·January 4, 2019

6 mobile work trends for 2019

At the beginning of the new year, it is high time to look ahead to what awaits us in 2019. What developments in mobile work are not to be missed? And what to do with that as a company?

Just under a year ago, we discussed 8 trends that would be booming in 2018. In recent months, we have seen, among other things, further integration of AI, smarter virtual assistants, the rise of the “as-a-service” model for devices and an increase in the use of business devices for private purposes.

In addition, we predicted in early 2018 that Windows 10 adoption would take off. Microsoft’s latest OS has indeed grown considerably in popularity – now running on 700 million devices worldwide – but Windows 7 still has a larger market share.

#1 Zero-touch deployment

Still, Windows 10 will soon take the lead. This is partly because Microsoft is discontinuing free security updates for Windows 7 in January 2020. Companies are more or less forced to switch. On the other hand, more and more organizations are discovering the possibilities Windows 10 offers in terms of security, features and zero-touch deployment, says Pieter Schouten, IT Workplace Consultant at HP.

‘Making it easier for organizations to modernize their IT’

The latter refers to AutoPilot, a collection of (security) technologies that allows systems to be made ready for use remotely. Previously, companies or their service providers had to install and prepare new systems manually and one by one. Now that can be done via the cloud, and end users can do the installation of their new Windows 10 device almost entirely without guidance.

‘AutoPilot works with MDM solutions and automatically installs settings, drivers, policies and software. A user need only unpack their new device and log into the corporate network. Then all applications (such as Office 365) are prepared. In 2019, more and more Windows 10 systems will be made ready for use this way. That saves time, costs and makes it easier for organizations to modernize their IT.

#2 Built-in security features

Figures from market researcher IDC show that SMBs will spend more on their IT in 2019. Next year, costs rise 4.6 percent to a total of $630 billion. ‘This can be explained by the fact that IT is increasingly becoming part of business processes. Physical work processes are being digitized and society is now geared to this. In addition, more and more SMBs are purchasing IT as a service, so-called SaaS and DaaS, with the advantage of being able to scale up and down quickly.’

For now, 80 percent of IT costs are incurred after the hardware is purchased. For example, to repair the damage after a hacking or malware attack. That cost is expected to decrease in the coming years as more manufacturers add built-in, multilayered security to their products.

‘HP and security’
HP equips its latest generation of notebooks with the Endpoint Security Controller, a separate chip that checks for changes in the system’s code even when the device is off. It is the trusted hardware component behind Sure Start, a technology that detects both before and after booting whether hacking tools are trying to tamper with the BIOS. If that is the case, then the BIOS can repair itself.
Another built-in security feature that uses the Endpoint Security Controller is Sure Run. It gives the operating system self-healing capabilities and protects essential security processes (such as the firewall and antivirus software) from malware. Users are alerted about any changes, and processes are automatically restarted if malware tries to disable them.

No unnecessary luxury, Schouten believes. ‘As many as 70 percent of all data breaches and cyberattacks occur via an endpoint, such as a laptop or smartphone. Devices we use every day, even outside the office. Securing them is extra important. With current regulations, every organization must have something in-place to monitor threats and – when necessary – take appropriate action.’

According to Henk-Jan Buist of technology website Computerworld, there is a dire need to move to real-time detection and mitigation. ‘You simply can’t do that with people, you need algorithms that can separate the wheat from the chaff among the thousands of detections a day of potentially rogue behavior.’

Cybercriminals have been using machine learning to bypass detections for some time, Buist continued. ‘The machine learning battle is going to erupt in earnest in the coming years, and that is a fundamental change for security: it will be machine versus machine, rather than human versus human. We have seen this development coming in the IT world for a few years now, in part because of the growth of malware that can automatically adapt itself and is therefore difficult to combat.’

#3 Face Recognition

Following the iPhone X, numerous mobile devices appeared over the past year with facial recognition as an alternative security method. More devices and applications also gained support for Windows Hello. This biometric authentication method eliminates the need to enter passwords; only a glance or touch is needed to unlock your device or app.

Facial recognition is gaining popularity and is expected to become the standard for unlocking (mobile) devices. “A logical development,” said Robin van Setten of Microsoft 365. ‘Logging in based on your face is easier and more secure than using a password. Go figure: 63 percent of passwords are weak, a default password or stolen. Two-factor authentication already makes passwords much more secure, but good facial recognition technology is and always will be the most secure.’

‘Logging in based on your face is easier and more secure than a password’

For companies, facial recognition is more of a convenience feature than a security feature, Henk-Jan Buist believes. ‘You don’t have to bother users with passwords for individual applications as much, but use a global single sign-on combined with facial recognition as an additional layer of authentication. I don’t think facial recognition will be used as a foolproof security feature, but as an additional security measure it can be useful.

For that reason, it’s probably not such a good idea to unlock business devices with facial recognition, he believes. ‘Until you can manage it delicately with an MDM tool.’

#4 AI in devices

In 2018, smartphones not only got facial recognition, but – in some cases – some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) built in. For example, to improve photo quality, efficiency and/or security.

This trend is expected to continue, which Buist says offers numerous (potential) benefits for companies. “It’s too early to say what AI as a platform (Paas AI) is going to mean, but the potential of using AI to analyze telemetry in network edge and embedded in mobile are very exciting.

‘This eliminates the need to have central databases full of AVG-sensitive data’

What can that achieve? Buist: ‘I expect that within a few years this trend will allow us to process much finer IoT telemetry and minimize data before transmission. This means less bandwidth is needed ánd you don’t have to have central databases full of AVG-sensitive data.’

Furthermore, deep learning can be used to gain insight into the “health” of devices, adds Pieter Schouten. ‘With a technique such as HP TechPulse, for example, it is possible to predict when a device will break down or when several PCs simultaneously experience the same complaints after a driver update. Devices are becoming so smart that they can recognize rogue processes and alert other devices from the same organization, even before an IT administrator takes action. That’s a huge win.

#5 Voice assistants in the workplace (or not?)

By 2021, 22 percent of all large companies will use smart assistants in the workplace. Globally, that should save about one billion dollars, IDC estimated. In the Netherlands, however, few people are familiar with the possibilities offered by voice assistants. Ipsos research shows that only 1 in 3 have heard or read about this at some point.

Still, voice assistants have gotten a little smarter over the past year. Google Assistant, meanwhile, speaks Dutch, Alexa (from Amazon) can give reminders based on your time and location, and Cortana (Microsoft) helps with e-mail and calendar management.

‘Worldwide smart assistants should save about one billion dollars’

“With today’s information overload, everyone could use a digital assistant in the workplace,” said Robin van Setten of Microsoft. ‘Our voice assistant is part of Windows 10, but it appears in many more of our products. For example, in Outlook, Cortana reminds you of appointments and can help schedule meetings. Ideal for increasing employee productivity and effectiveness.’ It is to be hoped, however, that Cortana will finally get Dutch support soon.

Henk-Jan Buist expects that virtual assistants will eventually mean a lot to the way we interact with software and hardware. ‘Good, smart software can anticipate what we are actually going to do, and this can save a lot of individual actions. For example, think of an assistant that automatically makes appointments during a meeting, based on availability of participants and locations.’

‘In practice, what I have seen so far is not even that smart’

Still, Buist is critical. ‘In practice, what I have seen so far is not even that smart. Also, voice detection does not yet work optimally, making it difficult in shared environments to manage who is controlling the assistant at what time. Furthermore, a virtual assistant has to have deep integrations with all sorts of shared enterprise applications to be useful. That doesn’t happen very quickly. I suspect a time frame of 2023 to 2028 is more realistic.’

#6 5G rollout

In its latest edition of the Mobility Report, Ericsson writes that by 2023, some 20 percent of global mobile data traffic will run over 5G networks. 5G is faster, has lower latency (ideal for applications such as sensors or self-driving cars) and has higher energy efficiency.

China is working on large-scale 5G deployments to make cities and the agricultural sector smarter, among other things. North America, which deploys it for such things as logistics and fleet management, is seen as a pioneer of 5G use.

‘It will take at least another two years before we switch en masse in the Netherlands’

Although the first 5G subscriptions are expected to appear in late 2019, it will be at least two years before we switch over en masse in the Netherlands, Buist believes. ‘5G requires huge investments because providers need to roll out more transmission towers and base stations. The theoretical speed gains of 5G have practical limitations that will become clearer in the coming year.

That said, we will undoubtedly hear more about 5G pilots in the coming year. It offers mobile speeds not inferior to Wi-Fi and many interesting applications related to real-time data processing.

Want to be prepared for the future? Download the free white paper “Make your office future-proof.

Share article
Don’t settle for less than the best

Don’t settle for less than the best

There are several reasons why small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) best fulfill their technology needs from one central location. One reason is that small businesses often have fewer resources. So it is essential to make the best use of resources. Another...

Skip to content