5 Enterprise Mobility Trends For 2019 To Follow

Prepare For Another Big Year In The Industry

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Steven Lerner

2018 was a significant year for enterprise mobility, as organizations continue leveraging new mobile technologies to boost productivity, lower costs, protect data, and improve the employee experience.

What topics will dominate mobile devices in the new year? Here are five of the top enterprise mobility trends to follow in 2019:

1. The Enterprise Welcomes 5G

Welcome to the 5th generation of mobile communications. The beginning of 5G adoption in the enterprise will likely constitute a significant change in 2019. AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan recently said that with 5G, “the early opportunities are going to be in enterprise.”

Starting in March, 5G specifications will be released, and deployment will begin. It is expected to be leveraged for enterprise networking.

“5G coming to market will be what defines 2019,” said Mike Feibus, principal analyst with FeibusTech. “No one really knows yet what innovative uses the enterprise will conjure up for this ultra-fast, low-latency network. First, you have to get it in their hands, and then the light bulbs will go off. I’m really looking forward to getting it in their hands next year.”

Although the 5G rollout will be slow, enterprises should start preparing for it now. In addition to added benefits for traditional mobile devices, there are also new opportunities with the Internet of Things (IoT), due to the added connectivity. 5G could enable organizations to get the most out of their devices and the data collected from them.

“2019 will be the year that 5G really happens, but in reality it will only be available in selected areas for the next couple of years,” said Jack Gold, president and principal analyst with J. Gold Associates. “To me, real deployment is when I can get it at 80% of the locations I go to, and that won’t be right away. We’ll also see a plethora of smartphones sporting 5G modems, especially the higher end devices. I expect that 5G enabled will be a check box item for purchasers, who demand premium devices, but we’ll probably continue to see a large number of 4G devices at the mid tier and lower, and that transition to 5G won’t happen for at least one to two years.”

2. More AI-Enabled Mobile Devices

Since 2017, more mobile makers have infused artificial intelligence (AI) into their devices. There is likely to be more adoption of these AI-enabled mobile devices in the enterprise, thanks in part to benefits such as increased efficiency and productivity.

“2019 will usher in a new era of mobile devices that are AI-equipped,” said Gold. “Much of this early AI will be geared towards camera and video enhancements, but I also expect a significant amount of effort to go into making the phones easier to use through AI. It will help with security, too.”

3. Increased Adoption Of BYOD

Although Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has its risks, it also allows companies to reduce some expenses. BYOD is not a new concept, but the adoption rate will likely increase in 2019. In fact, the BYOD market is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 17% over the next four years.

One reason for the BOYD increase is a result of the new solutions enhancing mobile security, says Simon Hardy-Bistagne, the global head of artificial intelligence and enterprise mobility for Schneider Electric.

“It's clear about the benefits with end user privacy and freedom, while keeping company data secure,” he said. “I think you might also start to see more movement towards BYO laptop in the enterprise. It's just starting to see some visibility, and I think next year this will also pick up momentum.”

4. UEM Acceptance Will Skyrocket

With a growing need to secure mobile devices, more organizations are turning to Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). Although the adoption rates have so far been slow (a poll from August revealed that only 11% of enterprises confirmed that they have embraced a UEM solution) it is expected to grow immensely in 2019. The same poll found that nearly 40% of enterprises are going to explore this solution in the future.

“I think UEM should hit the knee of the hockey stick and really start taking off in 2019,” said Feibus. “It’s now mature enough, and many of the enterprise manageability tools have incorporated it.”

With significantly more endpoints (including mobile devices) in the enterprise now, leveraging UEM seems like a logical conclusion. The technology can help enterprises manage and secure devices while achieving long-term cost savings. It can also decrease mobile-related service requests, and improve employee satisfaction.

5. Mobile Threat Security Tools Gain More Attention

As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) has become a necessity. In 2018, mobile devices became the main target for phishing attacks (up 85% annually). To protect the vulnerabilities of mobile devices, enterprises will likely put more resources into MTD.

Hardy-Bistagne says that there will be an “MTD explosion” in popularity in 2019, and he touts newer capabilities, such as malicious link detection, as a reason why enterprises are leveraging this solution. After all, it is better to be proactive and stay ahead of mobile attacks than to wait and take action after each incident.

What other big trends will dominate enterprise mobility and digital transformation in 2019? Later this month, Enterprise Mobility Exchange will publish its exclusive annual report featuring a survey from IT leaders about the current state of the industry and focuses for 2019.