Friday 22 September 2017

Forget laptops...Irish businesses tap into their smartphones - whether they want to or not

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Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Irish businesses are gradually switching over to phones as a main business tool whether they want to or not, according to new research.

Results released by the polling firm Behaviour & Attitudes show that a third of Irish businesses would pick their phone over a laptop as their one and only business tool if forced to choose.

The research - conducted among 350 business owners and commissioned by Three - also claims that over three-quarters of business people feel they can stay on top of their workload with just a smartphone.

However, with just one in 50 workers not using a smartphone, the poll brings up some work-life balance issues.

Mobile working now makes executives feel that they are "always on" and available.

Other recent research indicates that business executives are struggling to leave work in the office, bringing it on holidays, into the bedroom and even into bathrooms.

Despite this, Irish business people still feel that the availability of mobile working systems can actually give a better work-life balance, with 60pc of those asked saying as much.

Meanwhile, small businesses in Ireland are pushing their phones to do more of their daily work activities.

The B&A poll says that over a third of small business executives now use their phones for storing and managing files.

That's a lot more than the one in five (19pc) of bigger business executives who do so.

Larger companies often have more restrictive policies on what work-provisioned phones can or cannot store and use.

Nevertheless, two in four Irish workers now use their phone as a 'tethering' device, wirelessly connecting a laptop of a tablet to the internet through the use of their phone.

This figure is substantially higher than in previous years, as awareness of how to tether a phone (simply by flicking a switch in settings), together with a relaxation of mobile operators' policies against tethering, combined to boost phones as broadband routers for other devices.

In Ireland, the growth of tethering has decimated mobile 'dongle' broadband subscriptions, with such subscriptions falling by more than a third in recent years.

Elsewhere, one in four of us say we now use our phones for video-conferencing purposes, which are now common thanks to apps such as Google Hangout and Skype.

And 42pc say that business apps form a mainstream part of their working day, with office software, banking apps and other specialist applications now commonly used.

The survey also found that iPhone users engage in more advanced activities than Samsung and other users.

"Apple users are considerably ahead of Samsung users on a range of areas," according to the survey findings.

However, a spokeswoman for Three declined to give a further breakdown on Apple's lead over Samsung in Ireland, citing commercial sensitivity.

The net effect of our increased use of smartphones is that two thirds of company executives say that they are now more reliant on mobile data than in previous years, according to the B&A research.

Irish Independent

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