Looking Back on Mobile World Congress

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:        

  • My last blog’s predictions for MWC’s enterprise mobility themes focused on BYOD, the ‘connected life,’ and Nokia as a possible ‘comeback kid.’
  • While these were big themes, there were also many announcements and demos on MDM/security/MAM offerings (especially for Android),as well as recurring discussions on operator monetization and new service opportunities.

Mobile World Congress re-confirmed that enterprise mobility is a very important topic for many constituencies. While many of the themes we predicted were indeed major ones, there were a few others that were notable.

The Blurring of MDM and Security

The lines between management and security for smartphones and tablets vs. LAN/WLAN-connected laptops and desktops are starting to blur (at least from the supplier perspective).  Examples of MDM/security announcements at the show include:

  • Symantec announced a console-agnostic cloud and mobile platform for both corporateliable and personally owned devices, featuring: configuration, control, and management; apps and data protection; threat protection; expense management; and enterprise/cloud integration.  Symantec also announced that it was acquiring MDM vendor Odyssey Software, a strong Microsoft partner whose platform is often sold as an SCCM integrated module.  Symantecs strategy is to extend internal security policies to public and private cloud services accessed from mobile devices.
  • While Android was celebrated throughout the show, the MDM and security vendors (AirWatch, MobileIron, 3LM, Boxtone, Adaptive Security, Good Technology, and Juniper) were quick to point out all of the management and security threats that we are going to experience on Android devices unless we use their software and services.
  • Operator activities at MWC for MDM and security included AT&Ts announcements of MobileIron Connected Cloud and the AT&T Mobile Security platform (based on Juniper Pulse), which extends security policy to wireless endpoints and provides anti-virus/anti-malware and DDoS protection.
  • Adaptive Mobile hosted a mobile security mini-conference suggesting that we are seeing more sophisticated hacking on mobile devices, so security needs to be provided across the network, device, and application.  There were different opinions about whose responsibility it is to provide security: the handset vendor or the carrier.

Nokia for Business

At the “Nokia for Business” breakfast, the vendor claimed sales momentum in the business sector, with a strengthening portfolio and a focused strategy of ecosystem expansion.  Its goal is to become the partner of choice for the carrier channel and it participates in all segments from BYOD to SoHo to SME to enterprise.  Nokia’s Windows Phone portfolio consists of the Lumia 710/800 (launched in October 2011), the Lumia 900/LTE (launched last month), and the new lower-end 610 (launched at MWC).  Nokia also views its latest Symbian devices (the Asha, PureView 808, and Belle) as part of its business lineup, and it was touting a number of new partners, including Good, AirWatch, and SAP.  Needless to say, Nokia still has much to prove, although Windows Phone is taken seriously and may yet have a place at the table as a viable alternative to Android and iOS.

Overarching Themes with Enterprise Implications

Still, the show was by no means all about the enterprise.  There were manyoverarchingthemes that relate to the wireless industry in general:

  • 2012 will (allegedly) be the year that NFC takes off and brings with it the real mobile commerce opportunity.  However, a new survey conducted at MWC suggests that widespread NFC adoption will still take two to five more years.
  • WiFi offload and spectrum, policy, and traffic management are necessary to help with congested networks andhungrierhandsets and applications.  This is a big topic for the infrastructure vendors, which sense a sales opportunity with carriers.
  • Mobile video and eventually VoLTE will be key service opportunities as LTE becomes more widespread.
  • Operators are complaining that OTT players are squeezing their margins and they have to work together more effectively.

What do you think?

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