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