Enterprise mobile apps: carriers help overcome geography

By Kishore Jethanandani

Mobile broadband carriers are discovering their unique latent strengths in provision of mobile enterprise platforms and applications stretching across multiple geographies. They see in the provision of a seamless mobile experience, for nationwide or global enterprises, an opportunity to increase their margins.

Enterprises tend to use a variety of operating systems and enterprise software in each of their geographical locations or even functional departments. An increasingly mobile workforce does not want to be hamstrung by backend systems unable to communicate with each other. AT&T offers the Me Mobile Enterprise application platform which provides a consistent mobilization experience across multiple platforms and adapts to new ones that emerge every so often.

Frank Jules, the President of AT&T’s Global Solutions explained, at the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference in November of 2012, that he sees in his company’s global network the bedrock to host and integrate platforms for cloud, mobile, enterprise software from Oracle and SAP, security and applications.  AT&T announced at the conference a new investment program Project Velocity, IP that will invest a billion dollars in enterprise solutions of a total investment of 14 billion dollars.

McDonalds, one of AT&T’s global clients, wanted to replace its static menu boards with digital signage that would refresh data frequently with information on prices, meals and disclosures. AT&T has a hot spot in almost all outlets of MacDonald’s around the world. It built a portal to manage the delivery of data from a central point for display of changing information in all McDonald’s restaurants. It collaborated with another company for the display boards.

In its effort to capitalize on a growing mobile cloud business, Verizon consolidated its Verizon Business, Terremark Cloud business, Cybertrust, the global wholesale business, and the enterprise and government business from Verizon Wireless into a single Verizon Enterprise Solutions Business and reoriented it to address the needs of eight verticals rather than geographies explained Mr. John Strutton, President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, at the Jefferies Global Technology, Internet, Media & Telecom Conference in May 2012. In machine-to-machine communications, it sees a major opportunity to increase margins with professional services for integration of hardware, software and networks.  The contract value of such projects is 2.5 to 3 times more than the transportation business for comparable investments in effort and capital.

Verizon was able to solve an intractable problem for the railway business with its packaged solutions. Twenty-two of its long-line railway customers were faced with a formidable challenge to comply with a regulatory stipulation to stop or slow down a train should a driver become unexpectedly unconscious. Verizon, in collaboration with several partners, was able to provide a solution for remote monitoring of railway operations for managing the speed of trains.

Enterprises, unlike the mobile consumer market, are not going to be satisfied with point solutions. Instead, they need solutions able to complete a series of business processes. Carriers are well positioned to serve them with their extensive networks and deep pockets to invest in integrated solutions.

This post was previously published in the Innovation Generation of the UBM Techweb