New mobile technology and startup ventures dominated at the DEMO Fall conference Nov. 18-20 in San Jose, Calif., and there was a good reason for that, according to industry analyst Benedict Evans, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
"Mobile is eating the world. It's the first time the tech industry is selling to everybody," way beyond even almost universally adopted PCs, said Evans, who predicted that 80 percent of the world's population will have online access driven largely by the smartphones by 2020.
"We now spend more time on mobile apps than we do on the Web in total," said Evans, who said that mobile and other advances, particularly in e-commerce, have given consumers and businesses far more innovative options for products and services. "Ten years ago, Airbnb would have sold to Hilton and Uber would have sold to taxi companies," said Evans, noting that instead these startups have thrived on their own.
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is widely credited with helping drive adoption of smartphones and tablets in the enterprise, starting with executives who demanded that IT make their personal devices, notably the iPad, work on corporate networks. The result has been wider adoption of these devices and more companies making smartphones and tablets standard issue to an increasingly mobile workforce.
"As devices get more sophisticated, there's less need for laptops and PCs," said Pooneet Goel, vice president of business development at mobile business software developer PowWow. The company's Virtual Application Delivery Platform is designed to bring legacy apps to mobile devices in a fraction of the time and cost it traditionally has taken to redevelop these apps.
PowWow was one of several dozen exhibitors at DEMO Fall, which also included about 30 brand new startup ventures competing for the DEMO Gods award that goes to the startups judged to be among the most promising and innovative that appeared at the conference.
Goel told eWEEK that a pharmaceutical client wants to move 20,000 users from laptops over to tablets. The advantage is the tablet's portability will make it easier for salespeople to engage clients with the most up-to-date sales collateral and pricing information.
On a more prosaic level, Christian Lund, CEO of Templafy, says tablets are the perfect device for working with forms and business documents, especially if they're managed correctly, which he argues is not always the case. Thanks to office productivity and myriad other apps for the iPad, it's easy to access and work with documents on a tablet. But managing those documents and adhering to compliance and even design rules is another matter.