesterday, Zebra Technologies announced the purchase of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business for $3.45 billion.  The acquisition will provide Zebra with the opportunity to access new technology markets in addition to extending its geographical reach and serving 95% of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. More importantly, however, the purchase will broaden Zebra’s product and service portfolio to encompass nearly all areas of data capture and asset tracking, from barcode printing to scanning solutions, mobile computing, and software. Read more

IBM Steps up Competition with MobileFirst Initiative

by Kathryn Nassberg | 04/11/2014


This week, IBM announced the expansion of its MobileFirst Consulting Services, its mobile solution portfolio launched in 2013 to streamline and accelerate enterprise mobile adoption. The announcement highlighted eight services designed to solidify mobile infrastructure consulting, mobile application management, and mobile device procurement and management services.  With this, IBM is further expanding its reach within a market that has matured and consolidated considerably within the past year. Read more

VDC Research Releases Results of its Quarterly Rugged Device Tracker

by Kathryn Nassberg | 04/02/2014


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

Notebooks lag behind other form factors

The rugged market – including notebooks, tablets, handheld computers and forklift terminals – reached $4.1bn in 2013, a 6.1% year-on-year decline from a total of $4.3bn in revenues from 2012. Excluding notebooks the market increased by 1% over 2012. The strongest performing category was rugged tablets which grew by 22% year over year. The impact of consumer-grade smartphones and tablets being used in an enterprise setting continues to make itself felt on a global level, particularly among field mobile workers and for customer-facing applications. Read more

BlackBerry’s Uphill Battle to Regain Enterprise Confidence

by Eric Klein | 03/17/2014


It’s no secret that BlackBerry is working to maintain its relevance in enterprise mobility. CEO John Chen emphasized just last month at Mobile World Congress that the firm had engineered a new strategy to restore customer’s confidence in BlackBerry. Both in Barcelona and at a meeting with analysts in January, Chen has stressed the relationship with enterprise as central to the company’s strategy and success. Potential revenue enhancing opportunities have emerged, such as the news that the company intends to support the Windows Phone platform with its upcoming BES 12 release (BBM support for the Windows Phone platform was also disclosed), and the announcement that Ford will be using the company’s QNX platform for its next-generation Sync system—however, while these initiatives have potential, we see the company’s reluctance to abandon its hardware orientation as hurting its long term prospects. Read more

Apple moves to open up enterprise IT channels

by Kathryn Nassberg | 03/07/2014


Apple may have reinforced its lead ahead of Android in the enterprise market with the announcement this week of its new program to facilitate enterprise usage of iOS on a larger scale. Among the biggest changes is the Device Enrollment Program, which frees IT from the previous constraints of Apple Configurator of having to physically interact with the devices individually via USB to configure them for MDM in what the firm is calling a “zero-touch effort for IT.” The enrollment program also solves a critical requirement for corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) devices, as IT can now install non-removable MDM profiles. Read more

Unpacking Samsung’s MWC – Enterprise Implications

by Kathryn Nassberg | 02/28/2014


VDC met with Samsung at Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona to discuss the company’s take on enterprise mobility as it announced the launch of the much-anticipated Galaxy S5. The smartphone, with its IP-67 rating for dust and water resistance is the second in Samsung’s lineup for a more ruggedized consumer device after the S4 Active. The latest product in the Galaxy family is leading the trend towards more durable, enterprise-oriented smartphones that continue to blur the line between consumer and enterprise devices that will only turn up the heat further on ruggedized OEMs, who are facing increased competition from their consumer-grade counterparts. Read more

Travel, Transport and Logistics organizations get on the Mobile Bandwagon

by Kathryn Nassberg | 02/24/2014


FeedHenry recently released a whitepaper in collaboration with VDC, examining the use of mobile apps in the transportation sector. The findings underscore not only a trend in using mobile solutions to reduce operational costs and improve worker productivity, but also highlight the role they play in improved customer engagement and brand loyalty. Mobility is nothing new to this industry sector. However, the potential for innovation and transformation that can be gained from coupling smart device features with real-time transportation information cannot be ignored.  Read more

Large-scale Deployments Increase Growth Potential for BLE, iBeacon

by Kathryn Nassberg | 01/31/2014


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is poised to revolutionize consumer in-store experience in 2014, further augmenting already existing mobile retail applications. VDC research from last year revealed that 23% of retail organizations had rolled out mobile applications to supplement their current in-store services, and that an additional 42% planned to deploy mobile applications in 2014. BLE technology, like that of Apple’s iBeacon, strives to address this gap with increased location and engagement services by allowing devices to communicate directly with one another. Read more

NRF: Mobility Trends for 2014

by Kathryn Nassberg | 01/24/2014


The National Retail Federation hosted its annual exposition in mid January at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. The two-day event featured 550 retail solution providers and nearly 30,000 attendees, a record for the event. VDC’s Mobility Analysts David Krebs and Kathryn Nassberg took the opportunity meet and speak with a variety of retail technology solution providers and retailers at the expo and observe the emerging mobility trends firsthand. Read more