We had a great turnout for our Mobile Cluster Roundtbale this morning at Microsoft NERD. Our moderator, Hyoun Park, Research Analyst, Collaboration and Intergared Communication at Aberdeen Group led a very interactive session. Click Here for Hyoun's presentation. Our panel of experts included Joshua Robin, Director of Innovation and Special Projects at the MBTA; Minerva Tantoco, Executive Director at UBS; and Andrew Yu, CEO of Modo Labs.
Perhaps the most unique mobile strategy belongs to the MBTA. The agency doesn't have the resources to keep up with the technology, so they've gone the route of opening their data for local and national developers to create apps based on their own, such as the T-on-Time, a mobile app for the commuter rail that provides real-time locations, a timer and a map for users. According to Josh, the MBTA's goal is to make the T ubiquitous and the way they do that is for riders to "Bring their own infrastructure". In the coming months or year, they hope to begin to integrate mobile payments as a way to bring both more customer satisfaction and also a way to decrease costs for the MBTA.
Minerva gave insights into how financial services firms begin the process of identifying their strategies and some of the challenges they are currently facing. For instance, does the customer demand and satisfaction outweigh the costs of development and management? Presently, mobile adoption is happening primarily within departments that are customer facing and therefore affecting profit. Also, she sees that enterprise will continue to make several smaller investments into their mobile strategies, versus large scale investments. And most mobile adoption within the enterprise is focused on the departments that are consumer facing.
Andrew believes that adoption of mobile within the enterprise is just beginning to scratch the surface and there is a great deal of opportunity to come. When discussing his healthcare clients, he describes how they are just starting to work with mobile in very simple ways, such as a patient having the ability to navigate to their doctor's office or around the hospital. In about a year, he predicts hospitals will begin to provide medical content on mobile devices, ultimately replacing pamphlets. A more difficult challenge healthcare providers will need to offer is searching for a doctor and the ability to make appointment through mobile devices. This not only poses a security problem, but a UI issue. Likely the last mobile offering from a healthcare provider will deal with personal health information and transactions, but again, they will eventually get there.
The discussion became more technical towards the 2nd half of the roundtable as the panel fielded questions surrounding native versus HTML5 and what trends they see. All in all, we saw that ultimately developing a hybrid approach would be the future for enterprise. The panel also felt that as web applications evolve, the biggest divide would not be a platform issue, but the ability for content to be produced at the rate that consumers want it.
To summarize from today's panel, there is no doubt that mobile for the enterprise will continue to evolve and as it does there is tremendous opportunity.