BYOD suffers through weak Wi-Fi


As BYOD rises, Apple's iPhone takes over from laptops and tablets as device of choice, yet poor connectivity frustrates users

Bring your own device (BYOD) is continuing to be embraced by companies, with Apple's iPhone the device of choice for workers. However, poor Wi-Fi connectivity is impacting worker productivity, according to a new study.

Mobile workers have access to technologies that allow them to work from anywhere, however more than half of all respondents to the survey stated they have problems connecting to Wi-Fi networks in key locations such as airports, airplanes and hotels.

The quarterly Mobile Workforce Report, released today from iPass Inc, provider of mobility services for enterprises and telecom service providers, shows that while companies continue to embrace BYOD, mobile workers often experience limited and frustrating connectivity choices, such as expensive one-time Wi-Fi day passes or costly mobile data services.  Altogether, 42% of mobile workers questioned agreed that excessive charges and restrictions in monthly plans force them to limit their data usage, negatively impacting productivity. The report shows that a quarter of mobile worker respondents charge their mobility costs to expenses, and 54% would pay for a Wi-Fi roaming plan.

However, even with all these challenges, Wi-Fi remains the connectivity option of choice for nearly two thirds of all mobile worker respondents. 'We are seeing that mobile workers are becoming more cautious about exceeding data caps and deliberately limiting their data usage, which is hindering productivity,' said Evan Kaplan, chief executive officer, iPass. 'Clearly, enterprises that provision mobile workers with devices, or leverage a BYOD strategy, need to ensure that workers can connect when and where they want, and work on-the-go as cost-effectively and productively as possible.' The corporate BYOD trend that allows employees to use their own personal devices for work continues to grow. Nearly two thirds (62%) of mobile workers stated they already use their personal smartphones, while 72% believe their personal devices should be enabled for work purposes. Consistent with this trend, the report suggests there is a growing diversity in the types of devices that mobile workers use. Apple is a rising trend in the mobile device of choice. While in 2012 laptops were the preferred device for mobile workers, the top choice is now an iPhone. Only 12% of mobile workers named laptops and notebooks as their preferred mobile device. Even MacBooks, which are typically viewed as a desirable high quality device, experienced a decline.

This change could be attributed to the fact that more corporations are embracing BYOD. As more organisations continue to implement BYOD, workers are carrying fewer devices. The report states that mobile workers are carrying 2.95 devices on average, compared with 3.5 in 2012. Upon further analysis of device choices, the report shows that the Samsung Galaxy and Windows 8 tablets are starting to gain momentum in the tablet market. Altogether, 28% of mobile workers stated they plan to own a Samsung Galaxy tablet within the next six months, while 17% of workers say they will have a Windows 8 tablet within the same time period.  


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