Smartphone myth-busting: in search of the truth...

by Alyson Edmunds: Mobility Expert at Telefónica UK

Ofcom’s 2015 Communication Market Report shows smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online. 33% of people use smartphones for personal browsing compared to 30% who stick with their laptop – so why are some businesses still so afraid of smartphones and are subsequently missing out? It’s a question I’ve been pondering recently and one I just can’t seem to answer. Having been a mobile worker for many years, my smartphone is just an extension of me. When I’m at work, when I’m travelling or even when I’m at home it feels unnatural to be without it. I’m one of those people those who check Facebook and my email before I’ve even got out of bed.

And I won’t be getting in trouble for admitting that as I know the corporate mobile policy I’ve signed up to. It allows us to access to social media, especially as it’s becoming increasingly relevant for work. However, this is one of the key concerns for businesses considering a smartphone roll-out. Will my employees use it for things they shouldn’t? Will they rack up huge data charges? Although I understand these concerns, businesses must remember we operate in a digital world where connectivity aids growth.

So this is where our smartphone myth-busting guide comes in. Businesses should be aware that they can control exactly how much data their teams are consuming. Mobile data optimisation provides a simple web-based portal, allowing them to limit, block and cap the usage of any device in a number ways to avoid the shock of high bills. Plus, you can decide who to enrol in the service so perhaps it’s just the international roamers you need to manage.

Another concern is security. A study by Freeform Dynamics found that approximately 65% of businesses have a mobile policy in place but only about 47% of businesses have a mobile device management (MDM) platform. But if businesses embrace MDM they can have peace of mind that employees are working securely. I know my device is connected to a MDM platform and our corporate security enforces a passcode so it feels secure for work data but also my personal content.

The main reason businesses shouldn’t deny their employees smartphones, is because productivity gains are there for the taking. Our recent YouGov research revealed mobile devices save UK businesses 9,400,000 hours a week! And I can see how. Yesterday, thanks to my smartphone, I was able to check the train timetable, redeem a free coffee on O2 Priority, answer emails, download some files, respond to a message on Yammer and of course send a few texts and answer some calls. I also took advantage of free wifi on the train, in the office and in the hotel so it was a seamless experience and actually quite low data usage. The only time I used my laptop yesterday was to book a holiday!

But this isn’t revolutionary; it’s what we have all come to expect – to have the freedom, flexibility and convenience of information at our fingertips. Although when I hear the old Nokia ring tone I do feel nostalgic, I do not miss feeling unconnected from the world outside calls and texts.

Read our smartphone myth-busting guide to learn more.

Or follow me @alyfairburn for more insight into business mobility.