While it’s always dangerous to play the guessing game, let’s go for it. Here are four directions I see the tech industry going in the future and why, focusing mainly on Apple technologies.
1. 2019 will be the greatest Windows to Mac migration in history.
Windows users are about to come to fork in the road as extended support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. Consequently, for the 7 million users on Windows 7, there will be two choices. One, migrate to Windows 10 (release date: July 29, 2015) and potentially squat on that OS for several more years. Two, follow the growing trend of enterprise users making the switch to Mac.
As has been thoroughly documented, the demand for Mac is already here — and even Microsoft knows that. That’s why they entered a strategic partnership with Jamf to accommodate the growing number of Apple requests and also help better protect users, data and Mac devices attempting to access Office 365. It is a new era at Microsoft where they are focusing less on hardware and more on making better productivity tools that users crave.
As organizations continue to see the value (i.e., attract and retain top talent) of offering Mac as a work technology choice and users continue to have a loud voice in the devices they choose to work with, the floodgates are set to open for Mac in the enterprise.
2. Google officially enters the device management market.
Despite what analysts may be saying, general purpose management or unified endpoint management (UEM) is giving way to ecosystem management. There are three main industry players that are embracing this modern model of management, and frankly, embracing what customers and the market are calling for.
- Jamf for Apple ecosystem management
- Microsoft for Office 365 ecosystem management
- VMware for virtual (storage, servers, networks) management
2019 will see a fourth provider throw its hat in the ecosystem ring: Google. Consequently, I predict Google will add more management capabilities for Chrome OS and Android. I also expect it to be the main driver of Google device management. This will allow it to provide a more holistic user and IT experience across all Google devices.
Also, having four true vendors allows for integration opportunities to further deliver an ideal state of user experience. Regardless of the chosen device.
3. All major device management providers will provide conditional access.
Security is about two things. Identifying and validating the use, and also identifying and validating the device the user is using.
It’s no longer about the network or the firewall. Work has changed and users have changed, too. Furthermore, people need to access data around the clock and in all corners of the globe. To ensure they can in the most secure way possible, conditional access is key.
Conditional access is a set of policies and configurations that control which devices/users have access to which services and data. The Jamf and Microsoft conditional access integration ensures that only trusted users on trusted Mac devices are accessing trusted applications connected to Microsoft Azure Active Directory, also including Office 365.
I predict the other main management vendors, VMware and Google, will take note of the unmatched security value of conditional access and look to leverage in their ecosystem. While the level of conditional access prowess will vary in 2019, the day of conditional access for all main vendors is coming.
Furthermore, this will once again offer providers the ability to integrate and streamline security across ecosystems.
4. Apple Watch and HomePod receive management capabilities.
While I’m not willing to go out on a limb and predict Apple’s management strategy around Apple Watch and HomePod for 2019, I am willing to say that if Apple wants organization to leverage these tools in bulk, management is necessary.
My prediction is these devices go the same path of Apple TV. With the release of tvOS 12, Apple made Apple TV a viable option for organizations and schools to leverage. Apple TV apps can now be developed, managed and pushed to devices. Apple TV devices themselves can be managed and the set up process is as simple as having the user plug in the device and go.
Furthermore, I foresee Apple Watch and HomePod to be next on the Apple management spectrum.
There is a simple reason for that. If hospitals want to deploy Apple Watches to nurses, doctors and patients to keep a secure, open line of healthcare information, management is necessary. To ensure settings and notifications are not turned off on a nurse, doctor or patient’s Apple Watch, management is necessary. If schools or organizations want to deploy HomePod en masse to classrooms or meeting rooms, management is necessary. You get the picture.
A new dawn of technology and device management is at our doorstep, and we should do our best to be ready to embrace it.