SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Dave Michels | August 29, 2017 |

 
   

The Evolution of Mobile-First

The Evolution of Mobile-First It is now time to see the mobile device as a superior endpoint, rather than just an alternative one.

It is now time to see the mobile device as a superior endpoint, rather than just an alternative one.

"Mobile-first" is a term we hear a lot in enterprise communications, and like many terms in technology its meaning has evolved over the years.

The term mobile-first started to appear in 2008 following the launch of the iPhone. It represented a new approach to mobile app development. Instead of creating apps that were effectively light versions of desktop applications, mobile-first called for developers to start with the mobile client, and port a light version for the desktop.

Prior to mobile-first, the desktop -- offering a large screen and full keyboard -- was where all the users were. Desktop clients could make or break software applications. It took a while to conceptually see a mobile device as a more powerful option than a desktop, but it happened.

A quick look at computer sales makes a strong case for mobile-first. In 2016, 269.7 million PC units were shipped, Gartner reported, which represents a 6.2 percent decline over 2015. In fact, PC sales have been declining since 2012, and Gartner's recent 2Q17 report marks the 11th consecutive quarter of declines in PC shipments. Now compare that to another recent Gartner report estimating smartphone sales at 1.5 billion units in 2016 -- a 5% increase over 2015 -- and the trend away from the desktop toward mobile is abundantly clear.

Changing the Way Work Gets Done
These numbers substantiate mobile-first in terms of market size, but more importantly, mobile devices are changing how, when, and where we work and communicate. It's no longer just a matter of which app gets developed first, but how to maximize productivity.

Look to UC presence as an example of how the smartphone has changed the way we work. Before the iPhone, presence was equated with keyboard activity. The thinking was that it meant a person was at their computer, likely in their office and available. Though using perhaps questionable logic, it actually worked surprisingly well.

The concept of presence never adapted well to mobile because we always had our phones with us. Presence and availability became disassociated. Even messaging apps, which are largely considered a mobile-first class of applications, tend to use read receipts instead.

In fact, the rise of messaging is directly related to the mobile-first shift. Previously, when we left our office, our phone line would ring and forward to voicemail. Now that we keep our phones with us, unanswered calls have become disruptive. As a result, sending a message is often considered more polite than calling.

portable


A Shifting Model
Mobile-first has expanded into a general acknowledgement of mobility. It's not enough to develop for iOS or Android first; developers must understand a broader set of use cases. Smartphones have numerous sensors that desktops didn't that can improve usability or context. Smartphones can detect location, light, noise level, angle of use, motion, and more. Mobile apps can use many of these sensors together. Location, for example, can be determined with data from GPS, Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth.

Mobile-first also means multiple devices. For example, conversation history and sent/received messages should be consistent across the same app on all devices. We take this stuff for granted today, but it wasn't always so seamless.

Recently there's been a shift away from the traditional app model as users are becoming increasingly selective about installing apps, not to mention the fact that many enterprise management systems lock down user app installation., As a result, mobile-first now has to work around "app-fatigue" and enterprise restrictions by offering alternatives to full clients. One option is to create rich, comparable experiences through the mobile browser. Google Maps and Evernote are examples of apps that provide near identical experiences via apps and browsers.

Another alternative app model is designing apps that work with multiple services. A good example is the email client, as it can work with multiple services.

Yet another approach is Android Instant Apps. Introduced in 2016, Instant Apps show aspects of their programs within the Google Play store without requiring installation. Although Instant Apps requires Android 6 or newer, Google recently announced 500 million devices can run Instant Apps.

Ironically, mobile-first is moving into the desktop space, too. Apple positions its iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. It's an iOS device that offers a reasonable screen, processor, and keyboard. It's causing a steady increase in mobile app functionality. For example, Google updated its G-Suite mobile apps to provide comparable functionality as its desktop browser version.

The mobile-first journey will continue to evolve. Contact centers will use biometrics instead of a mother's maiden name for authentication. Insurance companies are now allowing callers to use their smartphone cameras to assess damages and file claims, and healthcare professionals will soon use smartphone sensors to diagnose their patients.

It is time now to see the mobile device as a superior endpoint, rather than just an alternative one. Mobile devices are here to stay, that is until we leave and take them with us.

Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter!
@DaveMichels





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.