news Construction firm Buildcorp has deployed some 150 new staff mobile phones in Nokia’s Lumia line, the Finnish smartphone vendor announced this afternoon.
In a statement, Nokia said Buildcorp, which specialises in construction, commercial fit-outs, remedial building and building services projects in NSW and Queensland had upgraded its 150-strong smartphone fleet to use Nokia’s Lumia 800 and 710 smartphones, after evaluating other Windows Phone 7 models from rival companies like HTC and Samsung. “Nokia’s commitment to the Windows Phone platform was important in our decision to adopt Lumia,” said Buildcorp’s finance and systems manager Brett Hoskins. “Other phone providers have a limited number of phones on the Windows Phone platform, with the remaining running Android. This long-term partnership with Microsoft ensures we have the right product support in place now and in the future.”
The news comes as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform appears to be enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in the nation’s corporate market, after struggling in the consumer sector against the well-entrenched iPhone and Android platforms. In late May, the Australian division of tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has also picked Nokia’s Windows Phone 7-based Lumia 800 smartphone as its platform of choice for its corporate smartphone fleet, and CommBank is similarly considering a move to the Nokia Lumia platform.
Hoskins said Buildcorp’s staff spent a lot of time out of the office at construction sites or on the road, and needed to access the company’s project management application ProjectCentre, which is delivered as a software as a service application. “Previously, employees would have to return to the office throughout the day or after hours to get the most up-to-date information,” said Hoskins. “Now, with Nokia Lumia, they can access Outlook and the ProjectCentre mobile app on their phone wherever they are. The more time staff spend on site, the better results we get on the project and importantly, for our clients. Also, being able to access documents on the go means staff can go straight home at the end of the day instead of coming back to the office, giving them a better work-life balance.”
Windows Phone 7’s integration with familiar business tools such as Outlook, Internet Explorer, Word, Excel and PowerPoint had also been a key driver in Buildcorp’s adoption of the Nokia Lumia smartphones, Nokia said, as well as access to Nokia services such as Nokia Drive, providing free, voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation, and Nokia Maps, which provides offline pedestrian navigation. “With so many staff members on the road, Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps has enabled them to get from A to B easily,” said Hoskins. “The free music streaming service, Mix Radio, provided by Nokia Music has also been popular.”
“To date, feedback from staff has been great. Nokia Lumia provides them with what they need from a business perspective, but also gives them what they need in their personal lives, such as social media capabilities and music. We’ve seen a number of staff switch from their iPhones and other phones to the Nokia Lumia for personal and work use so they no longer have to carry two phones. At the end of the day, it’s about maintaining a happy workforce and if they can be more productive, then it’s a win-win situation.”
I wrote this about Bridgestone’s decision to switch to the Lumia platform, and the same applies to Buildcorp:
Perhaps I shouldn’t be, given Microsoft’s ongoing dominance of the enterprise IT scene, but I am really surprised by Bridgestone’s decision to go with Windows Phone 7 for its corporate smartphone fleet. I would have assumed that, by now, Apple’s iPhone devices would have become the defacto corporate smartphone platform, given the company’s massive developer and app ecosystem (including a dominance of the enterprise IT app integration scene), the fact that business users are very familiar with the platform from their consumer lives and the ever-encroaching dominant of the iPad in corporate life.
However, what Bridgestone’s decision indicates is that Microsoft’s smartphone platform is far from dead in the enterprise, and that some of the organisations which had previously been using older versions of Windows Mobile in their corporate fleets are probably looking at the new operating system as a worthwhile upgrade from the old, despite the radical, consumer-focused redesign which the platform has had over the past several years.
Another notable issue at the moment is that we continue to hear very little about Google’s Android platform in corporate smartphone fleets, despite the platform’s dominance of the consumer market alongside Apple, and despite the fact that major telcos like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are all very strong supporters of the Android platform — beyond even their support for the iPhone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case where a large organisation has standardised on HTC or Samsung Android phones.
If I look ahead a few years, the corporate smartphone market will be a very interesting one. If things continue to go the way I think they will, Apple may take a strong chunk of this market, and Microsoft will be overweight in this segment compared to its consumer market share, while Android will continue to suffer a low presence, although there will be some high-profile deployments. And, of course, Research in Motion will continue to lose ground as it progresses on its gradual death spiral. Overshadowing all of this will be implications from the Bring Your Own Device movement, with the lines increasingly being blurred between personal and business mobile use.
This isn’t necessarily the way I would have seen things a few years ago. A couple of years ago I would have still placed Apple out in front eventually when it comes to corporate smartphone fleets, with Android second and RIM and Microsoft fighting it out for third place. But it seems — as with most of its businesses — that Google is once again struggling to understand enterprise IT computing. In this context, it’s not really a surprise that Microsoft does.
Image credit: Nokia