The growing popularity of mobile platforms has forced enterprises to notice and sometimes embrace the kinds of technology that employees are bringing in to work, the CEOs of MobileIron, QuickOffice and Box.net said during a Wednesday panel discussion at the event.
The three vendors are trying to reach small and large companies primarily through their employees, and said interest in their mobile offerings is growing. MobileIron CEO Bob Tinker said his company, which makes mobile device management software, had gained 225 enterprise customers in the past 90 days. Box.net cited a recent 18,000-seat software deal with Procter & Gamble.
The arrival of popular tablets, led by Apple's iPad last year, moved mobile computing by enterprises into high gear, the panelists said.
"I view the tablet as the missing link," said Alan Masarek, CEO of QuickOffice, which sells software for creating and editing Microsoft Office files on mobile devices. On tablets, unlike on smartphones, employees can easily continue to do their work as they move from one device to another, he said.
Box.net, a provider of an online content management service, also saw the iPad's arrival as "a nonlinear event," CEO Aaron Levie said. Construction companies started using Box.net's iPad app on site, and executives started using it while running meetings, he said.