Five takeaways for CIOs from this year's MWC

A broad range of companies at Mobile World Congress this week have teamed up to improve smartphone security and offer better software integration for Internet-of-things deployments.

The conference in Barcelona covered a wide range of topics, but for enterprises the most important issues were IoT and how enterprise resources can be made available on smartphones without sacrificing security.

Here are some of the trends and announcements from this year that will have an impact on enterprise mobility:

IoT can be more tightly integrated with business processes

To make data from connected sensors more useful, IoT platform vendors are joining forces with software companies to open the door for better integration.

Jasper teamed with Salesforce as well as SAP. The goal in both cases is to make it easier to deploy and manage IoT services. For example, the Jasper Control Center platform, which automates management, will be integrated with SAP’s Hana platform.

Android is becoming more enterprise-friendly

Google’s announcement of Android for Work the week before Mobile World Congress was hardly a coincidence. The timing let the company’s partners, including AirWatch, demonstrate their compatible management tools and products in Barcelona. Android for Work—which separates business apps from personal apps—is a big step in Google’s effort to dispel notions that its OS isn’t safe enough for enterprise users.

Time to start thinking about wearables

In a sign of things to come, enterprise mobility management vendor Good Technology announced that it now supports Android Wear. For example, a smartwatch running the OS can be used to unlock access to smartphone applications, according to Good. As wearables become more popular, IT managers will have to start looking at what opportunities and challenges they present.

More super-secure devices are on the way

Swiss company Silent Circle announced a new smartphone and tablet along with enterprise messaging software. The BlackPhone 2 smartphone will go on sale in June with a similar price to its predecessor, the BlackPhone, which costs US$629. The specification includes a 5.5-inch screen and an octa-core processor.

The Blackphone+ tablet will arrive during the second half of the year. Beyond a 7-inch screen, not much has yet been reveled about its specification. The Swiss company also said it’s working on an encrypted, peer-to-peer email system.

The more established vendors are also taking steps to lock down their smartpones. Samsung has extended the company’s partnership with BlackBerry to include technology from its subsidiary Secusmart. The resulting SecuSuite for Samsung Knox—for encrypting voice, text and data traffic—will be available later this year.

Affordable smartphones aren’t just for consumers

Mid-range smartphones have become much more capable in just the last year, with octa-core processors, 5-inch screens and LTE becoming standard features. So, any responsible CIO needs to seriously consider Android-based smartphones that cost around $300 unlocked, instead of devices that are twice as expensive or more.

Microsoft also wants a piece of the action, as it hopes to increase Windows Phone and later Windows 10 market share. It launched the Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640XL phones at the conference. The company is also working with AT&T in the U.S. on the Mobile Office Suite to bundle smartphones, Office 365 and wireless plans for small and medium-size enterprises.

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