The 10 mobile predictions your business needs to know for 2018

With businesses counting on digital transformation to drive competitive advantage in 2018, many are busy planning their IT initiatives for the coming year. Mobile is a central part of that strategy, as new high-profile devices from Apple and Samsung continue to bolster enterprise demand. A recent Strategy Analytics report found that enterprise smartphone shipments reached 107 million units in 2017, a 15 percent year-over-year increase.

As businesses align their mobile goals and budgets, what new developments do they need to be aware of? Here are 10 trends poised to have the greatest impact on enterprise mobility in 2018 and beyond.

Smartphones with no strings attached

Unlocked phones will finally make larger inroads in the U.S. market as subsidies start to dwindle and disappear completely. This opens up more possibilities for businesses for device acquisition, as well as for financial planning to avoid large capital expenditure spikes.

eSIM technology

More devices will feature eSIM technology, making it easier to switch providers without requiring physical access. eSIM also enables telecom operator automation by utilizing their platform APIs.

Machine learning on mobile

Machine learning is already a part of our lives through voice assistant products around the home and on mobile devices. In 2018, these capabilities will only increase in scope and sophistication.

The rise of AI

While AI functionality in software is fairly limited today, these capabilities will also increase on our mobile devices to make decisions intended to streamline our lives at work and home. Potential uses could include real-time audio translation, recording, picture taking and geo-location tracking.

AR and VR meet in the middle

The buzz around augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) continues to grow, but mixed reality (MR) might be the winning technology long-term. As this technology gains traction, it could replace mobile devices as we know them today, with more users adopting head-mounted displays.

Managed services growth

Managed mobile service (MMS) usage will grow by 20 percent across corporate America, as lines of businesses take on more responsibility for mobile within the enterprise. With this decentralization of mobile, both line-of-business units and the IT departments that support them will finally concede mobile is growing too complex, demands too much speed, and requires 7x24 expertise and resources almost impossible to staff for. MMS providers capable of providing full lifecycle services to plan, deploy, manage and support mobile will lead the way, especially when they can also bundle their services with device acquisition through Mobility-as-a-Service.

IoT growth

The Internet of Things (IoT) will save consumers and businesses more money, continuing to push adoption. As a result, many businesses will find it necessary to turn to managed services for IoT to operationalize and support large numbers of connected devices.

A deluge of data

The Internet of Things (IoT) will also create large amounts of data and analytics for businesses to mine. Working with a managed service provider that can handle large amounts of data can help enterprises understand trends and use them to make informed business decisions.

A strong security stance

With the high-profile breaches of 2017, security concerns are omnipresent and will worsen before they get better. Businesses should consider new technologies to fill some of the gaps of this mostly human-inflected problem, and ask all of their vendors how they plan to address threats as well.

Data needs for the digital workspace

With work on the go the norm for today’s businesses, the requirements for the mobile digital workspace will continue to increase. Unlimited data plans, combined with Mobility-as-a-Service offerings that bundle devices and mobile managed services, allow the total cost of ownership of mobile to become far more predictable in 2018. These “flat rate” packages eliminate many of the cost surprises those in charge of mobility face, and also allow for regular technology upgrades without the challenges of capitalized assets left depreciating on the balance sheet longer than their useful lives.

With ever-changing systems, devices and technologies increasing the complexity of mobile, businesses need to be aware of what’s coming next. A managed mobile services provider can help enterprises capitalize on the latest trends in ways that move their business forward while minimizing support hassles and costs.

Editor's note: A previous draft of this article was posted in error instead of the final version. Enterprise CIO apologises for the inconvenience and is happy to set the record straight.

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