Mobile Darwinism Impacts the Workforce as Devices and Social Media Proliferate

iPass, provider of mobility services for enterprises and telecom service providers, today published its quarterly Mobile Workforce Report, which examined the impact of ‘Mobile Darwinism’ in the workplace, as technology and data consumption are evolving faster than business infrastructure and mobile networks are able to adapt.

The report found a 25 percent decline in cellular mobile network satisfaction among respondents, as mobile device usage, social media adoption and data consumption are on the rise. Only half of those surveyed are satisfied with their data coverage and just a third are satisfied with network speed.

At the same time the number of devices carried for work has grown to 3.5 devices from 2.7 in 2011 – this includes at least one laptop, a smartphone and a tablet. In fact tablet adoption has grown to 64 percent of those surveyed in 2012 from 41 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

According to the report, business users are within range of a Wi-Fi network 61 percent of their day. Mobile employees are taking advantage of these Wi-Fi networks, with 58 percent of respondents reporting they actively use Wi-Fi more than two hours a day on their smartphones, 73 percent on their tablets, and 83 percent on their laptops. Yet, according to a recent Gartner study, by 2015, 80 percent of newly installed enterprise wireless networks will be obsolete due to initial installation of non-scalable technology.

“Mobile employees are seeing a significant reduction in service levels due to the rapid rise of data consumption,” said Barbara Nelson, chief technology officer at iPass. “An enterprise’s adaptation strategy should include investing in better management tools to monitor usage, upgrading infrastructure to address the new capacity requirements, licensing outside network services and requiring employees to use inexpensive and secure Wi-Fi connections when possible.”

This quarter’s report found that 67 percent of mobile workers use social media for work. Half of respondents use it to network with colleagues or business contacts, 30 percent to learn about a work topic, 26 percent to communicate with contacts, prospects or candidates, and 18 percent to research a prospect or candidate. As enterprises increasingly integrate social media into their business activities, LinkedIn is preferred as the social network of choice with 70 percent of mobile workers using the site in a professional capacity well above Facebook at 18 percent, Twitter at 17 percent and Google+ at 14 percent.

The report also revealed that 98 percent of mobile workers report that they multi-task. Yet 35 percent of mobile workers feel less productive when they multi-task, but do it anyway. The typical mobile worker juggles three or more tasks at a time, and 45 percent say they can handle five or more tasks at a time. And while the smartphone continues to be the device of choice – the laptop is unanimously the single best device for multi-tasking according to the survey respondents.

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