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2010 Is The Year Of The Smartphone Surge: Is India ready?

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As per this Forrester report, 2010 is going to be the year of the Smartphone. The report focuses on how smartphones improve productivity, and how enterprises benefit when their workers use smartphones for supplementing their work.

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While it is indeed true that the smartphone revolution is primarily driven by enterprise segment and not consumer segment, I believe the consumer has a big role to play in the future as prices go down and more choices become available.

Till a  year back, I might have waited for my company to provide me the smartphone of their choice; today I want to to own a smartphone of my choice and let the company reimburse its monthly bill/one time costs.

The report does touch upon this aspect and advocates a bring-your-own-smartphone strategy where the one-time and recurring costs of the smartphone can be shared between the enterprise and the individual and the smartphone used for both business and personal use.

Even a  few years back, smartphones were more of a status symbol; but now they have become a must-have productivity aid.

Employees, aka consumers, are mad about smartphones, attracted by the ability to email, collaborate, and work with documents from anywhere. Fourteen percent of information workers across the US, Canada, and UK already use smartphones to do work today, and another 64% would like to. That demand, coupled with the willingness of some employees to share the cost of a monthly mobile plan, sets the stage for a surge in the use of personal smartphones for information work. Information and knowledge management professionals should immediately call for a formal bring-your-own (BYO) smartphone strategy, establish a sliding scale for when to reimburse employees, and pressure mobile carriers to cut costs across corporate-liable and personally liable plans.

The fact that 14% of US/UK information workers use smartphones is surprising; I’m sure the comparative figures for India are much less. However I’ll not be surprised if most of the information workers in India too believe that a smartphone would increase their productivity and  are more than willing to have one.

Still, as long as a smartphone is see more of as a status symbol and a perk and not as a productivity aid by even the IT departments of the companies, the proliferation of smartphones in India will continue to lag behind. But I am  optimistic, with price barriers lowered, a bring-your-own smartphone strategy should definitely work wonders. Perhaps one can even have tax-incentives built (like monthly reimbursement of mobile bills) into the system to encourage more smartphone usage.  What do you think? Is that strategy a viable one in the Indian context?

  1. […] 2010 is year of Smartphones – No doubt about that. Infact, the number of smartphones sold in first half of 2010 beat numbers […]

  2. Mobile pokie says

    It was not the year. And it will not be 2011 either. many marketers attach too much expectation to smartphone – the reason is obvious: they do not see any potentioal for growth in other areas. it is a blown up ballon – I have had smartphones form the beginnigs and the breaktheough has not come yet – if it ever comes. Listen to those reasonings and high hopes back in 2008 or 2009. Even Android phones will not make that breakthrough. How often do you use your mobile applications? They say there are more than 100.000 already – but barely anybody use them more than once. So what are we talking about? A mobilphone is a mobilphone – I would never replace my desktop for small gadgets. Even tablets are a nuisence – did you ever try to carry them? Laptops were a hit in 2010 – cheap versions were sold everywhere. But 2011 may change everything…

  3. Jairaj Jatar says

    Hi,
    I really wonder whether smartphones can overcome the hype. The main need of such phones is style and access to social networking sites. My observation of my colleagues and friends shows little usage of corporate mail and much more of IM.

    Regards,

  4. Madhav Shivpuri says

    I think my answer is “it depends”. If the employee uses the smartphone productively then yes, it can save costs.

    Another aspect is information security on these devices. So, the enterprises approving usage of smartphones have to test that such technologies work with other corporate technologies and also comply with their information security guidelines for password protection, screen locking when not in use for certain time, encryption when accessing or transmittiing confidential information or while performing financial transactions etc.

    In other words, smartphones should be treated as a corporate asset like an office pc or laptop and handled with due care. Since people could keep smartphones in their pockets, they may fall off their pockets, be pick-pocketed etc., which may compromise the information stored on them or information that could be accessed through them.

    So how “smart” are the companies approving their use and the smartphone user himself/ herself will probably matter a lot.

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