The significance of mobile devices in our personal and business life is illustrated with statements like this – There are more mobile devices in the world than people. The ubiquity of mobile devices and the demands from customers for instant access to information is disrupting every industry. This proliferation of consumer technologies and features available to users in their personal lives, has bled into the workplace and users are demanding comparable features there as well – primarily anytimeanywhere access, which has paved the way for bring your own device (BYOD). Enterprises have been challenged with improbable demands to attract and engage employees by providing access to information from anywhere on the device of the user’s choice while ensuring corporate data is secure, compliant, auditable and contained on personal devices.
Beyond email on mobile devices the most requested feature is mobile messaging. Mobile messaging is an amalgam of features from native messaging on mobile devices (iMessage, Google Talk, BBM), consumer mobile app (WhatsApp, Viber), and enterprise real-time communication (LyncSkype for Business). Mobile messaging demand has given birth to countless mobile apps that all claim to provide consumer-like quick messaging features while meeting the enterprise requirements of security and archiving. While these mobile messaging apps seem to meet the requirement on the surface, they are for the most part one-trick ponies – good at solving a very specific issue and do not fit in the overall collaboration goals of an enterprise. The mobile messaging apps are specific to smartphones only and often mobile application management-only wrapped versions are not available for BYOD environments. The high demand from their user community has driven some companies to deploy one-off, point solutions that are mobile specific with limited capabilities that confuse users with an experience that varies by device.
Microsoft Skype for Business upcoming feature – Offline Messaging eliminates the need to deploy these one-off mobile messaging apps and will resolve a lot of thorny issues for both users and IT. This feature will provide a unified experience irrespective of the device to users, and IT no longer needs to deploy additional tools, process and procedures to meet the compliance requirements for mobile messaging. Skype for Business Offline Messaging will allow users to:
- Send messages to contacts even if they are not signed in
- Read missed messages in email or in Skype for Business
- Use unread count badges to navigate missed messages
- Read on any device with SfB that supports missed messages