iPass Inc., the Wi-Fi and enterprise mobility services provider, has published its quarterly Mobile Workforce Report, which found that more employees are using their own smartphones for work and they rank connectivity cost as the least important factor when choosing a mobile network ― creating the potential for a "bill shock" response by enterprises that don't have cost control policies as part of their BYOD plan.
"With more workers turning to their smartphones for work, data usage is growing rapidly across multiple devices. As this BYOD trend continues to explode, not just in the US but around the world, enterprises are seeing the effects both in rising productivity and in rising network costs. Employees are using more data with more devices to work longer hours, anytime and anywhere ― and this report shows they're willing to connect with little regard for cost," said Evan Kaplan, chief executive officer at iPass. "This lack of cost sensitivity has the potential to dramatically impact corporate budgets. In order to gain the business benefits of the proliferation of consumer-driven IT, enterprises must stay in front of the BYOD challenge by providing cost-effective connectivity for mobile workers wherever they roam."
Supporting surging growth in the BYOD trend, the report shows that the proportion of workers' smartphones provisioned by employers has declined from 58 to 33 percent, while self-provisioning has risen to 46 percent; up from 42 percent last year. The report findings also indicate that the smartphone is at the center of the mobile workers' universe, ranking only behind wallets and keys in terms of the most important items in their lives, and their network of choice is Wi-Fi.
Kaplan continued, "The idea of a universal computing device that supplants other devices has been on the radar for decades. What's interesting is that while the smartphone is ranked only behind the wallet and keys in importance, it's not displacing mobile workers' reliance on tablets or laptops. In fact, our data indicates that smartphone users also use more data on other devices, revealing an interesting phenomenon ― essentially, the more you use the more you use."
As employees have increasingly taken ownership over their own devices for work, the profile of the most popular smartphones in the enterprise has also changed. The iPhone remains in the top spot, with ownership among 53 percent of the mobile workforce; up from its 45 percent share in 2011. With 34 percent ownership (up from 21 percent in 2011), Android has taken over second place from BlackBerry, which is now the device of choice for just 26 percent of mobile workers (down from 32 percent in 2011). Despite the billions that Microsoft has invested in revamping and marketing its mobile OS, Windows Phone remains in the last place of the major operating systems, with just five percent of mobile workers currently using it. When asked about their other mobile devices, 59 percent of mobile workers said that they expect to rely on tablets more in the coming year, with the iPad remaining the dominant device as the preference for 54 percent.
The report also found that Wi-Fi is the network of choice for 52 percent of mobile workers, but poor connectivity is impacting their efficiency. One out of every two (50 percent) of mobile workers complained that finding simple access to Wi-Fi networks outside the office is a hindrance to their productivity, whereas in 2011, only 33 percent of mobile workers described this as a barrier to successful mobile working; indicating that there is a growing reliance on Wi-Fi connectivity among the workforce. The second largest barrier to mobile working was described as access to applications on the go. Thirty-four (34) percent of respondents named application access as a problem, up from 25 percent last year, indicating an ongoing need for mobile technologies that offer support for mobile employees.
For more statistics and findings from this quarter's mobile workforce report, visit: http://mobile-workforce-project.ipass.com
About the iPass Mobile Workforce Report
The iPass Mobile Workforce Report is published quarterly. This report was based on a survey of over nearly 1,700 mobile workers at 1,100 enterprises around the world between September 27, 2012 and October 19, 2012. The iPass Mobile Workforce Report can be found at http://mobile-workforce-project.ipass.com