So its that time again, Happy new year to you all and it’s tie to lay down some thoughts and predictions about the Rugged, Mobile industry. This year has been the hardest year of all to get this article to a point where I have been happy with it because for one there’s so much going on now but for 2 also we wanted to keep things business focused too. So there might be quite a lot missed out but we’ve tried hard to listen to customers and also our team here to come up with a top 10. So here goes:
Android takes over
To be honest I don’t think anyone will be that surprised by this but with Microsoft muttering about dropping it’s mobile OS strategy, IOS not quite being the power house consumer-wise that it was and Android still gaining in popularity it’s inevitable that for me this will be the year that Android takes over Rugged completely. For us there was no choice from about 2 years ago but I think this year will see us possibly return to a 1 OS environment in terms of Rugged smart phones.
Embedded gains steam
By embedded I mean IOT, small gadgets that gather data and talk to each other and a server without the need of humans or smartphones. Every day there’s a new IOT product on the market but up until now they’ve largely been very sketchy and certainly few are commercial in their quality. I think 2017 will be the year of IOT in industry and we’ll see some big changes.
It’s not just about hardware any more (where have I heard that before!). Rugged hardware is still an essential part of an enterprise mobile system, but more and more its about managing the devices, the people, malware and also how you utilise them. Building an ecosystem that serves your business purposes is the key to being competitive and I know our focus will be shifting onto this in 2017, many of yours will be too!
There’s so much to deploying and running a mobile solution now, so many new technologies constantly hitting the shelves and so much to click together that it has become genuinely too much for most companies to manage. Whilst outsourcing software and hardware development has always been key, this will be outsourcing your mobile solution management in totality as it becomes too much to worry about.
Shucks I guess we don’t deliver our own parcels here do we, maybe you guys don;t want to do your mobile IT any longer!
Cloud services now the norm
I was shown a photo of our old tech office and it was only from about 5 years ago and the whole place was filled with servers. Ones for sync testing, ones with new database technology on them, Linux this, Microsoft Windows that, marketing servers, firmware servers and more! Today we are about to get rid of the last NAS we have and we’re 100% cloud based here now. We used to worry about the security but the pain of running our own systems, even for us just got too big!
You just have t o take a look at the Android install base to see this for yourself and you’ll see that every time a new version of Android comes out it is stretching the number of versions of the OS in use. We still base our devices on v4 and v5 for good reasons, largely because most people still use that version and they are also very tinkerable with. However it has become a real headache now to design apps that run on all versions. This will exhasperate in 2017 with Android 8 coming out to the point Google will have to do something about it.
4G or not to 4G?
This was a tough one for usas the business market doesn’t follow the consumer crowd too closely when it comes to mobile data. However we’ve bitten the bullet and said that 4G will be a big issue for businesses in 2017 as they use it to make themselves fitter, faster and more innovative.
The OS war moves house
Whilst Android will start to dominate in the mobile OS, the war continues to rage in the next era of OS, namely in embedded and IOT development. PIC ruled for years, but then Arduino changed everything and whilst Arduino is still a string contender with serious competition from Microsoft, Intel, Android, and Rasberry pi and more, this market is going to get shaken up so much in 2017 that you’re hardly going to know which one to choose.
VR catches on
So far VR is just about still an experimental, fun kind of thing to have. However scratch beneath the surface and you’ll see some serious business/enterprise solutions already in use using VR. VR in our opinion will be one of the most disruptive technologies people alive today will have seen and I think 2017 will usher in the acceptance and new era of VR. Expect to hear about it a lot, expect to try it for the first tie this year and expect to have your head explode when you see what it can do!
Bespoke solutions make a come back
First we had bespoke, then the shrink-wrapped era, then the free app era and now the paid app era. However I think we’ll start to move back into the bespoke on steriods in 2017. We alost never sell a Rugged Raptor smartphone without a bespoke 3D printed accessory any more and as for software, does an app bought fro the app store really give your business a competitive edge? bespoke is making a come back baby!
So there we have it, quite eclectic, quite broad and maybe a hint as to where we’re looking in 2017 too. I;d love to hear about your thoughts though, so comment or email us and let us know what you think will be big in 2017.