By Jane Sandwood
For the last few years, Apple has been quietly establishing itself as an authority in the enterprise world. Since 2007, Android and iOS have battled for supremacy not just in the eyes of consumers but for a place as a better operating system platform for business.
Currently Android holds 87% of the market, while Apple holds just 13%. Now, with the transition to remote working and the virtual business world accelerated, Apple is capitalizing on new opportunities to boost business performance and operations in the cyber business world. From introducing a suite of iPhone apps to boost email marketing capabilities to helping remote workers collaborate simultaneously or improving its video conferencing experience, here is how Apple is playing a large role in the progression towards a virtual business experience.
Apple’s MDM capabilities and app suite allow for remote collaborative working
According to a survey by Merchant Savvy, 69% of businesses in the U.S. already have a remote working policy in place. However, in light of recent months, that percentage would have skyrocketed with businesses of all sizes having to adjust to having their employees working from home. The use of Apple’s MDM can be used by managers and workers alike to simplify the process of managing mass remote working teams. With the help of Apple Business Manager, you can control the deployment of applicable apps to help employees work remotely.
It also gives you greater control and security thanks to the Automated Enrollment feature for corporate-owned devices such as mobile tablets and laptops, along with network restrictions that allow for wi-fi connections from only home or trusted WIFI networks. For collaboration and higher productivity, all Apple devices now come loaded with Cisco Webex, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. By sharing an iCloud link or sharing a folder, remote working employees can now work on a project or presentation simultaneously.
Apple closes on digital meeting startup spaces
Another notable addition to Apple’s portfolio has been Spaces, a virtual reality startup. Launched as a Dreamworks Animation project, the startup recently began creating add on virtual reality features for video conferencing software on the market including Zoom and now, Facetime. Apple’s move into the virtual reality world has been talked about since 2017. It has even acquired similar augmented reality companies like Akona Halographics and more recently NextVR.
While Apple has not announced its own version of a virtual reality headset, the purchase of Spaces makes logical sense given the rumors of Apple working on its own VR headset. Its planned features will allow for greater personalization when deciding on things like your choice of online video or meeting hosting software. NextVR’s and Space’s acquisition also opens up an avenue for Apple into the booming virtual business events and seminars world.
The add-on features include the inclusion of a 3D avatar, which gives the illusion of workers working side by side as they would be in office. The company is also set to release VR glasses soon, which will further transform remote working office operations, employee training programs, and the virtual sales realm.
Company Introduces mobile-friendly, Zoom-like features
With 90% of Fortune 500 companies using video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype to connect their colleagues, the popularity and usefulness of such tools are undeniable — something Apple has recognized for while now. Between January and March this year, interest in video conferencing technology increased an astonishing 120% according to estimates from TrustRadius. This puts the market on track to surpass a valuation of $60 billion by 2026.
Apple’s answer to video calling, FaceTime has already proved popular with the 10 million iPhone users worldwide. Thanks to its ability to have up to 32 people on a call, it has also gained some traction among businesses as well. However, in May this year, Apple added new features to Facetime in a bid to make its video calling software more competitive against competitors like Zoom. In the release notes of iOS13.5, Apple states: “Option to control automatic prominence on Group Facetime calls so video tiles do not change size when a participant speaks” as a feature update. There are also rumors that Apple is working on increasing the participant limit for Facetime, making it more appealing to larger corporations and large scale global business events.
There is no denying it: virtual business is here to stay. From the way businesses sell their products to the way they train their employees, IT companies are under pressure to adapt their products and services to suit an increasingly digital world. From a glance, it seems Apple is rising to the challenge.