It's hard to believe that less than two decades ago, mobile phones were exactly that - devices that allowed us to make and receive telephone calls whilst mobile. Laptop computers were luxury items usually only enjoyed by company owners and directors. In those days, smartphones, iPads and tablet devices may well have been fanciful, futuristic devices created by 'Q' and used by James Bond.
Today, it's estimated that South Africa's smartphone and smart device usage exceeds 20 million people, with double-digit annual growth.
New smart devices are constantly appearing on the market and these devices are becoming more and more affordable. As such, mobile smart devices have become essential communication tools both at work and in the home. Smart device usage spans multiple demographics and LSM bands.
The ubiquity of mobile smart devices comes with both pros and cons.
The 'always on' connectivity of smart devices simplifies communication, enables highly productive business processes and provides instant gratification in many respects. However, this comes at a cost. These 'cons' include infiltration by hackers and cyber thieves, a loss of personal 'downtime' and a lack of productivity due to time wasting on games, apps and social networks.
For these reasons, it's crucial - especially for businesses - to implement some form of mobile device management solution.
Industries that can benefit from mobile device management include:
Manufacturing industries seem to be leading the way in moving to mobile devices to control stock, customer orders, shipping and so on. Often different production sectors use mobile technology to manage each separate facet of the production process. This creates a requirement to integrate, control and manage these devices.
IT support companies and corporate IT managers are already using smart mobile IT devices and applications to monitor client workstations remotely. These support professionals are using mobile devices to interact with and control client computers in order to proactively maintain efficient networks, as opposed to troubleshooting and 'firefighting' problems after they've occurred. This minimises time wasted 'on the road'.
Any industry in which personnel are encouraged or allowed to use their own devices to connect to the corporate network will benefit from a mobile device management solution. When personnel connect their smart phones and other devices to the corporate network, they expose the network to risk.
Although the South African restaurant and hospitality industries are generally still behind the international curve, we're starting to see a large-scale uptake of technologies like SnapScan and Zapper. These are mobile solutions that simplify payment processes at hotels and restaurants.
The transportation industry would also benefit from mobile device management solutions. If you've tried using the brilliantly efficient and user-friendly UBER.com, than you'll understand exactly why traditional taxicab operators are up in arms and running scared.
So, why is mobile device management necessary?
Consider the following scenarios:
Your delivery truck is running late and a customer is getting frustrated that his shipment hasn't arrived at his warehouse. Wouldn't be great to be able to track the location of the vehicle by locating the driver's mobile device?
An employee's connected mobile device has been stolen. As a result, access to confidential company information is potentially exposed. You need a device management solution that enables you to remotely clear the device of all information and then 'lock' the device.
You need to ensure that malware and spamware cannot infect connected mobile devices and consequently spread throughout the corporate network.
These days, company personnel are constantly connected to the corporate network. Should one device become infected with malware or spamware, the entire network could become infected. This could have with potentially devastating results for your business.
Cloud-based remote management applications can assist in all of the above scenarios, as well as provide a host of other great proactive productivity facilities. With more and more industries set to move to smaller, more compatible, more powerful and easy-to-carry devices, we expect the demand for mobile device management to increase. To learn more about remote management tools, check out our white paper here.