2013 has every possibility of becoming the year of the mobile device. Even since the beginning of 2012, uptake of BYOD, enterprise mobility and more carefully constructed mobile device management solutions have begun to permeate IT with aggressive persistence. For the first time, tablets are forecast to outsell laptops by year end.
It's all going swimmingly for those companies who don't hold the tightest of tight security at their hearts, but banks and public sector organisations are still extremely nervous to dip their toe in these unknown waters. In 2013, then, we should hopefully see some kind of breakthrough in MDM that allows a more widespread use of BYOD and freedom from the shackles of desktop endpoints.
Microsoft will obviously be hoping Windows 8 starts to make serious inroads into enterprise mobility after its Surface Pro tablet launches in January. Microsoft will need this hybrid tablet, which seems the real showcase for the company's Modern UI interface, to catch the imagination of business users if it is to have any hope of making a big splash in a BYOD ecosystem that is currently ruled by Apple and Android.
But as apps developers flee the nest early, as Google has done with Gmail and Google Apps, it's currently looking dicey for Windows in 2013. Still, as third-party developers continue to introduce innovative spins on the Surface formula - Lenovo and HP with particularly interesting enterprise hybrid solutions - Windows 8 could conceivably receive the push it needs from outside Microsoft's own hardware division.
Apple, meanwhile, will have to come up with some genuine innovations in 2013 if it is to maintain its share of the smartphone and tablet markets.
Computing's money is on the late arrival of NFC (near-field communication). The appearance of the rather redundant Passbook software in iOS 6, as well as leaked prototype photos, suggested NFC was supposed to feature in the stupidly underfeatured iPhone 5, but was pulled at somewhere approaching the last minute.
If the iPhone 6 is packing such heat, Apple could once again leave the opposition for dust. Airline tickets, bus passes, credit cards and money itself could all be swallowed up within the Apple brand before its rivals have a chance to retaliate. Apple won't need patents to maintain its grip this time; it'll be able to use brand contracts and complex webs of customer loyalty to tether users to its ecosystem.
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