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Outlook for mobile

As we enter 2013, Forrester's security & risk team makes its predictions for the mobile computing market

Prediction #1: Personal-owned devices become the norm of enterprise computing. Today, more than 70 percent of organizations have some form of a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) program, where employees use personal devices for work-related tasks. BYOD has empowered the modern workforce, improved productivity and allowed companies to deliver better services to customers and partners. Forrester sees a continuation of this trend into 2013 and beyond. We also see that BYOD will gradually expand from smartphones/tablets to personal computers. With the United States leading BYOD adoptions, Europe will experiment with BYOD in 2013, though actual adoption in Europe will remain slow due to heightened privacy concerns.

What does this mean? A) IT must expand support for extensive remote access. They will invest in means to support mobile access to more corporate content and data that traditionally live behind the firewall. Mobile security services will see increased investments as a result. B) Organizations will reduce spending on wired/fixed communication services, but increase investments in wireless hardware and services.

Prediction #2: Device virtualization will become seamless and on-demand. With technology providers like VMware championing device virtualization technologies, and innovators like Entroproid and Mobile Spaces offering exciting new options, device virtualization will enter the mainstream IT market in 2013. We will see more seamless, on-demand virtualization offerings with little intrusion to user experience. These technologies will enable further mobilization of company resources, support of more mobile platforms and ultimately render BYOD a non-issue. This trend will not reach its peak in 2013, but we will begin to feel its effect within the next 12 months.

What does this mean? A) Although companies will continue to invest in mobile device management technologies in 2013, innovations in device virtualization will gradually pull budget away from device management. B) With better virtualization technologies, BYOD will expand to the more conservative industries.

Prediction #3: 2013 will see a visible increase of HTML5 applications for enterprise use, fueled by increased connectivity. The Federal Communications Commission has a number of ongoing efforts to free up more spectrum for commercial use, including auctioning off TV whitespaces and freeing military bandwidths. These efforts will begin to see the first of its effects in 2013. This means connectivity will become more reliable, more pervasive and more affordable. Pervasive connectivity will foster more online communications, which paves the way for HTML5 deliveries. Native apps will still take the spotlight, but adoption of HTML5 will accelerate.

What does this mean? A) Enterprise applications will gradually move from the device to the cloud. This means we'll see increased spending on cloud hosting and cloud-delivered services. B) With the advent of HTML5 applications, mobile browsers will become a critical control point on the device, and 2013 will bring innovations in secure mobile browser technologies.

Prediction #4: The market will see newer and more innovative device form factors. If the web emerges as the central platform for mobile computing, and devices increasingly are relegated to a rendering terminal, this opens doors for newer, more innovative form factors, such as wearable computers, to enter mainstream use. With the help of increased connectivity and better battery technologies, 2013 will see innovations in device form factors that will revolutionalize the field of mobile computing.

What does it mean? A) With these lighter, more portable form factors, application and data storage will be driven more into the cloud. Providers of “cloud enclaves” will emerge to host business critical data and applications. B) Though innovations in device form factors will emerge, device makers and carriers will increasingly seek to differentiate on services.  

Chenxi Wang

Dr. Chenxi Wang is the Founder and General Partner of Rain Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture fund focused on Enterprise Software and Cybersecurity investments. A well-known operator, technologist, and thought leader in the Cybersecurity industry, Dr. Wang is a member of the Board of Directors for MDU Resources, a Fortune 500 company. Previously, Chenxi was Chief Strategy Officer at Twistlock, VP of strategy for Intel Security, and VP of research for Forrester. Chenxi was recognized as a Women-of-Influence by the SC Magazine, Women Tech Founders, and Cyber Risk alliance.

Chenxi’s career began as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where she helped found the Cybersecurity Lab of Carnegie Mellon. Chenxi is a trusted advisor to IT executives and a sought-after keynote speaker. She has headlined events worldwide and been featured by top media outlets for her thought leadership work. Chenxi is a Forbes contributor and writes a column for Dark Reading. Chenxi holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia.

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