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Corporate adoption just went up with iPhone 3.0

featuresannouncement We may not be the best example of measuring smartphone adoption rates, because our company has a head start with the iPhone.  We in the IT department manipulate our knowledge of change management to make our own lives easier, one iPhone at a time.  When the only requirement for a smart phone was defined by management as needing “access to email”, we moved to the iPhone as soon the Exchange integration became available.   The corporate community is no different than any other populous.  Just as they spread the word when something fails, they strut their glory when something works.  It didn’t take long before the viral effect of a very successful platform took hold, and we started receiving the requests for iPhones over the other platforms.  The advantage for us, is that people are quiet, happy and working, apposed to calling and complaining about their Windows Mobile platform locking up.

That is not the case for most corporations.  Most corporations are invested heavily in Blackberry or Windows Mobile because their list of requirements extend already beyond the need to access email, because they have already changed their own applications to accommodate their new platform.  Being slow to the smart phone race has had its advantages for us.  Regardless, with the announcement of iPhone 3.0 software and the features it brings, the corporate community will not be far behind us.

Capital Expense Reduction

As most corporations in the economy today, we are watching the extra money we spend.  While the iPhone has never been the cheapest, it certainly gets attractive now that they offer a $99 model for the iPhone 3G. Our guys on the road also have a GPS, so removing that from the list of purchases, now that TomTom has released an iPhone Turn by Turn application is a huge advantage.  Slide a little further and invest in a iPhone 3GS and you eliminate the need for a separate digital camera with closeup capabilities and video clips.  I think the only thing left on my wish list is for iPhone to completely emulate windows mobile for the purpose of running those old apps that we wrote years ago and seem to ignore. Certainly eliminating 4 or 5 devices in the list of items an employee will need to carry, is a huge advantage, and worth a serious look moving forward.

Cut Copy and Paste

There is no argument that this functionality should have made it into the iPhone long before the 3rd release of software.  It was a complaint of most everybody since day one.  Now that it is here however it is also no longer a point to argue against the platform.  Providing functionality that is one step closer to conducting business on the iPhone, this is a key feature, which we all knew was coming.  I am not ready to give Apple a big pat on the back for finally getting around to it, but this rather un-glorious feature is not without celebration.

Tethering

The ability to tether just took 30% of our populous and moved them to the iPhone side of the argument.  Once AT&T figures out how much they want to squeeze people for this service, it will be a HUGE step for anybody with a laptop to connect.  As it stands now, we have many employees going to a broadband card, and being able to eliminate that extra piece will be worth the offset cost.

LandScape Keyboard

Check this off in another one of the, “should have done that a long time ago” boxes.  For people trying to overcome the move from tactile keyboards however, this will significantly increase the adoption rate.

Voice Memo

Believe it or not, we still have a few executives carrying around dictation recorders.  Now, I know that there are already iPhone applications for recording notes, but having one built in may yield some better support for the playback of these files down the road.  After all it is the transcription software that really is needed.  If there is no software down the road, I may have just identified my ticket to retirement.

Honorable Mention

There are many items up on the list of things to come, which we really can’t put our finger on, but know are really good to have for our developers.  While the rest of the manufacturers try to scratch at market share the iPhone already has, these features pave a powerful foundation for infiltrating the corporate environment.

  • VPN on demand is a huge, but only for organizations already developing applications. Being able to tell the the application to connect a VPN tunnel back to the services it needs, will be a huge advantage towards integrated CRM, ERP, MRP and a long line of other acronyms relating to business software.
  • LDAP was on the list of items, but didn’t yet make the describable list of features.  Obviously a huge statement when approaching any Active Directory or Microsoft Windows network.
  • One of the large hangups from a corporate perspective is the security aspect of the device.  While the new 3.0 software brings some powerful enhancements with remote wipe functionality, it appears to still require a MobileMe account.  This needs to be opened up into operating with the Exchange functionality before it is makes the “advantages” list.
  • Encrypted profile backups are always a good thing, but if a corporation has already adopted an encryption policy for their devices, it is just another feather in an already protected cap.

If you are in the corporate environment, you must at least prepare for the notion that there will be iPhone entering the corporation, and it may be time to start preparing for it.  The largest number one negative against the entire concept of the iPhone in a corporate environment is that you need iTunes on the clients. Apple will need to create a management application and thin client for corporate iPhone users if it hopes to really take over.

Gizmodo has an excellent writeup of the announcement covering the highlights if you missed it.

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