This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
Bring your own device is a manifestation of the consumerization of IT. But the consumer market is fundamentally different from the enterprise IT market, and there are limits on how far consumerization of IT can go. This means limits on which devices and applications are supported or supplanted, and the degree of support that the IT department provides.
Currently, the consumer mobile platform (smartphones and tablets) market is pretty much a two horse race, between iOS and Android and, according to IDC (News - Alert), Android out-shipped iOS by a factor of four in the second quarter of 2012. The IT landscape is very different; it is a two-, three- or four-horse race depending on your perspective, with BlackBerry OS and Windows as the additional contenders, each at a different stage of expiration and (maybe) revitalization.
IT departments are more interested in installed base than in new sales, since it is the installed base that they have to support. That means BlackBerry and iOS mainly, with Android (News - Alert) coming up fast. This presents a problem. BlackBerry OS has always been enterprise-friendly – relatively secure and manageable. iOS didn't start that way, but it has made great strides, and is now sufficiently secure and manageable to be enterprise-friendly. It is particularly appealing to IT departments because there are so few models to support, and thanks to Apple's (News - Alert) iron grip on the app ecosystem, it is agreeably free of malware.
Android, on the other hand, looks like an impending disaster. There are countless models of Android devices, with a range of hardware capabilities; there is a thriving malware community, and manageability, like so much else Android, is a work in progress.
The free market is behaving as it is supposed to, with dozens of mobility manageability and security solutions from startups and established companies of all sizes competing to the point of confusion. Fortunately for IT departments, Samsung, the leading manufacturer of Android devices, is alert to this issue, and at the beginning of 2012 it launched an initiative called SAFE (Samsung Approved for Enterprise). IT departments don't need a profile for each Samsung device; one SAFE profile will cover them all.
That's the good news. The bad news is that so far only a few Samsung models are SAFE-certified, so the "will" in that previous sentence is strictly future tense.
Also in the future is the likelihood that Google (News - Alert) will continue to improve Android’s enterprise security and manageability the way Apple did with iOS. Some of this could come from the 3LM codebase that came with Motorola Mobility.
Michael Stanford has been an entrepreneur and strategist in VoIP for more than a decade. (Visit his blog at www.wirevolution.com.)
Edited by Braden Becker