There has been a lot of press coverage recently about new devices that have been released into the increasingly competitive mobile device market. A few of these devices are ground breaking, others are evolutions of long standing concepts. Below we’ll attempt to look at the new developments and discuss their real world application.
A trend in smartphones is that the screen is now becoming larger. A category of device which has been increasingly popular, the Phablet (Phone Tablet) which is a small tablet with telephone functionality, is now becoming less of a niche product, with smartphones incorporating ever larger screens. A demonstration of this is that the iPhone is now seen as a compact smartphone, with Sony, Samsung and HTC, amongst others, launching compact models which have comparable screens to the iPhone 5s. Devices are also becoming more interactive, with biometric sensors for security and various monitors for activity and health, the HTC One (M8) for example incorporates a package developed by FitBit to monitor your activity. Increasingly smartphones are being used as cameras and this has been taken into account by the manufacturers in their latest models, the Sony Xperia Z2 allows 4K (4 x high definition) video recording, the HTC One (M8) has two sensors to simulate the depth of field effect that has been traditionally the mainstay of professional cameras and the Nokia Lumia 1020 range has a sensor that’s a rival to many point and shoot cameras.
All of the above is fine if you use a smartphone as a personal device, but what do the latest devices offer to the business customer? Anybody who’s used a phone to browse the internet will know that the main limitation of the device is the size of the screen, a larger screen either allows more information to be displayed at once, or will allow you to increase the size of the text to make reading easier. A larger screen also has the benefit of making it easier to work on documents and to review information when out and about. The drawback, of course, is that these devices are larger to carry and in some cases are heavier. A positive side effect of larger devices is that the manufacturers have room to install larger batteries, which when combined with the latest screen technology, mean that the expected battery life of the phone is longer. Following the recent Heart Bleed security breach, the security of mobile devices and services is at the forefront of the news. When combined with trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) this becomes a greater priority for businesses. Various vendors have created apps to manage this scenario, such as Samsung Knox, which allow for a partition to be created on the device that can be remotely managed by your company’s IT provider, whilst safeguarding your personal data. One device that takes this further is the BlackPhone. This is a device that has been created specifically to protect the data stored on it. It runs a customised version of Android, known as PrivatOS, and includes multiyear subscriptions to various secure cloud services, such as encrypted backup whilst providing a more granular control of third party apps.
As screens are becoming larger, the requirement for a more convenient way of finding out who is calling, the sender of an email or SMS has resulted in the development of a new category of device, the Wearable. Probably the most famous member of this family at the moment is Google Glass, this device is worn in the same way as a pair of spectacles and allows the user to interact with their smartphone without taking it out of their pocket. The device allows you to use voice commands to request and display information in a prism that is within your eyesight at all times. For more information about this device please look at the article we ran in the Winter Newsletter.
Another member of the wearable device family is the smartwatch. There have been rumours that Apple have been developing an iWatch for many years, however, many other manufacturers have bought their devices to market already. Samsung have a range of different wearable devices, most of which need to be used with one of their own phones to allow full functionality, Sony are on the second generation of their smartwatch, and Pebble have many different models of smartwatch on the market. At the simplest level these devices tell the time, will show who is phoning and will list your messages. At the more complicated end, Google Android Wear devices have similar functionality to the Google Glass device but they’re worn on your wrist.
What is the application for all of this in Business?
The latest technology is all well and good for the geeks amongst us, but in the business world how can these developments help people to work more efficiently?
One company that we haven’t discussed, but which is central to the development of portable technology in business, is RIM, who are better known under the brand name of their devices, BlackBerry. These devices opened the eyes of the business world to portable communication, with the ability to send and receive email central to the device. Other vendors have since taken the idea and developed it further with devices that are able to provide access to email and calendars but now provide facilities, some using third party apps, to connect to business phone systems, video conferencing systems and the ability to view edit or create documents on the move. Microsoft have recently released a version of Office that works on Android and iOS, which integrates with Office 365 to provide access to documents stored in the cloud. Google’s Apps suite is able to integrate with Android systems, and can be used with Windows Mobile and iOS to provide enterprise email, calendars and other functions simply out and about.
How do I take this technology and apply it to my business?
The latest technology is all well and good, however, unless it has been setup correctly a smartphone is just a paperweight. If you think that the above will help you work more efficiently feel free to contact us at Telemat for an informal discussion.