Employees are bringing more and more mobile devices into the workplace — the so-called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. Organizations that encourage the use of these increasingly sophisticated smartphones and tablets for real-time, mobile collaboration are seeing measurable lifts in productivity, teamwork and innovation. No longer “nice to haves,” the right mobile devices and strategy are now essential to effective collaboration.

Smartphones and tablets have leveled the playing field with desktop computers, offering the same capabilities and functionality without tying users to a physical office. Larger mobile touchscreens, simpler user interfaces, more reliable Internet connections, and better video and voice over IP (VoIP) features are enabling more effective communication, faster decision-making, greater flexibility and easy content sharing.

While a fragmentation of options and a lack of standardization have held back mobile collaboration to a degree, Gartner analysts say most collaboration applications will be equally available on desktops and mobile devices by 2016. The emergence of BYOD, cloud file sharing capabilities, and more readily available mobile applications are expected to drive more widespread adoption of mobile collaboration, according to Gartner.

The Shift from a Web-Centric to App-Centric Mobility

The previously web-centric mobile environment has moved to an app-centric model as mobile applications have become the primary portal for accessing information and performing specialized tasks. This model has extended to the business world, where enterprises are developing apps designed to enhance specific job functions as well as support their customers.

Research from Forrester shows that 60 percent of organizations are updating their infrastructure to support mobile applications. Employees are demanding anytime, anywhere access to video and web conferencing, content and screen sharing, instant messaging and presence.

A less-than-optimal user experience has resulted in these features being underutilized on smartphones and tablets. However, design and functionality improvements are now enabling organizations to fully leverage mobile collaboration.

Choosing the Right Mobile Collaboration Apps

Before any discussion about applications begins, you need to assess how your organization collaborates and what tools are being used. Identify strengths and weaknesses, and understand the advantages and risks of utilizing your existing investments. Analyze your most basic business requirements and what capabilities are lacking. Determine how specific mobile collaboration apps will support and enhance specific areas of your business operations.

While mobile collaboration can dramatically improve how you do business, a poorly planned implementation will create more problems than it solves.

The Future of Mobile Collaboration

The next generation of mobile collaboration is being driven by user experience and flexible workflows. Users expect to be able to seamlessly multitask on different devices and use single sign-on to access multiple applications. They want to create a document on their tablet, and edit and email it from their smartphone. Hardware- and software-based security features such as encryption and fingerprint scanning will become more sophisticated, but not at the expense of user experience and flexibility.

IPC Technologies offers a variety of collaboration tools that can transform your employees’ smartphones and tablets into powerful business communications platforms. Let us help you take full advantage of mobile collaboration.

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