(Cross-posted at Mediafly.com.)
We at Mediafly have a unique perspective on media consumption. We have straddled consumer- and business-targeted media the entire year, and our conversations with customers and peers have given us a unique perspective on what each kind of customer wants. Looking back, our predictions were fairly accurate, though they were made in private.
This year we’d like to change that. Below are Mediafly’s predictions for 2012.
1.) iPad will continue to dominate as an enterprise sales tool, but Android tablets will finally start making inroads.
Nearly every tablet-adoption-in-the-enterprise story today centers around the iPad. Our own data justifies that; while enterprise talk about wanting to be able to support Android, up through 2011 this hasn’t yet become a priority. We believe that in 2012 this will start to change, as Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and beyond close the ‘sexiness’ gap between Android and iOS.
2.) Sales and executives will continue to be the first recipients of tablet devices.
No surprises here. Mobile staff that interact with customers and decision makers have been, and will continue to be, the first to receive these devices within every organization.
2a.) These recipients will continue to carry around their laptops until they get a more robust feature set from their tablets.
While tablets today are fantastic for email, media consumption and gaming, their web browsers are mediocre and their enterprise app support is in its infancy. As enterprise software and service makers continue to evolve their products for tablets, the PC will become less necessary. But outside of a few key markets and their leading vendors (CRM: Salesforce, Presentation creation: Keynote, Business Media Presentation: Mediafly), we will not see the true migration in 2012.
3.) IT departments increasingly turn to vendor-supported solutions for enterprise apps.
For IT staff that typically work on backend systems, building an iPhone app is shiny and new. However, for IT managers with mandates of migrating to vendor-supported solutions, building an iPhone app in-house goes against the mandate and can be very costly. We expect to see internal IT groups increasingly migrate to vendor-supported app solutions for critical business functions over the course of 2012.
4.) IT departments continue to migrate to cloud-based solutions, as costs continue to drop, functionality continues to grow, and service providers continue to mature.
Cloud computing functionality and reliability are still raw, but improving steadily. 2011 saw some severe outages from nearly every major cloud vendor, against which each of these vendors have honed their architecture to improve. At the same time, each month reveals new features to make migrating to the cloud a little easier. As these outages are mitigated, and as the functionality improves, traditional IT departments will continue the steady migration of data and processing to the cloud.
5.) Live streaming to mobile and TV devices will become more reliable, as Android and BlackBerry finally adopt HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).
Displaying live streaming video to iOS, Roku, and Flash work like a charm. Live streaming to Android is clunky and awkward. We believe that Google will finally fix its broken implementation of HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) in Ice Cream Sandwich or its successor, and finally enable the hundreds of millions of Android devices to seamlessly play live streaming video.
6.) While HTML5 will make further inroads in the web and on TV devices, native apps will continue to dominate on mobile (iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7).
Lots of talk has been made around HTML5 and how it will revolutionize cross-device development. Unfortunately, we are many years away from HTML5 apps providing as seamless a user experience as a native application. User interaction is less responsive, cross-device UI is inconsistent, support for advanced UI and CSS features is mixed, and other issues exist. While progress will be made towards HTML5 surpassing native as the platform of choice, 2012 will not be the year of the tipping point.