Not everybody does the same job, so why should they all have the same device? 

While this used to be the case, this approach is a thing of the past. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was presented as the initial answer but has petered out in the UK, with the exception being some of the largest corporates. Most medium to large businesses now look at user profiles and work styles before choosing the most suitable device for the various roles within their organisation. To any sensible person this makes perfect sense.

Which begs the question – why is it not working in the real world?

Firstly, instead of standardising on a single device this approach often results in standardisation on a single manufacturer. The manufacturer is chosen because it has a broad portfolio of devices, coupled with an operating system the IT department is happy to support. Entry level devices for the workers and top-of-the-range devices for executives is one way of looking at it! However, with more and more operating systems becoming disconnected from the manufacturer is the single manufacturer approach also flawed? 

Given both this challenge and current market trends, who should you buy from today? 

In the past, BlackBerry has been the all-time enterprise favourite.Click To Tweet

In the past, BlackBerry has been the all-time enterprise favourite. But last year BlackBerry decided to concentrate on the development of its software and services business and took the decision to stop manufacturing its own phones.

What about Microsoft? The Lumia range experienced massive success in the enterprise for the reasons I’ve outlined above. However, the future is uncertain with Microsoft commenting that it will continue to remain in the phone market, yet all signs point in another direction.  There are the rumours about the ultimate Surface mobile device, and the majority of the Lumia range is now end-of-life with no replacement in sight. Are the lights going out on the Lumia range?

That leaves Apple or Android.

Apple iOS and iPhones are inextricably linked. However, there are no cheap-and-cheerful iPhones, so no credible option for the worker-bees in the business. On the other hand, there’s Android, which now boasts the security features to keep IT happy and a broad enough range to ensure both users and procurement are satisfied.

There are no cheap-and-cheerful iPhones, so no credible option for the worker-bees in the businessClick To Tweet

Is there a gap in the market that can be exploited?  There is an opportunity for smaller mobile manufacturers that can produce devices with top-end features at a lower price point. Could this pave the way for a Nokia comeback? Not only does Nokia understand the business market, but one of the worst kept secrets in the mobile industry has been that Nokia will be re-entering the market this year with the next generation of Nokia phones running Android.

What makes a mobile device suitable for business anyway?

I’m not sure that there is one definitive answer. Security features? Fingerprint recognition? Long battery life? These are just features which are in demand by consumers!

It’s certainly worth exploring the predicted innovations in mobile for 2017 to identify any trends that might be appropriate for business. Curved screens, foldable screens, no headphone sockets – not sure these serve any purpose to a business. Wireless charging and dual lens cameras are probably of more use.

But in the enterprise today, the focus is more on the apps than the device itself and ensuring that employees have seamless access to the systems, business apps and collaboration tools that you are required to do their jobs.

One thing is for certain – nothing ever stands still in mobile!

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Paul Fawcett, mobility product manager, Maintel

As mobility product manager, Paul has launched many innovative products and services targeted at both businesses and consumers. These solutions comprise mobile connectivity, devices, applications, UC, converged communications, voicemail, conferencing, roaming and international calling. Paul has extensive knowledge of the UK communications market and the latest convergence and mobility trends. His role at Maintel covers all aspects of Enterprise Mobility – where he brings a unique combination of product development, project management, marketing, consultancy and operational skills that embrace all aspects of the communications industry.