Mobile devices to change workplace and telco attitudes: Cisco

Study shows mobile technology is the most important technology in people’s lives

The growth of mobile devices is changing the workplace landscape and the way employees interact with media, Cisco A/NZ chief technology officer, Kevin Bloch, said.

According to Bloch, the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016 found that by 2016 the average Australian will have two or three Internet enabled devices; smartphones will make up 35 per cent of total mobile data traffic (compared to 15 per cent at the end of 2011); and tablets will account for 9 per cent of total mobile data traffic (0.86 per cent at the end of 2011).

Bloch said that such statistics underscored the changing attitudes of employees within the workplace as they bring in their devices to the office.

He claimed that social networking, in relation to BYOD, is globally blurring the boundaries between work and home.

“Supporting this is the Connected World Survey, that showed 60 per cent of respondents saying that mobile technology is the most important technology in their whole life and a third of them will sacrifice their salary in lieu of having access to social media,” he said.

Bloch said 56 per cent of the respondents mentioned that they will not work for a company if its had policies relating to social media that meant they could not use it. And 81 per cent said they would like a choice in the mobile devices that they use at work.

At the intersection of all of these trends are mobile service providers.

“It’s only going to get worse from here on. In my view, it’s the tablets that are changing the attitudes of telcos in embracing Wi-Fi as a way to offer users consistent portable connectivity,” he said.

Mobile operators have traditionally viewed unlicensed spectrum and Wi-Fi as an extension of their fixed broadband business or as a complementary hotspot business, but not as a viable extension of their mobile business.

But now, according to Bloch, when tablets came in, their view of Wi-Fi changed.

Heh highlighted four use cases of complementing unlicensed spectrum – offloading, enterprise productivity, sports games and retail shifting to multi-channel.

“In Australia, we have a good mobile network as compared to other countries. But, as a result of that, we have become complacent in the need for Wi-Fi coverage. I think that’s going to change now because these use cases are going to benefit the telcos,” Bloch stated.

He said the issue always goes back to commoditising bandwidth, which could eventually cost telcos.

“BYOD will have this second wave coming through and that is going to impact customers. We call it the move from Information Technology (IT) to Business Technology (BT),” Bloch said.