We’ve said it before: the death of the PC is greatly exaggerated. But that’s not to say that the PC’s reign as the business world’s sole computing device isn’t over, or that businesses won’t need to adapt to this brave new world in which tablets and smartphones play an increasingly important role in day-to-day business operations. In fact, a recent Forrester survey found that more and more information workers are using tablets and smartphones to do their jobs, and that one in five US adults owns a tablet – double the number from just a year ago. Sometime this year, the number of people using smartphones will creep north of the 150-million mark, and, increasingly, workers are supplying their own devices. It’s time to recognize that the “Bring Your Own Device” trend is no longer just a fad – it’s a reality of the modern work environment.
So we’ve established that the PC is no longer the only game in town, but what does that mean for your business?
1. It’s important to recognize this as an opportunity, not a problem that needs to be solved. Smartphones and tablets can make your employees more productive by enabling them to share information anywhere and anytime, seamlessly integrating your company across time zones and continents. And because smartphones are increasingly supported by video conferencing solutions, remotely hosting meetings is easier than ever before.
2. It’s vital to understand that as more of your employees begin supplying their own devices, it will become more important than ever to ensure interoperability across multiple platforms. According to the Forrester survey, nearly one in three North American information workers regularly use three or more devices, and half of all information workers use their smartphones for work – devices that need to be secure and reliable. Your IT department will have to be more flexible than ever in order to support this diverse array of devices.
3. Finally, it’s important to recognize that not only will more of your own employees have their own devices, but that more of your clients and customers will as well. Anything outward-facing will need to be adaptive – that is, able to work across different operating systems, screen sizes, browsers, and interfaces. Your clients will expect to be able to interact with your company from a myriad of tablets and devices, and if they’re not able to, they may take their business elsewhere.
According to a recent comScore study, smartphone usage has cracked the 50 percent barrier, and Forrester projects that by 2016, somewhere in the neighborhood of 210 million Americans will have a smartphone and 115 million will own a tablet. It’s time to recognize that the business world is changing, and that the most successful companies in the next four years will be the ones that are able to adapt to this changing market.
– Dan Lothringer
Dan is a contributing writer for VideoConferencingSpot.com.