We’re living in a mobile society, from payments to entertainment almost everything can be done on the go. As a business how do you help your employees be productive in a mobile world? It all comes down to providing them with the right tools and these days that means three options: phone, phablet, or tablet. But even with a limited set of choices it isn’t an easy task to decide which solution best meets your employees’ needs.
If your company employs a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, then the phone is certainly the best option. According to the Pew Research Center, 90% percent of American adults own a mobile phone while 83% of 18-29 year olds and 74% of 30-49 year olds own a smartphone. With a majority of your employees already smartphone savvy, it becomes the clear choice for a BYOD environment. They will be able to use their existing devices to stay connected while on the go, addressing critical issues or catching up on items they missed. Your employees would not want to carry another device around with them wherever they go, especially if the device is the bulkier phablet or tablet.
Larger than the standard smartphone but still small enough to carry in a pocket, the phablet is a relatively recent entrant into the mobile device market. For on-the-go employees who need to do more than just access email or view documents, the phablet might be the answer. The phablet offers increased screen space and an enhanced ability to work on a variety of files. Some phablets come with styluses which allow even more detailed interaction with work files. This combination of features is ideal for employees who often have to update documents, annotate drawings, or view complicated images in a hectic environment. Industries like construction/architecture, healthcare, or event management would be prime beneficiaries of the features a phablet offers.
A range of phablets have recently emerged to bridge that size gap between smartphones and tablets: the iPhone 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy Note Plus, the Nexus 6, and the LG G3 Stylus. While this post is focused on the phone-phablet-tablet choice, there are plenty of reviews out there discussing the relative merits of each device.
Employees working in the same physical space but in a highly collaborative environment may benefit most from a tablet. The main drawback for a tablet is the lack of mobility, you can’t put it in your pocket and it’s near impossible to use with only one hand; however in the right environment it offers a number of benefits. With the largest screen size of the three, tablets are ideal for working with files of all types, viewing intricate images, and editing rich media such as video. Tablets enhance collaboration due to their ease of transport around the office and are ideal for design-intensive industries like advertising or fashion. Tablets can also provide significant value in manufacturing environments with complicated operating procedures. Employees can bring a tablet with them to a workstation or machine and quickly access any work instructions they require. Finally, a tablet can also be ideal for a retail business as salespeople can use it to easily access inventory lists, detailed product specifications, or additional product options available online.
Be Wary of the Operating System
The variety of mobile options allows for a lot of flexibility in the workplace, but it also presents an assortment of challenges. The variety of ecosystems available can limit employees ability to collaborate on projects and share documents easily. In the United States, smartphone operating system (OS) market share is competitive between Android (53.1%) and Apple (41.6%) with Windows (3.4%) and Blackberry (1.8%) acting as minor players. Worldwide smartphone OS market share on the other hand is heavily skewed towards Android (84.4%) with Apple, Windows, and BlackBerry lagging far behind (11.7%, 2.9%, and 0.5% respectively). The market share of tablet OSs is similarly divided. With a highly fragmented market, productivity apps that are only native to a single OS, such as Android-only apps, cannot be relied on for seamless workflow between your employees. The challenge for businesses is not how to get their employees on mobile, it’s how to make working on mobile a seamless experience whether they prefer Apple or Android, or another less dominant OS. Do you implement a single OS across your organization? Or do you choose software that operates across OSes? Our CEO Michael has written a great piece on this subject on Forbes.
Lua helps our enterprise clients tackle this challenge by providing a platform that allows for messaging, file sharing, and communication across iOS, Android and the Web, without users telling a difference. Whether your employees use a smartphone, a phablet, or a tablet, the Lua platform supports all screen sizes allowing users to communicate no matter what their device preference is. By using Lua, your business gains enterprise-grade communication (with the level of security we know you require), without the worry of incompatibility between your employees’ devices. In order for your employees to get the job done you need to provide them with the right tools. To allow them to get the job done from anywhere, the right tools have to work across the operating systems you support, and across devices.