Defining a single enterprise mobile and IoT strategy

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Emil Berthelsen Principal Analyst at Machina Research

Exclusive article by Emil Berthelsen – Principal Analyst, Machina Research.

The market has reached a stage where mobile devices form an integral part of Enterprise IoT architectures. This is true for Smart Home, Smart Car, and Smart Industry applications, and as enterprise mobility and Enterprise IoT begin to merge, enterprises and platform providers will be quick to follow suit in identifying opportunities offered by platform integration. The time for a single enterprise mobile and IoT platform and strategy has arrived.

Enterprise mobility
Enterprise mobility has been an important strategic and operational solution for many enterprises in the last decade. Enterprise mobility has been a way to help employees do their job where the work actually took place rather than spending time requesting information from support staff, or bringing the work and/or data back to the office and continuing the task there. Enterprise mobility has permitted workers to become less dependent on their physical workspace – the office – by enabling business tasks to be carried out anywhere, at any time, and latterly, on any device. In this environment, the mobile device had become more than a voice and text tool of employees, it had become an integral and important part of the workflow. Enterprise mobility has become the strategy and approach for field engineers, sales people on the road, logistics companies, and anyone on the move. The applications in enterprise mobility continue to remove distance and reduce wasted time.

Enterprise IoT
In the last few years, M2M and more recently IoT has added a new feature to enterprise workflows. Through connected devices, information about the physical world is being captured and transmitted in real-time to Enterprise IoT platforms, enabling amongst other systems, enterprise mobility solutions to potentially work with significantly richer data and more informed applications. The features of real-time data and improved analytics based on aggregated and in-stream processing have continued to transform these business processes. Mobile devices in enterprise mobility were used as data entry or data access tools. In Enterprise IoT architectures, mobile devices will potentially have the added functions of controller, gateway, sensor and sub-platform, expanding their functional roles but also the requirements on the management of mobile devices, a core feature of enterprise mobility.

Single enterprise mobility and IoT strategy
In a recent Machina Research Strategy Report¹, we outlined the growing overlap in functionality between mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAPs) and Enterprise IoT platforms. In such areas as device management, connectivity management, service and application enablement, and back-end integrations as well as cloud service and data management, the benefits from approaching (designing, implementing and managing) architectures as a single, unified platform rather than two separate and siloed platform solutions had reached a stage where savings and improved efficiencies could certainly be achieved by enterprises.

Platform economy
Enabling and managing the complexity of connected IoT applications and the associated IoT data and IoT services and assisting enterprises pursue this single enterprise mobility and IoT strategy will become an opportunity area for service and solution providers. In terms of forecast economic activity, Machina Research has identified this to be a revenue opportunity growing from USD 56billion in 2015 to over USD
273billion by 2025.

Figure 1: Global revenue opportunity from IoT platforms and middleware [Source: Machina Research, 2016]

Global revenue opportunity for IoT platforms and middleware

Please note that when referring to IoT platforms and middleware, we are exploring a significantly wider set of enabling technologies. A suitable definition would be refer IoT platforms and middleware as platforms and middleware that support IoT-style applications rather than just IoT dedicated platforms and middleware.

Next steps
For enterprises, the time has certainly come to explore, assess and define their enterprise mobile and IoT platform strategies as a single strategy, avoiding the additional costs of operating and managing duplicate systems but also benefitting and leveraging the strengths and capabilities of both platforms in one integrated architecture.

For platform providers, approaching the market from both enterprise mobility and Enterprise IoT, there are substantial opportunities in starting and extending the collaborations and partnerships to the benefit of enterprise customers. And notably, those larger platform providers that have bridged both worlds are substantially leveraging these capabilities.

¹ See Machina Research Strategy Report, “It’s time for a single enterprise mobile and IoT platform,” April 14, 2016.
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