emx-dinnerThis week I attended the Enterprise Mobility Exchange in Las Vegas. It brought together over 100 senior IT professionals and mobile leaders along with key vendors to create a community for sharing and learning. We got to meet with leaders from Dean Foods, JetBlue, Starwood Hotels, Aetna, Amtrak, Boeing, Sanofi, Southwest Gas, Tesoro, PepsiCo, Quintiles, Southwest Airlines, ThyssenKrupp Elevator, Autolive, and more.

What was interesting about the event is there were companies well down the path to digital transformation via mobile and there were others who have barely started – a good reflection the enterprise mobile landscape. The one common thread throughout my conversations was the recognition that even the most conservative companies need to get on the mobile app bandwagon to drive employee productivity, customer engagement, and digital transformation. As one presenter pointed out, in the last 15 years 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared due to digital disruption. That got everyone’s attention and made the need for mobile apps an even higher priority.

Key surprises and highlights include:

  • Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are being used today: A few progressive organizations like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have already figured out how to use augmented reality and virtual reality to lower costs and improve productivity. I participated in a round table discussion with Brian Laughlin from Boeing. They have created an airline pilot training virtual reality app that has allowed them to cut training costs by 60%. Instead of training on the physical simulator, which costs $1000’s of dollars per session, pilots can do the majority of their training using a 3D immersive environment with full virtual reality simulation, including kinesis movement, to to help train their muscle memory.
  • User Experience is central stage: Jeff Fox from Starwood Hotels gave a great presentation on the UX journey that they have been on for the past year. They did a full rewrite of the app for their call center associates. He walked us through their process and provided great insight into best practices as well as giving insights on pitfalls and things to avoid. Jeff became a rock star at the event after his presentation. Every time I saw him, people were swarming him for more information. Everyone seemed hungry to learn how to design a UX that users want to use, one that is helpful and engaging.
  • Recognition that there is a need for a full mobile stack: Given the state of the industry, many are in the early stages of defining their mobile app/business strategy and have just started to think about their “stack”. Flexibility on the app development tools was important. Native and hybrid tools both have a role. Security is a big concern. But what was most interesting to me, given that I work at Kinvey, was the general consensus that it’s time to look at putting together a mobile stack, one that will allow them to deliver apps that work offline, are secure, include new engagement features, and bring together data from multiple systems to create a useful and easy to use mobile experience.

From my perspective, it was a great event for Kinvey. Having just been named a leader and top ranked in The Forrester Wave: Mobile Development Platform, 4Q 2016, we are well positioned to help these enterprises accelerate their mobile app delivery and provide outstanding user experiences on a modern mobile stack with our backend as a service