At Mediafly, we have a unique perspective on media consumption. Between our private- and public-facing clients, we have seen a variety of mixed media consumption patterns through the years. Now that enterprise mobility has reached a feverish pace, we’ve helped clients with BYOD, CYOD / corporate-purchased smart devices, combinations therein, and teams who have fully embraced tablets for sales enablement purposes. Within many companies, tablets have truly accelerated the pace and perceived need for enterprise mobility to be implemented ASAP. As we mentioned last year, our past private trend predictions were fairly accurate. For 2012, we went on a limb and made some of our predictions public.
Let’s see how we did for 2012 and then delve into what we see for 2013.
Mediafly’s 2012 Predictions & Results:
1.) iPad will continue to dominate as an enterprise sales tool, but Android tablets will finally start making inroads.
Nearly every tablet-adoption-in-the-enterprise story today centers around the iPad
. Our own data justifies that; while enterprise talk about wanting to be able to support Android, up through 2011 this hasn’t yet become a priority. We believe that in 2012 this will start to change, as Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and beyond close the ‘sexiness’ gap between Android and iOS.
Yea or Nay? Yea: In our experiences, iPad does continue to dominate the enterprise tablet scene. Nay: We have not seen Android make significant inroads yet, although Windows 8 could have something to say about enterprise penetration. However, that’s something for 2013 predictions…
2.) Sales and executives will continue to be the first recipients of tablet devices. No surprises here. Mobile staff that interact with customers and decision makers have been, and will continue to be, the first to receive these devices within every organization.
Yea or Nay? Yea: from the enterprises purchasing tablets, the sales and executive teams continue to be the first in line. As enterprise mobility spreads throughout the workforce, such as to field support teams, creative teams, and beyond, this trend will likely dissipate.
2a.) These recipients will continue to carry around their laptops until they get a more robust feature set from their tablets. While tablets today are fantastic for email, media consumption and gaming, their web browsers are mediocre and their enterprise app support is in its infancy. As enterprise software and service makers continue to evolve their products for tablets, the PC will become less necessary. But outside of a few key markets and their leading vendors (CRM: Salesforce, Presentation creation: Keynote, Business Media Presentation: Mediafly), we will not see the true migration in 2012.
Yea or Nay? Mixed. We have seen salespeople completely stop carrying their laptops and briefcases once they have Mediafly’s SalesKit sales enablement solution. At the same time, many people still carry laptops, as they prefer to create files via traditional computers.
3.) IT departments increasingly turn to vendor-supported solutions for enterprise apps.
For IT staff that typically work on backend systems, building an iPhone app is shiny and new. However, for IT managers with mandates of migrating to vendor-supported solutions, building an iPhone app in-house goes against the mandate and can be very costly
. We expect to see internal IT groups increasingly migrate to vendor-supported app solutions for critical business functions over the course of 2012.
Yea or Nay? Yea: IT staff and even sales and marketing teams have turned to outside solutions, whether cloud-based SaaS platforms like Mediafly, or otherwise. The quality and reliability of enterprise software solutions continues to improve and evolve, making a decision to go with a vendor-supported app solution relatively painless. This allows internal IT staff to focus on core competencies and differentiation where it matters.
4.) IT departments continue to migrate to cloud-based solutions, as costs continue to drop, functionality continues to grow, and service providers continue to mature.
Cloud computing functionality and reliability are still raw, but improving steadily. 2011 saw some severe outages
from nearly every major cloud vendor, against which each of these vendors have honed their architecture to improve. At the same time, each month reveals new features
to make migrating to the cloud a little easier. As these outages are mitigated, and as the functionality improves, traditional IT departments will continue the steady migration of data and processing to the cloud.
Yea or Nay? Yea: As mentioned above, functionality and options continue to increase in enterprise software. The redundancy and scalability of cloud-based solutions, not to mention the affordable nature, really have put them in the forefront of enterprise upgrades. Vendors are learning from the outages of the past and maximizing uptime. As an example of decreasing costs, Amazon just reduced pricing, e.g. dropping S3 pricing by 24-27% for all regions.
5.) Live streaming to mobile and TV devices will become more reliable, as Android and BlackBerry finally adopt HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).
Displaying live streaming video to iOS, Roku, and Flash work like a charm. Live streaming to Android is clunky and awkward. We believe that Google will finally fix its broken implementation
of HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) in Ice Cream Sandwich or its successor, and finally enable the hundreds of millions of Android devices to seamlessly play live streaming video.
Yea or Nay? Nay. Google only fixed HTTP Live Streaming in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. At the time of this writing, Android 4.0+ devices account for only 34.2% of the Android ecosystem.
To make matters worse, Adobe took what was a fledgling Live streaming environment on Android (using Flash Player) and drove a knife through it by deciding to stop support Adobe Flash Player on Android.
6.) While HTML5 will make further inroads in the web and on TV devices, native apps will continue to dominate on mobile (iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7).
Lots of talk has been made around HTML5 and how it will revolutionize cross-device development. Unfortunately, we are many years away from HTML5 apps providing as seamless a user experience as a native application. User interaction is less responsive, cross-device UI is inconsistent, support for advanced UI and CSS features is mixed, and other issues exist
. While progress will be made towards HTML5 surpassing native as the platform of choice, 2012 will not be the year of the tipping point.
Yea or Nay? Yea. Native apps continue to dominate consumer, enterprise and media attention. Furthermore, the pace of innovation for pure browser-based HTML5 apps is severely limited by cross-browser issues and OS limitations. Consumer-focused apps that have unified user interface requirements continue to move away from HTML5.
Now, on to 2013 and a new year of predictions:
1) iPad continues to dominate the enterprise. The Apple iPad, even though some initially dismissed it as a consumer toy, has become the de facto standard at the present time for corporate deployments. We see this in sales reports as well as our own enterprise engagements. We believe the iPad will continue this dominance through 2013
2) Windows 8 will eclipse Android in the enterprise. The Windows 8 tablets have been widely anticipated. While the initial launch didn’t break records, there are many enterprises have held out tablet adoption pending a legitimate Windows entry into the tablet space. As mentioned above, Android has not made significant enterprise inroads at the present, and we don’t see it competing well for the non-Apple crowd vs. the enterprise favorite, Microsoft.
3) As we predicted last year, salespeople and executives will continue to be the first to receive corporate tablets. However, sales enablement and executive review will no longer be enough and tablets will migrate to more departments throughout the enterprise. Field service professionals, creative teams, engineers, and more will embrace tablets in daily workflow and increase the enterprise penetration of tablets.
4) In a significant usage shift, file creation on tablets will become more widespread in 2013. Since they were brought out, tablets have been used primarily as a consumption device- for viewing or experiencing content – versus one used for the creation of enterprise files and documents. However, with native Microsoft Office applications for Windows 8 tablets and rumored iOS and Android versions nearing the release, the world’s most-used office suite will soon be available for corporate productivity. In addition, more tablet productivity applications are embracing document creation and modification capabilities, including devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note series, making tablets closer substitutes for PCs.
5) For new enterprise equipment, sales of tablets will significantly outpace the sales of laptops in 2013. With the increase in functionality outlined above and the availability of decent accessory keyboards (for a more traditional experience), tablets are a more powerful option than ever. In fact, they have now become a viable option for corporate users instead of, not just in addition to, laptops.
6) While hybrid HTML5-native apps lose traction for consumer apps (e.g. Facebook), they continue to gain for enterprise apps. We firmly believe that hybrid HTML5-native apps will be the platform of choice in the future. The cost of creating beautiful, responsive user interfaces is dramatically less expensive and more maintainable than building pure iOS and Android native apps. Others agree. The only real question is “when”, not “if”. It may not be 2013, but 2014 is feeling pretty good.
The Mediafly team wishes you all the best of success in 2013!
Thanks to our clients and partners for your continued support in the market.