The festive period is over for another year, and the results are in. As retailers up and down the country release their Christmas trading figures, few will be surprised to learn that the consumer technology industry was a big winner.
Google has confirmed that 3.7 million Android devices were activated over the Christmas weekend. Likewise, analytics firm Flurry has announced that weekly app downloads passed one billion for the first time in the last week of December. Nearly seven million Android devices and iPhones were estimated to have been activated on Christmas Day alone.
Meanwhile, John Lewis credited some of its ‘outstanding' Christmas performance on strong sales of iPads and Kindles. Research from NPD DisplaySearch has found that tablet sales grew 256 per cent in 2011. Samsung has posted record profits as well, no doubt driven by its new position as the world's leading smartphone manufacturer.
The rise in mobile devices continues, and even after the Christmas chaos dies down I believe there will remain strong opportunities around such devices for the channel.
Purchases of the latest tablets and smartphones will translate directly into a rush of fresh demands for the devices to be connected to corporate and education networks.
For a company, implementing a ‘bring-your-own-device' scheme does more than simply give employees more choice. There is a business case for embracing this practice, because staff can work remotely or out of hours, increasing flexibility and productivity while potentially saving money.
Robust and enforceable policies are essential, though, to protect corporate information and other assets accessed using a personal device. Security, cost of implementation and disruption during deployment remain major concerns for businesses.
Businesses must cost-effectively secure employee devices as well as protect the applications and data they access, allowing both parties to enjoy the benefits of mobile working in a safe and managed environment.
In education, for example, networks need to cope with a huge annual influx (and removal) of users and devices. They must also deal with specific and changeable security regulations, which, in the case of schools, are handed down from government.
Cost-effectiveness is of course important, but in education there are also some more unusual stipulations, such as variable bandwidth to ensure that students who require the most network access can get it.
These capabilities can prove equally valuable to companies that must adapt to changing legislation and business activities.
Ian Jackson is co-founder and managing director of Imerja
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