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How new mobile devices affect the company’s efficiency

August 25, 2010


Michael Grossi is director of Altman Vilandrie

By Michael Grossi

There is a multitude of new mobile devices and hardware with embedded wireless connectivity being introduced into the marketplace by leading equipment manufacturers that could potentially revolutionize the efficiency of the enterprise.

Many of these devices have the capacity to help enterprises significantly reduce costs, increase efficiency and capture real-time data from the field.

The scope of functionality for a lot of these new devices continues to widen and, consequently, the enterprise is increasingly relying on this technology for more applications.

Enterprise Strategy Group recently surveyed 174 IT professionals about their organizations’ use and adoption of mobile devices and found that:

• Thirty-seven percent plan to significantly increase their spending plans for mobile devices and mobile device support

• When asked about the importance of mobile devices to their organization’s business processes and productivity, 38 percent defined them as “critical,” while 48 percent labeled them as “important”

• Twenty-eight percent stated that their organizations are already developing applications for mobile devices, while 34 percent plan to develop applications for mobile devices.

Speed trip
Clearly as the utility of these devices continues to grow, enterprises will spend more on these technologies, applications and support.

Additionally, the operational efficiency of enterprises will be especially enhanced by mobile devices following the roll-out of 4G networks.

The 4G technology will provide increased bandwidth and transmission speeds, along with capacity, to allow for faster and more seamless communication. This will allow for the sharing of larger data intensive files to be transferred across the network at much higher speeds.

As an example, more video files will be taken in the field including video relay of an event or issue from the field, as well as two-way video conferencing, such so that headquarters personnel can weigh in with possible solutions to rectify the situation.

One area in which some of the leading equipment manufacturers are engaged in a mobile horse race is machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.

Many of these manufacturers are aggressively positioning themselves as leaders in this market and aggressively investing in R&D to produce wirelessly enabled hand-held devices and chipsets that will soon allow for M2M communication.

More specifically, they are developing enterprise applications that leverage Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable mobile to mobile transactions.

Tablet cure
NFC has the potential to dramatically increase the operational efficiency of enterprises.

An example of this would include mobile handheld financial and credit card transactions.

In a recent joint venture, several U.S. carriers including Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile are working on developing a mobile payments ecosystem on their own, whereby cutting credit card issuers such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover out of the mix.

A growing amount of mobile devices are now offering increased functionality for remote sales applications.

In particular, as the variety of tablet-based device offerings such as Apple’s iPad and Hewlett-Packard’s Touch Smart tm2 continues to widen, there is a reciprocal zealotry growing in the sales force market for relying on these devices.

With tablets being wirelessly enabled, a salesperson can now perform functions that were previously unattainable.

In many ways, the design and functionality of tablets are ideal for the typical salesperson that is constantly mobile and in need of a streamlined device that suits their needs.

These tablet-based devices also offer enterprises with the additional functionality of training their sales forces through e-reading and e-learning applications.

Salespeople can undergo Web-based continuing education while making calls and visits with customers.

Utility focus
Another industry where we can anticipate a significant increase in mobile device adoption is the utilities sector.

Wireless devices will be offering enterprises increased efficiency for monitoring utility usage in the field via mobile diagnostic applications for meter reading.

The build-out of the smart grid will further expedite the manufacturing and availability of these offerings.

Utility company employees will have the capacity to remotely capture diagnostic data from the grid via NFC technology.

What is more, these devices will enable utilities to send data to a utility company’s main office via wireless transmission.

There are a number of companies focused on developing solutions for the Smart Grid ecosystem, including GE and IBM.

One example of this is electronic meter reading where both M2M mobile solutions and linkages with billing and support systems will be required.

Michael Grossi is director of Altman Vilandrie & Co., Boston. Reach him at

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