Enterprise mobility broke boundaries and set records in 2016 – and this continues in 2017. With employees now leading the smartphone revolution, businesses are subsequently finding ways of leveraging the latest mobile (and other) technology to improve processes, reduce costs and connect staff. And as the mobile landscape continues to shift, understanding the latest trends, and how they can be incorporated, has never been so vital. Here are the 4 massive mobility trends you should keep top of your radar.
1) TIME FOR WEARABLES
As employees become more accustomed to using wearables outside of the workplace, businesses are now finding ways to integrate the technology internally, to facilitate a number of job tasks. Since 2014 the number of businesses doing so has nearly doubled, with even more projected this year and beyond. We’re now seeing wearable technology being used in many sectors. In healthcare, the NHS have trialled a wearable wristband device as a ‘digital coach’ for patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. In construction, the Redpoint Safety vest ensures that workers don’t venture into unsafe areas. In manufacturing, the HoloLens smart glasses can give workers on-the-job training on how to fix equipment, saving time and resources.
As wearables continue to gain traction in the workplace, there are a number of steps for you to follow when deploying the technology. Step one, identify the business need/issue for wearables (such as employee safety or resource management etc.) and outline your main objectives. Step two, ensure that all employees are comfortable using the technology via staff research and thorough training. And finally, step three, address the possible data security risks as outlined further on.
2) IoT: FANTASY BECOMES REALITY
IoT and connected technology have revolutionised how we carry out tasks, obtain key data and interact with others. Amazon Dash marks the advance of IoT among consumers and enterprises are beginning to follow suit. By 2020, 24 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be connected to the internet, driving an estimated $6 trillion in IoT spending over the next five years.
You have two options available when it comes to IoT deployment; either creating a bespoke solution or opting in for an off-the-shelf product, which is entirely subject to the business need at hand. If connected technology is required to undergo top-level tasks, such as temperature reporting or GPS tracking, it’s best to integrate technology that already exists on the market. If the business need is more in-depth, using a bespoke manufacturer (who’ll be able to add features/functionalities accordingly) and building your own hardware is advised. Once this has been established it’s then time to create a line of communication between yourself, your software and hardware developers, to scope out its feasibility.
3) BYOD & THE FLEXIBLE WORKING “TIPPING POINT”
The new wave of Generation Z Millennials is now entering the workforce, with them bringing new perspectives on working patterns and mobile technology in general. These employees will be significantly more mobile-savvy than their older counterparts, and will have used smart technology on a daily basis whilst at home, studying and/or in previous employment.
In turn, this means that more employees will be actively pushing new technology and remote working policies upon their employers, to help complete tasks outside of the workplace. This year we’ll witness over 50% of organisations offering flexible working as standard, and rising above 70% in 2020. Clearly, you need to find ways of reaching and engaging this new set of employees, including addressing their current working-hour structure and the digital tools they provide to staff. As employees will expect additional flexibility and demand the software to make their jobs easier, this should be placed as a high priority going forward.
4) BREACHING THE UNBREACHABLE
The data breaches of Three Mobile, Tesco Bank and Sage in 2016 showed that even the largest organisations are vulnerable to attacks. With enterprises now offering more technology to both their employees and customers, there’s a growing need for them to take the necessary safety precautions to safeguard their data.
Worryingly, not all enterprises have been taking these steps to do so. It’s been reported that only one in three businesses adopting wearable technology are taking the time and resources to actively prevent data leaks, making them exposed to outside intruders and internal problems. Arguably this could be because businesses don’t fully understand the technology they’re adopting. Although businesses are now a lot more cautious, they need to understand where data breaches can occur by analysing previous examples, and most importantly, speaking with industry specialists. Apps, wearables and IoT have the capability to transform businesses for the better, but only if they aren’t compromised.
Before adopting the above technology into the workplace, it’s important that you firstly analyse the business need, outline your ROI objectives, and how it will be rolled out to your organisation. Although mobile has the capability to improve business processes, reduce costs and engage employees, a lack of strategy will be evident in the results that you see. Fully establish this strategy from an early stage, and the rest will fall into place.
Paul Jarrett is the managing director and founder of Sonin, a leading UK app development agency. With over 13 years of experience within the mobile industry, Paul now leads a team of expert mobile strategists and developers, creating bespoke apps for enterprises and consumer use. Since founding Sonin in 2009, he has worked with global multinationals to national companies and funded start-ups in a range of industries, including financial, logistics, construction, retail, marketing and HR. Follow him on Twitter @paul_jarrett and connect with Paul on LinkedIn.