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How to choose a device when investing in emerging markets

As companies plan to invest in emerging markets, their choice of device for launching apps will be critical. Matthew David explains what to keep in mind.

Those planning on investing in emerging markets have a big decision to make when it comes to IT management: What device are we going to use? Differing prices and availability of technology from country to country are critical factors managers will have to consider when they choose a device on which to launch their business-critical applications in emerging markets.

Emerging markets are maturing faster than at any time in history. Areas of the world a company would have ignored for decades can now become a stronger economy in one generation. China, India, Africa, South America are growing at a stunning rate. The challenge with many of these new markets for the IT leader is that technology and price are still key factors that need to be understood before they choose a device.

Consider this: An iPhone purchased in North America will cost nearly $300 more in China.

The following questions must be considered when investing in emerging markets:

  • What is the cost of a device in the country?
  • What is the infrastructure to support the device?
  • Are there devices that have high theft value?
  • How do you secure data on the device?

Cost is a big concern, and for this reason, the IT leader will want to consider alternatives to a traditional laptop PC. Tablets and smartphones are much more affordable. Indeed, there are many low-cost Android and Windows phones that are almost disposable in cost. The goal is to provide a tool to your team that will give them software to be successful. Cloud platforms such as Office 365 or Google Docs are powerhouse tools that will run on any device. As a frame of reference, I am writing this article on an Android tablet with Google Docs -- anywhere, anytime tools.

Infrastructure for many companies is a country by country assessment. Some countries, such as China, are investing heavily in LTE and high-speed wireless networks. For other countries, you will need to ensure that your mobile apps will run in offline mode until a network connection can be established.

The safety of your people is a top priority. Consider if devices have high theft value for specific countries. Don't make your people a target; if iPhones are frequently stolen, look at alternative options.

Securing the data on your devices is critical. There are options including mobile device management (MDM), enterprise mobility management (EMM), app encapsulation, Android for Work and many other options.

The objective is to empower teams that are working in emerging markets. Mobility is truly an exciting time for businesses, and the right tools can make a dramatic difference when investing in emerging markets.

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