As the mobile workforce expands and gains acceptance across the board, industries that serve professionals are changing their offerings to meet new demands. Recently, efforts to turn automobiles into mobile offices have been making a big splash. Automobile manufacturers are partnering with tech companies to change the driving experience drastically (don’t worry, cars will still have CD players). The new technology serves a range of professional use-cases, whether it’s dispersed workforces that drive around servicing clients or simply individuals who spend extended periods of time on the road commuting every day.
Here are a few of the notable recent developments transforming cars into mobile workplaces:
At CES this year, Chrysler unveiled it’s UConnect Access Via Mobile offering. It’s part app integration system and part telematics system. These cars feature a built in 3G connection to provide drivers with a Wi-Fi hotspot. (link)
High Speed LTE:
If 3G doesn’t cut it for you, Audi will soon release the first vehicle to have an available high-speed LTE wireless connection (part of the Audi Connect package). (link)
While it’s unclear how car safety officials will react to this one, QNX (a RIM subsidiary) has partnered with Bentley to produce a concept Continental GT fully outfitted with video conferencing. (link)
Some cars, most notably the new Tesla Model S, feature unbelievably large screens. The Tesla’s screen looks like a large iPad in the front of the car, and has full web-browsing capabilities. (link)
In addition to built in features, electronics makers are getting into the auto-office industry with a range of products. For instance, portable printers that mobile workers can mount in their cars. These printers use direct thermal printing, so they dont even need ink or toner, and can run on a car’s power system. (link)
Infographic by the folks over at Moovweb.
The acceptance of mobile tech in governments and the consumerization of the enterprise made a breakthrough with the New Zealand police force earlier this week. The National Business Review reported that, following an 11-month trial involving 100 staff members, the force has decided to outfit their officers with smartphones, and are opting for Apple devices over competitors. Thus, iPhones and iPads will become the tech weapon of choice for 6000 New Zealand law enforcement officers.
This is part of a larger global trend we’re seeing in government, and Law enforcement officers are a fantastic example of a mobile workforce employed by the state. The stakes of coordination among police officers are obviously very high, so it makes sense that they be outfitted with devices that allow for rich, instant, communication and collaboration. The police estimate that the investment will provide productivity benefits of $305 million over the next decade.
Of the 6,000 officers getting iPhones, 3,900 of them will be receiving iPads as well. Stephen Crombie, New Zealand Police CIO, pointed to the benefits of increasing consumerization of technology in large organizations: “The trial showed the most useful tools for officers were small devices for making phone calls or text messaging, accessing email, and accessing information and photo databases, and a larger [device] such as a laptop for staff who need to do more data entry.”
Image Credit: Euthman
It may not be easy to imagine our elected officials opting to telecommute from home, but it could be reality in the near future. Governments are starting to notice the way mobile technology empowers workforces to get their jobs done from anywhere. In cities, states and countries around the world, bureaucrats and officials are becoming part of the post-PC mobile workforce. While these new arrangements target more than just the digital aspects of remote work, smartphones, GPS tracking, desktop video, and access to cloud files are at the heart of the developments. A recent piece by David Israelson in The Globe and Mail examines Canada’s public sector and the efforts of other governments to harness their employee’s mobile potential.
Although formal regulations are still far and few between, there have been some major steps in that direction:
- In 2010, U.S. Congress passed the telework enhancement act requiring heads of government agencies to establish a policy for employees to network, determine who is eligible, and communicate these policies.
- The British deputy prime minister announced a plan to extend the right to be properly flexible to all employees with children, including those in the public sector.
- Sweden’s Agency for Government Employers set a framework for including flex time provisions in negations over work hours.
Read Israelson’s piece here.
The growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace has received a ton of attention over the past year. This cool infographic from TrackVia illustrates the statistical growth of BYOD and how it’s changing the way we work, empowering organizations to harness their mobile potential.