The switch to Mobile has already happened

posted 17 Jun 2013, 04:02 by Bill Russell   [ updated 18 Jun 2013, 03:35 ]
One of the intriguing recent trends in IT is the rapid shift to mobile devices.  While this has been gradually happening for over 6 years, the acceleration in the last 12-months has been surprising and a quick look as some of the numbers is revealing.

In many ways Apple lead the switch to mobile with the introduction of the iPhone in June 2007 and the iPad in April 2010 - yes only 3 years ago. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad he coined the phrase the post-pc era. Meaning that the iPad heralded a new era and it looks like he was right.  What has surprised many commentators is the recent rapid drop in PC sales.  Sales dropped for the first time ever in Q4 2012 by 0.5%, then tanked in Q1 2013 with a massive 14% drop.  As this fall coincided with the release of Windows 8, many put the blame at Microsoft's feet, but I feel that is too easy an answer and it is really technology and economic factors, combining with consumer market demand for simpler access to information, that has caused this major shift. For some brands such as Dell and HP the drop has been more dramatic with HP worst hit with a 24% drop in sales.  Lenovo had flat sales, but were the least effected.

While Apple and Samsung had made great gains in the mobile consumer space, Windows still reigns in business IT.  However, this position is seriously threatened with cloud services starting to provide what was once core windows services, such as email, calender and office suite services.  These all can now be sourced as cloud apps with significant savings in licencing and capital costs and all you need is a web browser to access.  Companies such as NZ Post and Fairfax media have shifted their entire organisations to Google Apps and have seen significant cost savings - NZ Post claim $2,000,000 savings.

Looking at PC versus smart phone and tablet worldwide sales numbers, puts this shift  sharply in perspective. 

Smart phones and tablets have to be considered as micro-computers.  They rival desktop PCs from just a few years ago in power. So if we  consider them as part of the total computing devices market, we see that PCs have had a significant drop from 33% of the market in 2012 to just 22% in 2013. This is due to the combined effect of a sharp drop in PC shipments and a significant rise in Smart Phone and Tablet sales.

Considering that Windows computers had a 95% grip on the computing market, when the iPhone was released just 6 years ago, this is an incredible shift. The concern for Microsoft is their rapidly shrinking share of a rapidly growing market. 

So what are Microsoft doing? Windows 8 is an ambitious attempt by Microsoft to get on board with this trend and have one platform for phone, tablet, Xbox and PC. It is a good attempt, but burdens a tablet with the overhead of a desktop operating system. A 32GB Windows 8 Pro tablet uses more than 20GB for the operating system leaving very little storage for apps, photos, music etc, and compares poorly with a 16GB iPad or Android tablet, that has more storage free for the users content. As a consequence uptake of Windows 8 had been much less than expected.

So how can your business use this new technology to improve your processes at a reduced cost?  

One way is to use tablets with 3G or 4G capability to quickly and inexpensively put information in the hands of employees where they work.  Tablets can be location-aware, so job scheduling, tracking, inspections and other tasks can take advantage of GPS to record, when and where jobs take place.  The in-built cameras can record job status, touch can capture signatures, sketches and other notes and internet access can synchronise data with servers and deliver e-invoices to the client in real-time via email. The ability of tablets to transform, simplify and  make business processes immediate is just starting to be tapped. 

There are an emerging range of cloud based services, that create smart data capture forms at very reasonable subscription costs. Choosing the best devices and apps for your business is difficult. iPads offer the easiest method of entry and apps to collect data start from less than $3.00.  So for under $500 an employee can start to collect job data in real time. CloudG6 can help you to define a mobile strategy for your business and identify solutions that will improve productivity and save you money.  We can make this happen in just a few days, not weeks or months.

Contact us now. Contact CloudG6