Top 10 mobile stories of 2014

In a year that saw the battle of BYOD, many major device manufacturers did all they could to make their way into the enterprise mobile space

In a year that saw the battle of bring your own device (BYOD), many major manufacturers did all they could to make their way into the enterprise mobile space.

The mobility trend has entered full swing as firms grow in confidence, but an argument remains over which is more effective out of BYOD and the roll-out of corporately owned, personally enabled (Cope) devices.

There remains, however, a worrying amount of companies without a mobility plan, leading to employees taking devices and the safety of corporate data into their own hands.

Here are some of the top mobile stories of 2014.

1. IT mobility trend continues in 2014

As firms began to recover from the recession, more was invested in IT development. Computer Weekly’s IT priorities survey revealed 50% of firms planned to invest in enterprise-issued devices for employees across 2014.

The 40% not giving employees mobile devices in 2014 said it was because this was already implemented in their company – evidence that BYOD became embedded in work life in 2013.

The clear message of 2014 was whether you decide between BYOD, Cope or no devices at all, it’s still important to have a plan in place to back up your strategy, or employees will decide for themselves.

2. Mobile users will provide data to 100 apps a day by 2017

Among the mobile trends of the year was the proliferation of applications, in the enterprise as well as at home.

The growth of the internet of things, and the increase in the number of smartphones and tablets in use pushed the number of applications up significantly, which also increased the amount of user data being shared with applications on a daily basis.

Research by Gartner showed by 2017 more than £46bn worth of apps will be downloaded, making apps one of the most popular computing tools across the globe.

3. Smartphone sales decline in mature markets

As 2014 went on, research showed the smartphone market was reaching saturation in mature regions, leading to a decline in sales in the western world.

An analyst from Gartner stated this was due to a lack of differentiating factors between high-end handsets, meaning consumers were unable to justify an upgrade.

But the sale of feature phones continued to decline, as smartphone sales began to pick up in emerging markets.

4. Zuckerburg at MWC: Emerging markets don’t know they need the internet

After a video presentation claiming by 2020 mobile operators will help a further billion people access the internet, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerburg told the Mobile World Congress (MWC): “It’s the shared goal to help connect everyone in the world.”

In early 2014, Facebook partnered up with the Internet.org group in an attempt to connect more of the emerging world to the internet.

And later in the year, as Android launched its Android One initiative, it became clear the emerging world is skipping PCs and accessing online services through smartphones.

5. BlackBerry makes small profit in light of internal shakeups

Blackberry was hit hard in 2013, leaving interim CEO John Chen to pick up the pieces. At the MWC in Barcelona, Chen admitted the launch of the firm's BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system and the accompanying Z10 handset made the firm lose focus on the enterprise and damaged its relationship with its business customer base.

The firm then went on to achieve a net profit of $23m (approximately £13.5m) with revenue of $966m in three months from March 2014 until the end of May 2014. 

Chen claimed the growth was as a result of internal changes and decisions putting the firm back on track.

But Blackberry is no longer the biggest player in enterprise, as the space opens up for other tech giants.

6. Apple and IBM pair up to tackle enterprise mobility

Half way through the year Apple announced it would partner with IBM to develop business applications focused on enterprise mobility.

Apple had previously not shown an interest in the enterprise space, but made several decisions during its 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco that signalled a business-focused push.

As 2014 reached its end IBM and Apple released the first wave of its applications for the business environment.

7. More than half of businesses still without BYOD plan

While the beginning of 2014 looked promising for enterprise mobility, the final quarter saw firms backtracking on device plans.

Research revealed more than 60% of organisations are unable to adopt a BYOD policy due to business risk and compliance rules.

Around 70% of organisations do not have a formal BYOD strategy, with 67% naming business risk and compliance as the main reason for this. As predicted earlier in 2014, absence of a formal BYOD scheme is leading to employees taking a do-it-yourself approach to IT, leaving organisations vulnerable.

8. The iPhone 6 and Apple Watch – will they be used in business?

The launch of the iPhone 6 was one of the biggest technology announcements of the year, and with it came confirmation of the much speculated Apple Watch.

Despite rumours of bendiness, the handset was well received and kept with the current trend of oversized devices.

Apple’s iPhone 6 handsets contain a near-field communications (NFC) antenna, as well as a secure element chip where data is stored. Users can touch their phone to a contactless payment reader using Apple's Touch ID for authentication.

This technology was hailed by many as the gateway to an increase in the use of NFC for payments, and it was predicted it would help this method to catch on in the future.

9. More firms sign up to offer Paym

Apple Pay wasn’t the only mobile-driven payments service to gain traction in 2014, the Paym service launched early in the year and became so popular it was responsible for more than £6.5 million of transactions in its first 100 days.

A report by the Payments Council predicted by 2018 one billion transactions will have been made using Paym and 63% of consumers will use Paym to ask friends and family to pay them back for items such as dinner or cinema tickets.

10. Increase in mobile users sees 2.7 billion devices worldwide in 2014

As the year went on, mobile subscriptions increased by 800 million due to an increase in emerging markets and developed markets owning more than one device.

With an increase in users, mobile data traffic is also expected to increase. Ericsson predicted mobile video will make up 55% of mobile data traffic by 2020.

This comes as no surprise as it’s predicted by 2018 smartphones and tablets will be the preferred devices for online activities.

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