Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where Has Microsoft Mobility Gone - Here?

Several years ago when I was up to my neck in mobile application development projects, the only mobile operating systems referred to were Windows Mobile, Windows CE, along with a few reminiscent comments about Palm OS.  Today, the mobility world is a completely different place but perhaps not as different as you may think.

The world of Windows Mobile and Windows CE still exists.  In fact the industrial and ruggedized mobility environments are strong and completely dominated by Microsoft operating systems.  This may surprise folks who are relatively new to mobility and may have thought enterprise mobility is limited to the smartphone.  The ironic thing is that Microsoft was primarily focused on the consumer device market but accidentally found themselves dominating the markets for ruggedized and industrial grade mobile devices. 

SAP mobility partners like Leapfactor, RIM, and Vivido Labs are mobilizing SAP primarily for the users of smartphones such as iPhones, Blackberrys, and those using the Android operating systems, but just because they are making the headlines does not mean there isn't a substantial and growing market for rugged and industrial mobile devices using Microsoft Mobile.

A few weeks ago I spoke to Andy Sivell, a project manager for SAP mobility partner Sky Technologies, about a large mobility project he is working on for a water utility in Australia with many hundreds of mobile application users.  The rugged devices being used are Motorola MC75s, all with Windows Mobile operating systems.   The mobile applications they support are:
  • Enterprise asset management
  • Mobile work order dispatch
  • Field services
  • Parts and equipment consumption
  • Maintenance
  • Job costing/time tracking
  • Mobile resource management applications
It is easy to forget, with all the buzz around iPhones, iPads, Android and BlackBerrys, that there is another large and growing market for industrial grade mobility applications using Microsoft OSs.

Kevin Benedict
Author of the report Enterprise Mobile Data Solutions, 2009
Mobile Strategy Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert
twitter: http://twitter.com/krbenedict

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.