Apple Gets Down to Business, But Are Businesses Ready?
Imagine the familiar Apple “Marimba” ringtone chiming out as your iPhone buzzes in a semi-circle on your desk. Only it’s not your wife, boyfriend, mom, or buddy calling … because it isn’t your personal phone. It’s your desk phone, laptop, and personal mobile work station all rolled into one.
This is the tantalizing future hinted at in the New York Times’ Bits blog on Monday in reaction to the new features built in to iOS 6, announced by Apple at this weeks’ Worldwide Developers’ Conference. With Apple’s devices (and also Android- and Windows-based consumer devices) breaking into the enterprise in a major way, it’s no surprise Apple is making a major push to make their devices compatible with the ways people work, and the systems they work within.
The biggest change is with Facetime, Apple’s video conferencing system, which Apple had previously marketed as a purely person-to-person consumer service. With Facetime now available on 3G networks, it becomes a whole lot more accessible and useful. The Times thinks this is Apple’s push back at rival Microsoft, which recently bought Skype.
“There have also been reports that Apple is beefing up its staff for voice calls over the Internet, making it a standard feature on phones and laptops that are connected to high-speed networks. That could be a blow both to voice calls on Skype and to Cisco’s substantial business in desk phones using Internet Protocol.”
Beyond the video conferencing and VOiP potential in the new iOS update, the Times reports there are more than 200 other changes to come, and many of them – like application locking, Passbook and turn-by-turn navigation – will make the iPhone much more natively useful for businesses and businesspeople.
All this points toward a continuing creep toward a super-mobile workplace. Pretty soon the term “enterprise mobility” will just be “mobility” — a table-stakes entry in to the world of business. This will, of course, put continued pressure on management to make decisions about their mobility plans, and not just think of it as a pile of phones, cost, and annoyance. It will be a major productivity driver and a huge boon — or burden — to a company’s bottom line. How they plan, prepare and execute on that plan will make all the difference in the world.
Image used under Creative Commons by Flickr user mikogo.