How attached to your mobile are you?
Something terrible happened yesterday. It was earth-shattering. Almost catastrophic.
I accidentally left my phone at home.
I’m OK now, though. I’ve just about gotten over it. But for one day that seemed like an eternity, I felt completely cut off from the world. What if I had an emergency? What if I missed an important call? Am I going to be less productive today because I’ve forgotten my mobile? Those were all the thoughts that went through my mind. Gladly the world didn’t end and the other tools at my disposal allowed me to remain productive.
I’m not the only one. Many of us have grown so attached to our mobile devices that we feel a bit lost without them. Travel on the London underground or any train and literally everyone is glued to some sort of mobile device; not all doing work mind you. We simply can’t take our eyes off these gizmos.
There’s even a name for it: ‘nomophobia’, meaning ‘fear of no mobile’. In fact, a recent study from Iowa State University includes a questionnaire to measure just how attached you are to your smartphone.
Try the questionnaire yourself – just answer each question on a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) and add them together to get your total score.
Take the Test:
- I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
- I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
- Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
- I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
- Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
- If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
- If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
- If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
- If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.
If I did not have my smartphone with me…
- I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
- I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
- I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
- I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
- I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
- I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
- I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
- I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
- I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
- I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
- I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.
20-60: Mildly attached
60-100: Moderately attached
100+: Very attached
Bring Your Own Device
It’s not only academics that have realised how attached people are to their mobile devices. Shrewd businesses have figured out that when employees can use their personal devices for work – whether in the workplace or on the move – they’re happier and more productive.
That’s why an increasing number of organisations have already or are launching bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives. Studies by Forrester Research found that 31% of midsize companies were planning to implement a BYOD deployment model for smartphones within a year, and 34% planned to implement a BYOD deployment model for tablets in a year or more.
Of course, security is an important consideration when there are so many new devices of different kinds being used. Forrester found that it came top of the list of unified communications features that businesses wanted. Real-time voice, video, instant messaging and web collaboration are also must-haves.
Many customers are at different stages of the BYOD journey. Cisco IT has documented the lessons learnt already, allowing me to choose which devices I want to use. Exciting times are still ahead, after the most recent Cisco and Apple partnership announcement.
The challenges and concerns around a successful BYOD strategy have already been overcome. Customers need to carefully build a plan for BYOD and Collaboration and address multiple questions some of which may include
- What is the experience we want to give their employees?
- Do we qualify selected/tested devices to make it easier for users to buy from or allow a specification based policy with a best effort support policy?
- Is the network capable of carrying the extra traffic?
- Do we have enough Wifi coverage?
- If we allow the use real time communications and web collaboration tools how do we manage and maintain those tools?
- Will we have enough bandwidth to ensure other business applications on the network don’t suffer performance issues?
- Do we control where employees download business apps from?
- How do we ensure the apps are up to date?
- Do we have the extra capacity on our real time infrastructure to handle extra collaboration sessions from mobile devices?
- Do we need to deploy any training when rolling out these new devices? Cisco used “Genius Clinics” where employees could come and bring their devices to be on-boarded by Cisco IT teams and other employees.
- Could the mobile device be the only communication device my employees carry around the office? Or would it be in addition to desk phones, tablets, phablets and wearables?
- How do we check the devices are secure and protected against malware and viruses?
- Do we create a “Company App Store”?
- How do we authenticate users once whether inside or outside our organisation to provide a seamless experience to Cloud or on premise applications?
- What applications are we going to give employees based on their job role?
- We’re in a shared office environment that offers building Wifi, is that capable of meeting what we need in terms of quality, user experience, and security?
- Have we thought about device management, security and sandboxing?
- Do we have to make an employee sign a clause, addressing the issue if/when the employee loses their device, the company has the right to wipe it, due to the storage of company data?
- What new services can we offer our customers and employees with mobile platforms?
- How can we have the same security policy on a wired as well as wireless network?
- Could we use employee mobility to track corporate buildings/real estate usage?
- How does roaming work seamlessly between my wireless network to ensure my real time call stays up, when I’m moving around in the office?
- Could we handoff a realtime call from a mobile to a deskphone or video unit?
Looking at the current trends and research, it is very likely that we’re only going to become more and more attached to our mobile devices, and even more dependent on them in our professional and personal lives. For the Millennials entering the workforce, they were born in a generation where they almost live their lives on their mobiles. That’s why it’s vital to integrate mobile devices into our lives and workplaces as seamlessly, securely and productively as possible. With wearable mobile devices and Internet of Things also making inroads from our personal lives it won’t be long until those too will be mainstay in the workplace. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for someone to invent a feature that stops you leaving your phone on the kitchen table!
You can learn more about bring-your-own-device in Forrester Research’s report, Top Unified Communications Trends for Mid-size Businesses. To download the report, simply register here.