As well as presenting a heap of opportunities with previously unforeseen mobile capabilities, 2018 will challenge businesses in all phases of mobilization with several threats (e.g., data leakage). Here are some global expectations for the year 2018.
AI and AR Will Extend Our Mobile Boundaries
The rise of artificial intelligence didn’t even leave business mobiles untouched: it has made its way to the workplace. Its capabilities of predicting decisions in basic scenarios have already proved to be an essential addition to the arsenal of efficiency-boosting methods, and some predict it will be everywhere by 2022.
AI will only gain further ground because of its analytics capabilities in 2018, as businesses increasingly feel pressured to use their data assets. The Internet of Things (IoT) is making the data situation only more pressing. With streamlining business processes, AI can be another excellent tool for savings costs. Meanwhile, the networks are being strengthened with 5G to be able to provide the analysis and insights in the shortest possible timeframes.
We are still to see, though, in 2018, where augmented reality (AR) will lead our businesses. There are some obvious applications in the utility sector or in retail that are already taking shape, and the software part of the equation is well-covered anyway. One important thing is still lacking, though: a proper headset, that would make business put AR in practice (of course Apple and others are working hard already on solving this problem).
On the other hand, the user experience is evolving in many different ways, too. Mobile has the most significant impact of all, prompting the transformation of corporate websites to mobile-first format and progressive web apps. The voice/speaking and chat options penetrate all interfaces, making getting work tasks done and team collaboration easier – thus improving overall efficiency.
Services in the Cloud and Other Locations
In the age of ubiquitous connection, offering location-based services is one of the most promising areas of development. For enterprise mobility, it means being able to track workers everywhere, all the time, and helping them with that. Wherever a problem emerges, the office workers can have the backs of their field colleagues: think maps, blueprints, instructions, client data. All employees can save time by using geo-tagged photos and indoor navigation to products in a store or service stations in an office, as popular examples.
Similarly, selected information can be made available to clients, allowing them to see whether the maintenance worker is on the way or the sales agent is in a place where he can be available for a call. Customers in specific areas can be shown particular promotions or offered specific benefits or discounts.
Cloud services are also on the rise like never before, due to the significant service price drops and the ever-growing popularity of BYOD – smartphones flooding the workplaces. But businesses have also realized that not every type of data is worth to be trusted to the cloud, so, for security reasons, we will likely see the on-premise storages remain in place for the most business-critical information.
Security Threats in 2018
New devices, new operating systems, new (consumer) apps – they all pose a threat in the workplaces increasingly relying on BYOD (again). Security experts warn that accessing corporate data with poorly secured consumer devices and apps can be one of the most significant challenges to the IT-departments this year.
One solution to these pains can be AI itself, with its capabilities of recognizing misuse and signs of breach earlier. The protection will have to be set to prevent the data from leakage, like scanning new apps for these properties. But sometimes even that is not enough, like in the case of phishing and other elaborate methods of hacker trickery, against which further training of employees can be a viable solution.
Surprisingly, ransomware is not at all that common of a threat than one would imagine – most breaches we hear about happen on desktops instead. Mostly because app stores do a proper job screening new applications and enterprise apps apparently don’t contain malware, and those are the ways people get their software. On desktops, it is easier for hackers to hide a malicious piece of code and cause significant trouble.
All that doesn’t mean, though, that businesses don’t have to be alert to such options on mobiles. The continuous evolvement of malware (especially ransomware) techniques makes them a real threat if once an efficient way of installing them on mobiles is found.