2020 Vision: The Coming Decade of Mobility

As 2020 and a new decade begins, businesses and public sector organizations are set to continue expanding their use of mobile technology. In the previous decade, the emergence of mobile smartphones and the development of mobile business applications came of age. For this next decade, a focus for mobile technology will be on the exponential growth of IoT connected devices and 5G service.

Society’s penchant for mobility continues to grow and so the number of devices, services, and applications available on the market is expanding to meet this demand. By 2025, in fact, nearly 6 billion people worldwide will be connected to mobile services, up from 5 billion in 2017. That means that within the next five years, 71% of the world’s population will be using mobile services, according to GSMA.

The use of the Internet of Things (IoT)-connected devices is expanding even more rapidly and expected to reach a total of 25 billion devices within the next three years, GSMA reports. At that point, the number of business-related connected devices will effectively exceed the number of consumer-related devices in use worldwide.

Here are five more enterprise mobility trends that all organizations should be aware of over the next decade:

  • Android continues its steady march into the enterprise. Having evolved into the “platform of choice” for many enterprises that utilize mobile solutions, Android offers various choices in rugged and consumer-grade devices that are available from manufacturers like Panasonic. As a result, rugged mobile computing OEMs, like Panasonic, are now offering extended support for rugged devices chosen in the Android space, guaranteeing the enterprise a three- to five-year support timeline for the device and Android OS chosen. Key benefits of Android for enterprise include reliable security, easy app installation, and simplified mobile device management (MDM).
  • Wider adoption of 5G. As the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity, 5G promises faster, more reliable connections than its predecessors offered. Today’s 5G available services will primarily benefit consumers for video streaming. For businesses and other large organizations, broader 5G service and technologies still need to be implemented on a national and global level which will occur over the next few years. Where 5G is available today, those businesses with IoT applications that require low latency or high-speed data transfer applications such as video streaming will benefit the most.
  • More sophisticated mobile devices. As 5G, IoT, and other advanced technologies continue to gain traction in the mobility space, the devices themselves are becoming more sophisticated, robust, and capable. In a recent webcast, Ventana highlighted some of the key game-changers that are either already in the works or coming soon. They include gestures and camera-based input (thermal imaging or RealSense™ technology) that make it even easier and faster to engage with business applications. Also gaining traction are biometrics—from facial recognition to fingerprints—that enable better device, data, and enterprise security, and high-quality device cameras that employees use to capture and share photos and videos in the business environment. And, in field-based business operations, wearable devices and hands-free remote assistance help experts monitor environmental conditions in the name of improving worker safety.
  • Bigger mobile security threats lurking around the corner. Cyber threats aren’t just limited to cities that fall prey to ransomware attacks or large organizations whose data gets hacked. Increasingly, we’re seeing cyber attacks targeting IoT-enabled and other mobile devices. “We’ve witnessed a steady rise in malware attacks on Android, but I believe 2020 will see an increase in the number and severity of those threats,” TechRepublic’s Jack Wallen writes. Since Panasonic’s mobile devices represent the critical endpoints of our customers’ networks, we are constantly working to strengthen their security by incorporating advanced protocols and integrating multiple levels of security features.

To combat the increased malware attacks, over the last few years Android has been improving its OS security and providing regular security updates and patches. Most of the Android OS security patches come out more quickly than those of other operating systems. According to Steve Sikorski, our Panasonic Product Manager for Android devices, “Developers are technically testing the Android OS daily, which means any flaws or security issues are detected quickly. Vendors like Panasonic must react quickly when the subsequent patches are sent out. The plethora of devices creates enough ‘test’ conditions so that almost nothing really can slip through the cracks.” And for the strongest in security: enterprise-provided devices can leverage the Android Enterprise platform residing in the cloud. The devices are recognized as being part of an organization’s hardware, can be locked-down or set to only run the identified owner’s set of applications and configuration.

Bracing for a New Decade

As technology continues to advance, and as the world’s workforce becomes increasingly reliant on mobile devices, expect to see even more mobile devices being deployed in organizations across all industries. As this occurs, we’ll likely see growing adoption of the Android platform as a replacement for the end-of-life Windows mobile platforms, and increased attention being paid to cybersecurity as it relates to mobile devices.

At Panasonic, we continue to develop and hone our approach to mobility while also supporting deployments with the professional services and field engineering support that companies need to keep their devices operating and online 24/7/365. Whether it’s a forklift driver who relies on a rugged TOUGHBOOK tablet to manage and track inventory, a law enforcement professional who is using a TOUGHBOOK laptop in his cruiser, or a military officer using an Android OS-based handheld for getting situational awareness and team coordination in the field, these and other mobile workers need technology that reliably delivers on a daily basis, and that’s well braced to face the challenges of the new decade.

For more on the latest in mobile and other technology innovations, tune in to our Panasonic Podcast, Rugged Rants.