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Data Gobblers: What’s Next on the Horizon

Data Gobblers: What’s Next on the Horizon

Britt Cooper

Five Trends in Mobile Tech and User Behavior that Enterprises Need to Watch

Mobility managers are in a constant battle to keep data costs down whilst assuring that the benefits of an untethered workforce are realised across the business. Awareness of bill shock and its current causes is rising, and solutions to fight it are gaining ground.

Technological advances roll on however and just as we get a handle on one issue, another is surely lurking in the background. We have been horizon scanning with customers and partners to identify a short list of watchable trends that mobility managers need to follow and prepare for.

1. The rollout of 4G/LTE immediately springs to mind. Evidence is already mounting that LTE subscribers, spurred on by faster data speeds and more powerful handsets are growing their use of video and other mobile apps above and beyond what was seen under 3G. There is an associated trend towards a decrease in Wi-Fi use, as faster 4G connections make the switchover to home and office WI-FI’s increased bandwidth less of a necessity.

2. To what extent operators will use 4G as an opportunity to reset tariffs also bears watching. Industry speculation is pointing to fewer all-you-can-eat contracts in favour of larger usage-limited plans.

3. The rise of video continues as tablets and smart phones proliferate with larger, HD-quality screens and ever more powerful processors. This chart from the US suggests mobile has doubled its share of online video consumption in the past year. Social media is also driving video consumption. A 2012 study from Adobe shows that video content is more than twice as likely to be viewed, shared and commented on than non-video content. Twitter delivers far fewer video shares than Facebook, but video-related tweets are three times more likely to generate referral traffic than other content. Expect video to continue to be the number one cost driver for mobile data consumption for the foreseeable future.

4. The introduction of super apps like Facebook Home is raising eyebrows. Built into the Android operating system, there are unanswered questions about how Home and any future imitators will interact with operator networks, how it will work with other apps, how it will affect the behaviour of the handsets that embed it. For example, it may not be possible to shut Facebook Home entirely ‘off’, without minimising the capabilities of the device – a real problem if your business has a BYOD policy. We could see the proliferation of other always on and OS-embedded apps: Twitter Home? Google+ Home? Worrying.

5. Mobility managers can also expect to see a continuation of the trend toward multiple devices per user, adding more complexity to the device and data management challenge. 2013 is on track to be the year when the number of mobile devices will exceed the number of people on earth. And some are predicting a 10-billion device planet by 2016, or an average of 1.4 mobile devices per person.