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The statistics don’t lie: 2013 was the year of mobile. More than two billion mobile devices were shipped globally last year. The number of mobile phones now matches the world’s population, and mobile devices overtook PCs both in units sold and as the most common means for accessing the Web. Global mobile traffic now accounts for 15 percent of all internet traffic. The PC isn’t dead but has lost significant ground, particularly in the consumer market. IDC released data last month that found PC shipments worldwide fell 10 percent in 2013, the most severe yearly contraction on record. PCs in the enterprise haven’t yet declined as much, perhaps mostly because organizations are extending the life of desktop infrastructure. When it’s time to reconsider desktop investments, expect many enterprises to conclude that a personal computer is no longer required for the entire employee base.
Indeed, the mobility theme is not just a consumer phenomenon. People now spend more time on the Internet via apps than through their PC-based browser. The predominant form of enterprise interaction with employees and customers now occurs through mobile connections. For example, 88 percent of employees bring their own device to work, meaning they may receive company emails over their personal phones and download corporate data onto them. Ninety-five percent of information workers use self-purchased technology like iPhones and tablets to do business – make sales calls, give presentations at conferences, collaborate with global offices, or field orders from the road. And, in a convergence of important trends, enterprises are building and deploying apps in the Cloud, facilitating mobile access for both employees and customers.
The enterprise mobility shift is not without challenges. Not only are employees bringing their own devices, but they are bringing their own apps (or BYOA), which could potentially serve as a vector for malware. Trend Micro predicts that the number of mobile malware apps will reach one million by end of 2013, while more than 50 percent of workers view it as their “right” to use their own mobile devices at work. So while there’s no turning back on consumer devices and apps in the workplace, the security concerns are obvious and require new approaches to ensure compliance and prevent breaches.
As smartphone adoption accelerates and media consumption grows exponentially, opportunities abound for creative entrepreneurs. Consider:
-Mobile data usage is expected to grow 12X by 2018
-Mobile ad spending is expected to reach $18B in 2014 and grow to $41.9B by 2017
-Sixty-eight percent of IT and IT security professionals said their mobile devices had been targeted by malware in the last 12 months
-Worldwide PC shipments declined for the seventh consecutive quarter in Q4 2013
As an enterprise IT focused venture firm, Ascent has prioritized the identification of compelling mobile investments. We believe the enterprise mobility transformation has just begun and anticipate the development of numerous compelling markets on this theme. Accordingly, we’ve hosted events that specifically tackle app development, management, and security in the enterprise. The investment opportunities in this area will proliferate as emerging companies pioneer new approaches to enterprise mobility.