Businesses 'should embrace' smartphone dependency

By Dawinderpal Sahota
04 Aug 2011 View Comments
AlertMe smart meter display on a mobile phone

The proliferation of smartphones is transforming consumer behaviour and how we do business, a new report from Ofcom has revealed, and businesses need to embrace this trend.

The regulator has carried out extensive research into the communications market and found that there has been a huge growth in smartphone take-up in the past 12 months, which is affecting the way we work.

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Twenty-seven per cent of UK adults now claim to own a smartphone, and the technology is blurring the line between work and social time.

Thirty per cent of smartphone users say they regularly take part in personal phone calls during working hours, compared with 23 per cent of regular mobile phone users.

However, they are also more likely to take work calls while on holiday or annual leave; 70 per cent of smartphone users say they have done this, and a quarter (24 per cent) have done so regularly, compared with just 16 per cent of ordinary mobile phone users.

Smartphone users also say they are more dependent on their phone than regular mobile users. When asked how addicted they are to their mobile phones, 37 per cent of adult smartphone users admitted to high levels of "addiction" to their phone, with this rising to 60 per cent of teen smartphone users.

As a result of this increased dependency on smartphones, employees are expecting to be able to bring and use their own devices in the workplace, and businesses need to facilitate this to get the most out of their workforces, according to Neil Armstrong, marketing director at the unified communications provider Timico.

"Employees don't want to have to learn to use different devices depending on whether they are at home or work. Businesses could look to cut costs by enabling staff to use one, single mobile device for work and play," he said.

"There's an opportunity for employers to accept and embrace this development, rather than fight what looks increasingly like a losing battle.

"Security or management concerns have led to blanket bans on personal devices in the past, but there is now a wealth of effective management tools and support which means that businesses of all sizes can benefit from reduced new device spend and improved productivity, without exposing themselves to these perceived risks."

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