While the revenue shift from traditional desktop computing infrastructure to smartphones, LTE-connected tablets and apps has been viewed as a threat by some, the IT channel has an exciting new opportunity that could be set to take off in 2017.
Unlocked devices are the natural outcome of consumer and business demands for freedom and choice.
In the United States, the arrival of unlocked phones has been met with strong demand. Unlocked smartphone shipments in the U.S. grew 140 percent annually in 2015 to a then-record 14.6 million units, according to Strategy Analytics, and 2016 appears to be another record year in unit shipments.
The appeal to businesses is clear, and falls into two main categories:
Standardization and Simplification
For one thing, selecting a single, unlocked model for all mobile users allows IT to standardize, making management easier in terms of device configuration and logistics around inventory when an employee device needs to be replaced.
Unlocked devices also come without preloaded carrier applications, providing a cleaner user interface (UI) out of the box.
Unlocking the Market Opportunity
Previously, businesses could acquire unlocked versions of Samsung phones in the U.S. only by importing international models on the gray market. But doing so would fall outside of warranty, and, what’s more, pose a headache for IT administrators and service providers responsible for provisioning, integrating and managing devices. Now unlocked devices come with quality, reliability and support.
So how does all this benefit the bottom line of IT solution providers? The decision to bring to market competitively priced unlocked versions of the Galaxy smartphone line was driven by a desire to not only provide freedom of choice to enterprise customers, but also to unlock opportunities for the IT channel.
Solution providers who are already consulting closely with enterprise customers on IT infrastructure, computing, networking, storage or virtualization now have the opportunity to position the full range of connected mobile endpoints, including smartphones. This diversity of channel expertise can only be beneficial for delivering value to customers in a maturing mobile market. And beyond the device, there are recurring revenue opportunities in the growing mobility services market.
The biggest value-add that unlocked devices bring to the customer could in fact be something else: the ability to access the expertise of the IT channel and the myriad of innovative solution providers.
What are your thoughts?
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