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Year in review: What mattered in 2016?

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past year. What are the major trends that have dominated the end-user computing industry? Who are the biggest market players to watch now? And how do businesses need to rethink their mobile strategies in light of new technology and industry happenings?

The trends
This year saw the market turn its attention to emerging technologies such as wearables, biometrics, unified endpoint management, artificial intelligence and workspace management. Businesses turned their attention to growing issues such as user privacy and mobile device compliance. This month’s cover story looks at an even more bleeding-edge topic: augmented and virtual reality. 

The players
This year was not the best for some vendors in the mobile hardware market. Microsoft wrote off $950 million and eliminated thousands of jobs from its smartphone business as a result of its failed Nokia acquisition. And BlackBerry, the former king of the mountain, pulled the plug on its hardware business and outsourced its phone manufacturing.

Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, drew new battle lines with their top-notch phones, the iPhone 7 and Galaxy Note 7—when it’s not exploding. Apple also made moves in the app department, expanding its IBM partnership to bring iOS development to the Bluemix platform.

In the enterprise mobility management market, MobileIron and Citrix named new CEOs. And on the development front, a tech industry giant began making moves: Amazon Web Services, which released its Mobile Hub backend as a service platform.

The next step
So what does all this mean for IT shops? It’s time for organizations to go beyond the initial stages of embracing mobile—BYOD, mobile device management—and truly improve businesses processes with a comprehensive strategy. It’s become essential for businesses to focus on user experience with design thinking, mobile analytics and predictive apps.

Most of all, it’s more important than ever to cut through the buzzwords around technologies and trends. What are the latest mobile security threats companies really need to worry about? How should businesses plan for mobile app development in a world with more device types and OS versions? Where do traditional tasks like PC management fit into all this? These are some of the questions companies will need to figure out in 2017.

This post originally appeared in the November/December 2016 issue of the Modern Mobility e-zine.