The winter that won’t quite end hasn’t stopped the telecommunications and IT industries from making news and generating interesting commentary. Here are some highlights from this week:
Computerworld reports on research from IDC that may have caught an incipient trend. The firm says that while innovation in smartphones is slowing down, the devices may be finding a new role as the controller or hub for home networks and linked platforms such as wearable devices and automobiles.
The connectivity itself generally will be provided by Bluetooth. The story, and presumably the study, says that the salesmanship has begun as the truly innovative phase of smartphone development fades:
While this slowdown in innovation has been widely recognized, marketers for smartphone vendors still trumpet their devices’ new features at large-scale events where the latest products are unveiled amid hype that overstates the new capabilities.
It makes sense. The Internet of Things (IoT) provides so many new endpoints that what in essence is an electronic quarterback is needed. The smartphone seems like a good candidate.
Cisco in the Clouds
Cisco makes a lot of its money providing service providers and enterprises with networking equipment. That’s a problem when more potential customers are using cloud approaches that cut down on the amount of gear that companies install. The answer is simple: Get into the cloud game.
Reuters and other sites report this week that Cisco says it will invest $1 billion this year and next to build a cloud business. Cisco Cloud Services will attack the market in partnership with Ingram Micro and Wipro.
A Win for BlackBerry
Even in its darkest days, BlackBerry could always rely on its enterprise management security bona fides to give it some hope. That lifeline was evident again this week as the vendor’s BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) was certified as Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 compliant.
The story at NewsFactor does a nice job of describing what this means. The bottom line is that despite all its travails, organizations that need the most bullet-proof mobile security still should consider BlackBerry:
FIPS validation is widely considered a critical benchmark in government security circles. It assures federal workers that encryption technologies have passed demanding testing so it can be used to secure and encrypt sensitive information. Specifically, the certification allows security-minded organizations, including government bodies in the U.S. and Canada, to deploy Secure Work Space to separate personal data from sensitive corporate content.
An analyst quoted in the story confirms that the certification gives BlackBerry a leg up on Android and iOS with governmental prospects.
Flurry’s Simon Khalaf argues that Microsoft may be on to something good with Office for iPad, which was introduced this week. The idea is that the company that made its name in productivity software may be reborn on new devices:
In fact, it can define Microsoft and its newly appointed CEO’s tenure in the post-PC world. In a new analysis we conducted between the months of January and March 2014 we found that the average US consumer spends 119% more time in productivity apps than they did over the same period a year ago. This includes time spent in apps on iOS and Android devices, both tablets and phones. This growth rate eclipsed all other categories including Messaging, Games and News.
Khalaf did acknowledge that the raw numbers supporting that percentage growth are low. But the bottom line is that things can get hot in a hurry. If the next big thing is productivity apps for mobile devices, Microsoft for the first time in decades may be in the right place at the right time.
The Trend Continues: More Devices, Fewer Traditional PCs
And, finally, comes an item that also is a reminder that because something is expected doesn’t mean that it is not important to report it. The bottom line of a Gartner report released this week follows the common wisdom: Overall worldwide sales of “traditional PC, tablet, ultramobile and mobile phones” will rise 6.9 percent this year.
It also is common wisdom that ”traditional” PC shipments will continue to shrink. The traditional PC sector sold 296.1 million units last year. That number declined to 276.7 million this year and will only reach 263 million in 2015.
The total unit sales of 2.5 billion units (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) is a 6.9 percent increase over last year. In 2013, 4.8 percent more units shipped than in 2012. Next year, more than 2.6 billion units are expected to ship.