It’s amazing how mobile Internet and the devices that use it have brought on a literal transformation of the consumer environment. From cafes to bus stops, waiting rooms and even the comfort of home, mobile users are tapping into what’s proven to be a game-changing resource.
So what does this mean for business? For small businesses, it means that mobile Internet will undoubtedly transform the way consumers and businesses interact for 2014 and beyond. In fact, the transformation has already begun in a number of ways.
The widespread availability of fast, reliable and affordable mobile Internet is a key ingredient in this stunning transformation. Major cellular service providers are strengthening their commitment to LTE 4G mobile Internet technology as a result. For instance, T-Mobile is one of several companies that has modernized and expanded its 4G network to not only cover most of the United States, but also to accommodate growing levels of data traffic.
With faster and more reliable connections also comes the ability for employees to stay connected to the workplace – for better or worse. While many will appreciate the quantum leap in productivity and availability, this transformational aspect unfortunately blurs the boundaries between work and personal time.
Mobile apps are also transforming the way enterprises do business in two distinct ways – by offering businesses a broad range of productivity tools to get things done quickly and more efficiently and by giving businesses the opportunity to market to loyal and prospective customers with an infinite variety of mobile apps. By 2017, Portio Research estimates that over 4.4 billion people worldwide will use mobile apps by 2017, with half of those users originating from Asia.
Yet another transformational aspect of mobile Internet involves the growth of cloud-based apps. With better, faster connections and more refined devices, businesses can finally turn to cloud providers for applications, storage and server needs. This reduces and even eliminates overhead in the form of in-house tech support personnel and software developers. The cloud allows businesses to seek out and quickly utilize new solutions and cultivate a majority-mobile workplace.
For instance, Microsoft’s Office 365 offers business users a way to access, maintain and create critical documents as they would on a full-fledged version of the Office Suite from virtually any location and with any mobile device.
If your company already has a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy in place, chances are you’re already ahead of the curve. According to VMWare’s Mobile Secure Desktop Brief, 49 percent of respondents expect their employers to favor employees using their own personal devices with IT approval within the next 3 to 5 years. With mobile Internet as an indispensable tool for most enterprises, it is expected that more employees will favor using their personal devices for workplace tasks rather than use standardized devices approved by the organization.