We were all citing instances of companies getting rid of laptops to replace them with blends of iPads and desktop computers already. And we also had stories of mass infusions of iPhones and Macs in enterprise accounts.
All of these products are largely positioned at the consumer market now, though Apple clearly has increased its focus on corporate sales and apps all their platforms are becoming more and more focused on business. Android is moving in much the same way and this will likely be followed by SmartTVs, which employees may increasingly use both inside and outside the company for a variety of tasks. And it clearly wont stop there.
This suggests that environments using some type of Network Access Protocol where every device is initially untrusted until it is checked and authorized for access may be the best path toward preparing for this diverse future.
In short, security is the core problem that will need to be addressed, which goes a long way to explaining why Intel bought McAfee a few months ago.
No one wants to carry three devices if they can avoid it and users want their stuff, and state, on the device they are currently using. Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, and most recently NVIDIA all have some level of this solution in the works.
The question is: who will provide the most comprehensive and compelling solution, who will market it the best, and who will have the best value for the dollar?
Those that are at the top of most of these metrics should flourish, those that arent wont. And it may be wise to push your employees toward vendors who get this early so you dont share their pain for making wrong purchase decisions. Its a little too early to do that last right now, but well help as the vendors strategies become better defined.
Interestingly enough, this year, Apple might actually be one of the more strategic bets. By the end of the year I expect that list to include more traditional vendors like HP and Dell as well as some surprise newcomers. Motorolas Atrix has many of us intrigued (its the first attempt to blend all three products into one). And dont forget, Microsoft clearly isnt out of this yet and Windows 8 could drive the company back to center stage before this is resolved.
In the end, tech in 2015 will be defined not by one client but by a diverse number of them. Companies will need to anticipate that diversity, the security risks they represent, and make sure they arent buried by the resulting problem. That would be a strategy worth taking to heart. Like any wave, you can choose to ride it or be buried by it. Trust me, as a technology surfer, riding it is far more fun.