Always Look On The Bright Side Of Enterprise Mobile Data
By Mike Masnick, Fri Oct 08 20:45:00 GMT 2004

The trade publications are filled with stories about slow deployments for mobile enterprise data and how security fears are holding companies back. Is the industry ignoring all the good news?

It's the nature of the wireless industry to always be looking for the next big thing. The excitement is rarely in what's already been done, but in what's coming next. However, this may be leading to a depressing outlook in the industry, where companies are missing out on all the good news. From stories about slow Wi-Fi adoption in the enterprise (both at the office and out at hotspots) to worries about security to slow investment in mobile applications, you would be forgiven for thinking the enterprise mobile data industry has been one huge failure.

The problem is that the industry may be expecting too much, too soon, with many new enterprise mobile initiatives. It's the classic industry problem. After overhyping and undelivering the next big thing, we get inundated with stories of backlash and "mobile technology x is dead." However, it always seems like that's the point at which the technology really catches on. Remember how WAP was dead before it wasn't? There are some people who are still trying to claim Bluetooth is dead, despite its continuing rapid pace of growth. 3G has been declared dead more times than Mark Twain.

With that background, perhaps it's good to see such pessimism surrounding enterprise mobile data. It could mean hype and the pressure will go away, allowing mobile enterprise data offerings to grow at a natural, sustainable rate. However, it could also mean missed opportunities. As the post above from the Mobile Enterprise Weblog notes, the sheer number of mobile phone users is tremendous, while companies like RIM have been having continuing success getting devices into the hands of enterprise users. However, by only focusing on future uses, the industry may be missing out on learning the real lessons concerning what's successful right now, and what users really want. Too often, the industry seems focused on inventing the next great killer app in a vacuum, rather than letting it happen naturally. This pessimism over enterprise data is a symptom of that same problem.