Photo of a professional business man in a coffee shop talking on his smartphone

Making Mobile More Productive With Business-Specific Apps

17 Sep 2015 by Howard M Cohen

It’s the paradigm for the “ultimate user experience.” As Citrix CEO Mark Templeton first described it: “Give users the ability to ‘Live, Work, and Play’ on the same device, one of their own choosing.” This eventually gave rise to the concept of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD).

Mobile device manufacturers keep releasing new products in new sizes — all seeking that ideal form factor that users will be most comfortable using as both phone and tablet (sometimes unfortunately referred to as a “phablet,” at least until marketers come up with a better name). Their goal is to free the user from having to carry multiple devices.

Evernote may have been the first to intuit that users would embrace this idea, which would allow them to work on one device, then pick up later on with another, and yet another, all without ever “saving” the document. Everything produced on Evernote is automatically transferred to their cloud server. This allows the user to work unencumbered by concern about which device the work “lives” on.

With foldable, rollable and other highly portable Bluetooth keyboard devices and headsets, and with the growth of voice recognition technologies such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s as-yet-unnamed S-Voice, consumers can get more value out of a mobile device than ever.

Make more of mobile.

Many IT Service Providers (ITSPs) are expanding their services portfolio to include migration of customer line-of-business applications to mobile platforms.

Rewriting any application for a user interface in another form factor is a substantial, time-consuming task that would require an ITSP to dramatically alter its business model and skill sets. Some have tried using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology to help customers run their applications on devices other than desktop or laptop computers. Depending upon the application, many users expressed frustration at having to pan and zoom around the screen to use the interface.

New platforms are emerging, however, that enable rapid migration of applications to a variety of mobile form factors. Some, like Windows Apportals from Microsoft, use a graphical interface to allow users to create or modify existing applications to run using the Modern UI movable, sizable tiles. Using Apportals once allows applications to be run on a variety of screen sizes and form factors.

Similar tools include Bluemix and MobileFirst from IBM.

Be ready for the mobile future.

Adoption of mobile devices is not slowing down, and the popularity of BYOD programs confirms that more and more users will want to live, work and play on the same device.

Mobile devices have grown far beyond their roots as cellphones. More and more salespeople, professional service providers, craftspeople and others are expanding the variety of ways in which they are used every day. With the right communications software and services, you can cut your customers’ phone bills dramatically. Imagine eliminating almost the entire cost of intraoffice or intracompany calling, and adding video and ad-hoc conferencing while you’re at it.

As the Internet of Things, smart homes, smart buildings and smart cities technologies continue to heat up, the mobile device becomes more and more the single point of control for everything the user may need or want to control.

Create a unique, innovative mobile services practice.

Look at your existing market base. Consider the industries your customers come from. Then, work with the experts at Insight to explore ways to add new capabilities, services and value for your customers. Become the expert, and grow your ITSP business in ways you may have never thought of.