Organizations have been providing their employees with mobile phones to stay connected when traveling or during out of office hours. However, they have also been restricting staff access to the corporate network from outside the office. This causes issues with work flexibility for employees who wish to work from home. It impacts their productivity, which is ultimately detrimental to the organization. Smartphones and tablet devices are gaining popularity as compared to mobile phones and laptops respectively, with most of the users belonging to the working class. Employees are pushing for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to be implemented at their workplace. Here are the smartphone trends that can be expected in the corporate sector in 2013, based on the BYOD phenomenon.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Which is the Most Popular Smartphone of Them All?
While the iPhone continues to be the most popular mobile phone as in the past few years, the second and third place have been interchanged. As per the Q4 2012 Mobile Workforce Report compiled by iPass on surveying 1,700 international employees, the BlackBerry and Android phones enjoyed 32 percent and 21 percent usage respectively in 2011. This changed to 26 percent and 34 percent respectively by the end of 2012.
Involvement of IT Administrators with Employee-Owned Devices
Mobile phones provided by companies were previously managed by the IT administrators within the company. This meant that the applications downloaded on these phones were restricted, and Internet usage was monitored. In some cases, certain websites were blocked using firewalls. This year, more employees are carrying a personal mobile phone to work. With each employee having his/her own preference of phone, IT administrators will find it difficult to manage the wide variety of devices brought into the office. This will give employees more freedom over the way they use their mobile phones while at work, unless the IT department gets more involved in handling BYOD.
Data Security Concerns
With users starting to share the same phone for personal and official purposes, they are quite likely to merge applications instead of maintaining two profiles. This will put data security at risk. In a survey jointly carried out by Computerworld and CIO, it was found that 64 percent of IT organizations give very high importance to mobile data security. Organizations will need to find new ways of protecting their company confidential data.
Always-On Internet Connectivity for Users
Employees are starting to see more benefits of having access to data anywhere, anytime. They are giving more priority to continuous, fast Internet access as compared to previous years. Their concern about the price charge by service providers to grant this access is diminishing, as long as they have high-speed, always-on connections. This lack of concern for cost could be because their organisation was footing the bill until now, but this policy could also change in 2013.
The BYOD trend among corporate users is catching on in a big way in 2013. They may already be using their work phones for personal reasons, and vice-versa, without the consent or the knowledge of the company’s IT administrative team. Companies cannot afford to ignore this fact anymore. They need to embrace the BYOD concept as soon as possible and put new smartphone usage policies in place at work. The company will benefit from the reduced cost overhead of buying and maintaining phones for all its employees. Employees will be encouraged to explore newer technologies and apply them to work. With BYOD, faster business decisions will be made, quicker turnaround times will be experienced, and an improved means of communication will be in place.