GigaOM Mobilize: Mobilizing the Enterprise

Last week, I attended GigaOM Mobilize in San Francisco.  It’s a conference on the latest mobile trends ranging from apps to wireless carriers.  You name it, someone is saying something about mobile this or that.  I really like the intimate setting where anyone can ask questions to the movers and shakers on stage and the GigaOM folks make sure to stick to the fast-paced schedule, double brownie points.  In the next few blog postings, I’ll write about my takeaways.

During a break, InterDigital sponsored a 7-man panel on “Re-imaging Wireless”.  I was most interested in the discussion around the convergence of enterprise and consumer mobile market.  In case you didn’t know, most often the money is with the enterprise market.  It’s a more solid stream of revenue than consumers although (IMHO) the consumer market is sexier and easier for grandma to understand if you hit it big.  Nowadays, consumers expect something for nothing.  Thanks to Apple for setting the bar at free or $0.99.  For every paid mobile app downloaded, about 300 free apps are downloaded.  This is why I recommend mobile app developers to consult rather than develop their own mobile apps unless developing apps is for fun.

The general consensus of the panel was that the difference between enterprise and consumer mobile apps is becoming less and less.  Enterprise requirements include privacy, security, data-oriented, and easy for IT to manage.  For consumer apps, it’s mainly social, fun, entertainment, but will soon (if not already) address many of the enterprise requirements.  One day there’s going to be a merge of the two markets.  Imagine using your iPhone to view spreadsheets with animated bright, bouncing numbers getting eaten by monsters.  I love it!

Now most companies are looking 18 to 24 months out for their mobile app needs.  In reality, these companies don’t really know what about mobile that they need to do, they just know that they need to do something mobile.

One panelist said that his consulting company is deploying 20-30K iPads to large enterprises.  He declared that companies will not continue to pay $600 to $700 a tablet (hint: this is directed to Apple) and that someone will come out with a tablet (made in China) with a $100 price tag.  If the tablet gets lost, the company can just buy a new one.  Here!  Here!  Where can I buy this tablet?  Samsung?  :)

Stay tuned for follow-up postings about Mobilize.  Enjoy!