A new survey from Cisco's consulting group has some surprising conclusions. They looked at 1000 business users this past spring to understand the interaction between their mobile devices and how they interacted with various cloud-based services.

They came up with five conclusions from their survey:

  1. Mobiles will have dual personalities by next year. While the majority of business users have single mobile phones, the majority of respondents will be using them for both business and personal applications by next year. What surprises me here is that most people aren't doing this already. Given that very few of us carry multiple cell phones, we are mixing business and personal use already, if not just for the voice calls alone. Interestingly, less than half of the respondents currently carry smartphones, and almost 20 percent of respondents were unaware of their smartphone operating system. The top ranked activity on their phones was texting - voice was fifth, behind email and Web browsing and taking photos.
  2. Business users will demand a unified cloud experience to access both kinds of content from their devices. This makes sense. Cisco predicts that business smartphone growth will drive more mobile cloud app adoption.
  3. Cloud access is shifting from smartphone browsers and apps more towards thin clients and VDI solutions. This is a big shocker. While the answers on the appeal of thin clients are predictable - better security, no need to update those annoying apps, and less planned obsolescence - still the appeal of a thin client seems to be so retro, so back to the mainframe days of the 1980s. And yes, phones are less secure but a combination of MDM and stronger security policies can help. Perhaps everyone is lusting after the Cius, Cisco's thin client tablet. Or imaging a world when the iPad will be truly an enterprise device. Neither seems a likely scenario from where I sit, and type on a full-fledged laptop.


  4. Mobile will finally become a true desktop extension. Certainly, having a better mobile browsing experience can help, and it seems that HTML5 can be a big factor here. "HTML5 appears to be how most enterprises will address the diversity of mobile devices that might be coming into the enterprise," says Al Hilwa, a program director with IDC, after seeing the spate of announcements from VMworld and Dreamforce last week. "On average, all smartphone users reported spending a stunning 35 percent of their time browsing the web on their devices through a Wi-Fi connection rather than a cellular network," according to the survey results. I find this surprising: I almost never turn on my Wifi radio on my phone, but then again, that could just be me.
  5. Business video conference calls on their mobiles will finally happen at the end of 2012. According to the survey, 70% of the respondents expect to be doing this then, up from 10% who are doing it today.