In the digital age, smartphones have become the primary Internet access channel for the majority of users across the globe. This is primarily driven by a combination of favorable prices for devices, wireless service plans and a continual increase in available applications. And despite a considerably smaller screen and keyboard, the mobile handset has become a laptop replacement option for many enterprise users.
One reason why smartphones could soon be replacing laptops is because the basic architecture of today’s smartphones mimics that of the laptop – where there is a processor, RAM, local storage, wireless network connections, operating system and the ability to run local apps.
The question for enterprise IT executives is whether to accept the trend toward bigger, faster, more powerful, more expensive mobile handsets stuffed with apps and data. Or perhaps there are other approaches to dealing with handsets in an organizational context that could focus on information, rather than hardware capabilities, and take advantage of cloud services.
In line with the BYOD movement, it seems only logical for many IT managers to have accepted smartphones as a replacement for the laptop for most end users. As a result, they have developed apps for the mobile handset and deployed a broad range of management software, just like with laptops. However, the costs associated with this concept have in many cases been quite high, And the evolutionary path of handsets and the needs of organizational IT are often working at cross purposes.
Going forward, minimizing the cost of integrating BYOD handsets through the use of cloud-based services will become a driving force for IT organizations. Differences between handsets do not matter so much in a cloud-centric IT environment. The core requirement for the use of handsets in an organization should revolve around the information they access, manage and transform, not the consumer bells and whistles.
That said, we expect handsets to continue on the path of becoming faster, more powerful and more of a laptop replacement. Advances in communications technologies will require the purchase of new devices, due to the new hardware required. But, as far as the organization is concerned, as cloud-access speeds improve and as they will with advances in Wi-Fi and 5G cellular, there will be a lessened requirement for ever-more processor power and storage in the mobile device itself.