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Find out what the future holds for mobile and how it can help your business move forward.

Most of us will struggle to imagine a life without mobile phones, but the reality is, it’s only been in the last two decades that mobile phones as we know them, have been in existence.

Since their emergence in the mid-2000s, smartphones have become increasingly versatile and have incorporated a growing range of capabilities, which means that the 85% of UK adults who own a smartphone can not only stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues, they can read the news, navigate a car journey and even stream a film with ease.

The smartphone has dominated our personal lives for the past decade, and this is only set to increase in the coming years as advances in technology cement the smartphone’s place in almost every aspect of our modern lives.

Where are we now?

Future of mobile - Modern Workforce

Today’s smartphones are a far cry from the cumbersome models that were first introduced back in the 1970s. When Martin Cooper, a Motorola executive, made the first phone call from a handheld device weighing in at over a kilogram in 1973, he could not have imagined just how widespread the technology he helped to develop would become in the future;

“We had no idea that in as little as 35 years more than half the people on Earth would have cellular telephones, and they’d give the phones away to people for nothing.”

Now, with 80% of the UK’s smartphone owners using their devices daily, it should come as no surprise that mobile technology is increasingly used as a tool to increase the productivity of workforces.

Deloitte’s 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey reported that over half of survey respondents currently in employment use their smartphones for at least one work-related business activity; with the most common uses being email, voice calls and calendar management, and we can expect this figure to rise significantly in the near future.

Flexible Working on the Rise

Flexible working offers numerous benefits to both businesses and employees; from reduced costs and increased productivity through to improved morale and reduction in staff absences. As employees no longer need to be chained to their desks, businesses can look further afield when hiring to ensure they are recruiting the best talent.

Under UK law, employees have the legal right to request the option of flexible working from their employer in order to meet their personal needs; this could include allowing working parents to be more flexible with childcare arrangements or giving staff the opportunity to work from home. Advances in mobile technology have helped to give modern workforces the tools to work remotely from almost any location.

In fact, a study by Regus has shown that with the demand for a better work/life balance, over half of the workers now report that they work at locations outside of their main office for at least 2.5 days per week.  But with these new ways of working come a different set of challenges.

Keeping smartphones secure

Future of mobile - Secure mobileThe number of British employees embracing flexible working, combined with the advanced capabilities of smartphones, can pose serious challenges for IT and security managers responsible for managing and protecting mobile devices. There is also added pressure due to the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which means that companies could face large fines if they fail to adequately protect and secure customer data.

A lost or stolen company mobile phone now has more serious ramifications than being just a piece of kit to be replaced. It can present the risk of a huge breach of security as many mobile devices and apps are now used to access sensitive corporate data.

A mobile device management (MDM) solution can help businesses stay in control of their mobile devices. IBM’s MDM product, MaaS360, offers a host of features including business management reporting, real-time monitoring of usage and the option to remotely wipe devices, amongst other functions and settings. Learn more about the benefits of mobile device management.

What does the future of mobile look like?

Just as Martin Cooper could not have predicted just how prevalent the use of mobile phones would become in such a short time span, we can only anticipate just how ingrained the mobile will be on the workforces of the future.

Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives in both a personal and work capacity, and Deloitte predicts that by 2020, 90% of adults in the UK will own a smartphone so this shows no sign of changing.

Rapid advances and innovations in mobile technologies, such as improved sensor technology, iris scanning, wireless functionality, self-repairing screens and augmented reality (AR) demonstrate just how far mobile can be taken and how far it has come since the days of the first portable phones.

The government has announced that mobile networks will start to roll out 5G technology in 2020, which will allow UK businesses to harness the power of much faster upload and download speeds and take advantage of better support for many devices simultaneously; helping the UK to stay at the forefront of digital transformation.