Report Focuses on Mobile Workers' Trends and Usage

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Barry Levine avatar

Among the many issues about the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend: employees who provision their own equipment rank connectivity cost as the least important factor in choosing a network. Companies without cost control policies for the BYOD crowd may well be shocked by the first batch of network charges.

That’s one of the key findings in the Q4 Global Mobile Workforce Report from WiFi network provider iPass, on trends and usage among mobile business users.

Next: BYON

Only 18 percent of those surveyed pay for their own smartphone service plan, which is actually a 12 percent increase over 2011. The report said that, now that BYOD is firmly entrenched in the enterprise, companies should get ready for Bring Your Own Network (BYON) as the next area of concern, as businesses are forced to deal with global connectivity issues for their traveling BYOD employees.

Another reason that companies will have to begin paying more attention to employees’ provisioning of networking, the report said, is that most respondents -- half of those surveyed -- indicated that poor connectivity is having an impact on their efficiency.

But most employees prefer Wi-Fi as their data network of choice, according to the report. Currently, mobile workers have Wi-Fi access about 60 percent of the time, and iPass, which provides Wi-Fi service, said that is expected to grow to 100 percent in near future.

Learning Opportunities

The report confirmed that the BYOD movement -- along with its potential problems for IT departments -- is growing. For example, only 33 percent of smartphones are currently being provisioned by employers. Self-provisioned smartphones are now 46 percent of the total, up from 42 percent in 2011.

Android Passing BlackBerry

When they have a choice, more employees are choosing Apple’s iPhone -- 53 percent, an increase of 8 percent over last year. And, as Research in Motion prepares the release of its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system and devices, the report provides another bit of evidence that the enterprise market may be slipping away from that company. iPass found that, over the past year, Android moved past BlackBerry into second place as the most popular smartphone platform for businesses.

Inch by inch, Windows Phone-based devices are slowly moving up in business market share, although the mobile platform still places last among those used by mobile workers. The report said that only 5 percent of mobile employees own a Windows Phone handset, although 8 percent expect to have one before the end of next year.

The newest report by the Redwood Shores, California-based company was based on 1200 responses to a survey of mobile workers at hundreds of enterprises around the world, and conducted in June and July.