March 16th, 2012

Mobile World Congress: It’s All App-ening!

Layer 7 at Mobile World CongressMobile World Congress 2012, which took place in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, attracted over 60,000 attendees from across the planet. Proving just how pervasive mobile technology has become, the keynote speakers included not just telecom leaders but also senior executives from Best Buy, eBay, Facebook, Ford, Google and Visa. Oh and Layer 7 was there too, of course!

Here are some takeaways from the conference:

  • It’s all about apps… – The hottest exhibition hall at MWC was the “App Planet”, which was primarily populated by app development companies. It’s clear that mobile apps are the draw when it comes to this era of mobile dominance we are entering and this hall emphasized that point clearly and gave a view into the future.
  • …and APIs – App Planet also had a lot of API enablers, such as Neustar, on display. Also, three of the keynote speakers — China Mobile, AT&T and Ford — all emphasized the importance of using APIs as a foundation for their mobile strategies. With apps driving mobile adoption, it’s evident that APIs are a fundamental enabler.
  • Increasing focus on enterprise – Although much of the focus in the app space was on the consumer market, there is a marked increase in enterprise options. Vendors like Roambi were showcasing their business apps and a number of exhibitors were emphasizing solutions for mobile device management and mobile identity.

All these trends and issues are discussed in Layer 7’s new white paper Secure Mobile Access for Enterprise Employees. The white paper explores how enterprises can use APIs to open internal information assets to mobile developers, to enable the creation of mission-critical apps that maximize employee productivity and availability.

I look forward to following up with all of the people I met in Barcelona and to injecting the lessons I learned into our product suite.

Download the white paper: Secure Mobile Access for Enterprise Employees.

February 6th, 2012

Bring Your Own Device? Bring It On!

iPad at Work With the popularity of iPads, iPhones and Android devices in the consumer world, employees are not waiting for IT departments to let them use their own mobile devices for work: they are using them en masse. A recent study showed that 67% of North American iPad owners are using their iPads at work and the numbers are similarly high around the globe. This “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement is forcing IT leaders to rethink their technology introduction processes, according to this recent InfoWorld article.

There is more at stake for these IT leaders than just making their colleagues happy. There are big opportunities to reduce cost and improve productivity for companies that embrace BYOD. As Nathan Clevenger describes in his fantastic book, iPad in the Enterprise, companies can gain these benefits rapidly by creating a mobile-friendly enterprise service layer to integrate with mobile apps. Still, there are obstacles.  The biggest concern in allowing personal devices on the enterprise network is, of course, security. In the managed desktop paradigm, workstations could be locked down and managed centrally by the IT organization but this corporate ownership model won’t work for BYOD environments, as users will not be willing to live with the risk of having Angry Birds deleted without their consent.

Fortunately, there is a new class of solution — Enterprise API Management — that allows secure BYOD mobile access to existing enterprise services. Please join my webinar this week where we will explore this topic in more detail.