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Is your OS ready for the fourth Industrial Revolution?

Hozefa Saylawala, Zebra Technologies

Hozefa Saylawala, director, Middle East, Zebra Technologies, explores how a change in mobile operating system could make the difference in enabling the workforce of the future.

The fourth industrial revolution is happening as you read these words. The transformation of cyber-physical systems is upon us. We know that industrial revolutions have radically transformed business and technology for the past three centuries, but the real question now is how will the fourth industrial revolution affect business this decade? How will businesses adapt to evolving technology and rapid industrial innovation? Think for a minute of the trending topics that are currently shaping the business world: virtual and augmented reality, Big Data and analytics, cloud services, remote work and mobility, and accessibility and visibility. This is just the beginning.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), “the possibilities are endless for the billions of people connected through mobile devices with unfathomable processing power, storage capacity, and access to information. Emerging trends in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles further enhance these possibilities.”

Remoteness and mobility are intrinsic to the fourth industrial revolution. Almost 60 percent of the world’s population has access to some sort of mobile device. The 2015-2020 Global Mobile Workforce Forecast by Strategy Analytics predicts, “The global mobile workforce is set to increase from 1.32 billion in 2014, accounting for 37.4 percent of the global workforce, to 1.75 billion in 2020, accounting for 42 percent.”

Keeping up with the challenge

Enterprises have the rare opportunity to assess their mobility requirements and redefine their strategies to increase productivity, efficiency, and accuracy in their operations. The competitive business landscape requires smart analysis to develop a more innovative strategy and remain productive.

Harnessing this workforce mobility revolution requires companies to determine their mobile operating system, and app migration and mobile device strategies. Following a massive adoption of enterprise-grade mobile computers and wearables for the workplace, a critical deadline approaches – the life expectancy of the core OS of certain devices.

Android-based platforms respond to current challenges within the fourth industrial revolution with speed, efficiency, and flexibility. New technologies make assets more durable and resilient, while data and analytics are transforming how they are maintained. A world of customer experiences, data-based services, and asset performance through analytics, meanwhile, require new forms of collaboration, particularly given the speed at which innovation and disruption take place. With apps a la carte that help transform current processes and bring visibility to company activities, Android helps businesses and users overcome these new challenges.

When the ageing yet ubiquitous Windows CE/Mobile soon loses Microsoft support, companies will have to choose a new operating system that is flexible, intuitive, and adaptable. Many customers have been slow to transition due to the uncertainty around Windows 10, the perceived complexity of app migration, and a general lack of understanding surrounding the cost of maintaining ageing devices. However, everything suggests that OS migration away from Windows is inevitable and the industry is starting to prepare for it.

The momentous transition from digitisation to integration – what we call the fourth industrial revolution – forces companies to rethink their strategic approach to transformative technology and innovation.

CEOs and leaders must begin to understand the changing environment and market, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly and continuously innovate. Luckily, leaders are not alone. Some IT and solutions providers have garnered vast experience in adapting, adopting, and transforming business platforms and processes for them to become more reliable with their current technology.

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