Mobile technology is indispensable in the modern workplace. Due to its versatility, it offers a range of benefits, but also comes with considerable risks to the business. It is essential to consider both advantages and disadvantages of using mobile technology in business.
What is mobile technology?
Mobile technology is exactly what the name implies - technology that is portable. Examples of mobile IT devices include:
- laptop, tablets and netbook computers
- global positioning system (GPS) devices
- wireless debit/credit card payment terminals
Portable devices utilise many different communications technologies, including:
- wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) - a type of wireless local area network technology
- bluetooth - connects mobile devices wirelessly
- 'third generation' (3G), 'fourth generation' (4G), global system for mobile communications (GSM) and general packet radio service (GPRS) data services - data networking services for mobile phones
- dial-up services - data networking services using modems and telephone lines
- virtual private networks - secure access to a private network
These technologies enable us to network mobile devices, such as phones and laptops, to our offices or the internet while travelling.
Advantages of mobile technology
Benefits of using mobile technology for business can manifest in:
- higher efficiency and productivity of staff
- the quality and flexibility of service you offer your customers
- the ability to accept payments wirelessly
- increased ability to communicate in and out of the workplace
- greater access to modern apps and services
- improved networking capabilities
Mobile devices can link you directly into the office network while working off-site. For example, you could remotely:
- set up a new customer's account
- access existing customer records
- check prices and stock availability
- place an order online
Rapid developments in cloud technologies are boosting the use of mobile devices in business, supporting more flexible working practices and accessing services over the internet. For more information, see cloud computing.
Disadvantages of mobile technology
Main disadvantages that come with the use of mobile technology in business include:
- Costs - new technologies and devices are often costly to purchase and require ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
- Workplace distractions - as the range of technologies and devices increases, so does the potential for them to disrupt productivity and workflow in the business.
- Additional training needs - staff may need instructions and training on how to use new technology.
- Increased IT security needs - portable devices are vulnerable to security risks, especially if they contain sensitive or critical business data.
If you are using mobile devices for business, you should take precautions to ensure that the devices, and the data they can access, remain safe. See more on cyber security for business and securing your wireless systems.