Happy New Year! To start things off, today I have a list of the top 10 enterprise mobility management stories for 2015. These aren’t meant to be crazy predictions or anything like that—instead, these are the actual stories I know we’ll be following closely this year.
In no particular order, we have:
1. Android Work
The big story with Android last year was Android Work, the dramatically-improved management framework for Android 5.0 devices (as well as the associated workspace app for pre-5.0 devices). We still don’t know all of the details, but the bottom line is that Android in the enterprise should be an entirely different proposition in 2015. Get excited.
1a. Samsung Knox
Related to Android Work is Samsung Knox. Last year Knox 2.0 came as a big improvement over the original version, and at the same time Samsung also launched an EMM platform and an identity management service.
Since Samsung contributed the Knox OS-based data-separation frameworks back to Android to create Android Work, Samsung Knox devices will be differentiated by their hardware-based security features.
Those hardware-based security features are very important to some customers, but with Android Work coming along and Samsung’s market share slipping a bit, we’ll still be waiting to see how big of a deal Knox is in 2015 (just like in 2013 and 2014).
On yet another related note, late last year BlackBerry announced a partnership with Samsung which will essentially allow Samsung Knox containers to connect directly to the BlackBerry NOC infrastructure.
We’ll see how much they push the Knox partnership this year, but of course they have a plenty of other things on their plate. There’s the newest version of BES, BES 12; there are several new productivity apps; there are the flagship Passport and Classic phones; and they’ll be pushing MDM and MAM for iOS and Android.
2. Apple’s continued EMM work
There’s no doubt that the EMM capabilities built into Apple’s mobile device management protocol will continue their steady march forward in 2015. There’s more and more EMM functionality you can get just by doing things the “Apple way,” and as a result this democratizes EMM, making advanced features accessible to any vendor that can build an MDM server.
At the same time, there will still always be a need for app-level management and security that’s abstracted from the underlying OS, and there are a million other places where EMM vendors differentiate and compete.
Surely this year we’ll see some new features in iOS 9 that’ll make people ask if it’ll kill off third-party MAM or make EMM a commodity. The answer will be no.
3. Windows Phone
Not to leave Windows Phone out of the mix, it’s continuing to gain market share, and things will get even more interesting in 2015 when more universal apps (apps that work for both Windows Phone and Windows desktops) come into the market. I always ask any IT pro or vendor I talk to about their Windows Phone plans, and there’s almost always something to say about it.
4. The new “middle” type of MAM
Last year we saw the emergence of a “middle” type of MAM. While OS-based MAM and app-level MAM have tradeoffs (you need either a special device or a special app), this new category of products can get “in between” the device and public app stores to manage any app on any device. Vendors in the space include Better, Bluebox, and Pulse Secure. (Virtual mobile infrastructure fits in this space, too, but I’ll get to that in a second.)
The “middle” type of MAM solves a lot of problems associated with extant MAM offerings, but it raises questions, too. This year we’ll be watching to see if becomes mainstream.
5. Virtual Mobile Infrastructure
Another new technology we’re excited about is virtual mobile infrastructure. It’s like VDI, but with hosted mobile OSes remoted to mobile app clients. Raytheon and Hypori are the two main vendors in the space; we’ll be watching to see how much buzz they get and to see if any other vendors get into VMI.
6. PCs and EMM
Windows 8.1, Mac OS X, and the upcoming Windows 10 all support MDM-style management, so for 2015 we’re watching to see how much that catches on.
Another EMM concept that’s coming to the desktop is the idea of a self-contained corporate workspace environment. We’ve had this for a long time in the form of virtual machines and type-2 hypervisors, but now Moka5 and Workspot are working on workspace environments that don’t involve virtualization. I’m a fan of both of these.
8. Device Trust
Do we trust mobile devices? That’s a good question. We know that vulnerabilities and malicious apps are out there. However, at this point mobile anti-malware, antivirus, and app-reputation services aren’t a “standard” part of doing an EMM implementation. We’ll see if some sort of common practice emerges this year.
9. The shifting vendor landscape
There are several stories to look at here.
First, there’s Microsoft. Last year they finally got serious about EMM, announcing the Enterprise Mobility Suite (based around Intune) and releasing Office for iOS and Android. Since we’re talking about Microsoft here, they could very well become a major EMM contender this year.
Second, what’s next for VMware? We saw them make a dramatic turnaround in 2014 when they bought AirWatch and announced RDSH support. Bringing all those EUC components together is a huge task, so this year we’ll see how that goes. Citrix had an earlier start with mobility, but they’re a similar story—we’ll be watching to see how well they roll desktops, apps, and data into one unified workspace.
Lastly, depending on who you ask the race for EMM dominance is either just between two vendors, or it’s between a small handful of 6-8 vendors, or it’s wide open to dozens of different vendors. The bottom line is that even though this question may appear to be answered already, there’s clearly still space in the market for things to shift around, even in 2015.
10. Getting real about EMM
Mobility is something that all companies have to deal with in some form or another, so lastly, we’ll be watching to see if the scales tip and more companies are doing something about EMM than aren’t by the end of 2015.
Postscript: Wearables and Internet of Things
Oh, and people will talk about smart watches, other “wearables”, and the Internet of Things (IoT) a lot this year. I don’t have too much to say about these yet. Even though some EMM vendors are talking about IoT, this isn’t a place where we have to worry about consumerization and FUIT pressure forcing us to do something fast or face huge dangers. For EUC folks like us, this probably won’t affect our lives too much in 2015.
Wearables and watches are a different story. Just like smartphones, tablets, and BYO-whatever, at some point we’ll see these come into our offices and be forced to deal with them. We have a couple of things going for us, though. Now in 2015, BYOD, consumerization, and FUIT are all familiar concepts. A new category of devices shouldn’t be a big of a problem. Second, Android and Apple watches depend on paired smartphones for a lot of their functionality. So if you have things in order for mobility in general, you shouldn’t be in too bad of a place with smart watches.