We’re living in an era of mobility.
Consumers use apps to help track their weight and fitness. To manage airline tickets and Chipotle coupons. To check the latest scores of their favorite teams. And enterprise employees are using apps to help manage inventory, boost productivity, simplify work in the field, and more. All around us, mobile devices and applications are making life easier for us as “users”.
Increasingly, however, we’re noticing the rise of something different than the enterprise user: the enterprise machine.
For enterprise users, the device is multi-functional—it’s part of the solution, but it isn’t the solution. The enterprise machine, on the other hand, is built into a product that the enterprise sells to other businesses (or consumers). Think an ultrasound device with a tablet that charts and displays data, or a combine with a linked iPad used to assist navigation and planting. An enterprise machine isn’t a personal device that happens to have enterprise apps—it’s purpose-built to seamlessly integrate with the product.
The enterprise machine is a critical way for people to interface with a product, and a way for people to get additional value out of the product, too. It offers unique technology and provides a window into the inner workings of the product. And with this use case, businesses can develop an ecosystem around the enterprise machine, building apps that increase the functionality of the product over time. New developers can write apps for these medical devices or combines, or anything else that happens to have an enterprise machine embedded into the final product.
This marks a distinct shift from today’s era of enterprise mobility being focused solely around users. Those use cases can and should continue to exist, but we’ll also see the continued rise of purpose-built products—enterprise machines—that address the mobility issue in an entirely different way.
More and more companies are looking at this idea and building enterprise machines into their products. We can’t predict exactly where this new era will take us, but we can say for certain that we’re proud to be involved in helping shape the development and deployment of enterprise machines.