The Enterprise Mobility Exchange (EME) publishes a lot of content geared at enterprise mobility (shocker, right?). But, one of the things I’ve found in being a long-time subscriber is that its writing is rather stilted. It reads much like an academic journal article in which there are great ideas being presented, but it’s being relayed by someone who doesn’t know how to write for a lay audience.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re not entirely a lay audience; but, you also are probably not a computer science PhD either.

Why the exposé on the EME you might be asking yourself?

It just released its forecast for 2016, and there are a ton of great nuggets for your enterprise therein. But, we thought it could use a bit of a translator to both identify the larger highlights worth mentioning, as well as put some of it in more approachable language. Not because you’re not smart enough to read it for yourself, but rather because, well, it can be a bit boring.

How digital transformation can grow your business?

Basically, we read the report so you don’t have to.

So, here’s our highlights:

First off, next generation mobile apps are becoming more intelligent, specifically with regards to integration and contextual information. Quoting the EME report: “Mobile applications will be designed to interact more fluidly with other applications and respond dynamically to the surrounding environmental data.”

Mobile development has been moving in this direction for a while, with geofencing, beacons, etc. becoming more prevalent throughout modern life. We agree with the EME that this trend will continue to pick up pace next year.

What will this look like from a use case perspective?

  • Seamless integration of workflows and applications across multiple channels
  • Autonomous interaction of field workers and their mobile solutions with surrounding assets to adapt their workflow from reactive data collection to interactive analysis
  • Ability to react more intuitively in customer or asset facing interactions enabled by smart alerts and prompts being pushed to mobile workers based on environmental intelligence
  • Greater levels of personalized services and interactions based on customer preferences and contextualized environmental intelligence


As the contextualization of mobile digital data accelerates, these leading mobile business units will see an even more rapid and broad deployment of custom mobile solutions:

Development moves to the cloud

The widescale exodus from on site, wholly owned computing hardware to the cloud has fundamentally changed IT and the industries which service it. According to the EME, a “wide variety of traditionally asset-heavy industries have already been disrupted through the utilization of cloud technology alongside the increased prevalence of mobile computing.”

The EME continues, offering some prophetic conclusions about how the cloud will further influence workflows of the future:

In our view, cloud computing’s value is not solely related to the efficiency and cost gains offered by having hardware and software in the Cloud versus ownership on-premise, but increasingly its value proposition extends further by offering users the ability to quickly launch new applications while being able to then dynamically change aspects of the service as the business demands.

Ruggedized devices still matter, but will undergo a massive change in the not-too-distant future

The EME’s final conclusion worth mentioning comes from the world of field services and logistics. Any organization that relies on handheld, ruggedized devices would probably agree those devices aren’t going anywhere any time soon (think delivery personnel, warehouse workers, inventory trackers, etc.). But, the “dominant OS – Windows CE and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 – supporting these devices reached the end of its meaningful life at the beginning of 2015 and will reach the end of its service life (meaning no more security patch updates) by 2020. With applications lacking forward migration ability to any platform, countless enterprises are on the hook to recode and modernize these legacy workhorses.”

Where, then, will enterprises turn when these OS’s reach the conclusion of their meaningful lives?

Conventional wisdom holds enterprises could migrate to Android, Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1, iOS or eventually Windows 10. Organizations are continuing to support legacy customers, but most have or are focusing their R&D budgets toward next generation applications. And, according to the EME, “Momentum leading into 2016 is behind Android representing the next generation platform for ruggedized handheld devices with the window of opportunity for next generation Windows platforms rapidly closing.”