Marten Bütow
28. June 2017 0

Mobility changes the workplace

Incremental technological progress? I came across this term in the white paper on “Work 4.0” from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The proponents of this viewpoint are described as technology pessimists. And you can find ample evidence for this; after all, more business models flourish and crash than ever before in our dynamic times. Many megatrends burn up like meteorites in the harsh atmosphere of reality.

Yet if the discussion turns to mobility, then you are hard pushed to find anyone that describes it as a bubble. The aforementioned white paper also includes a study by Cisco that underpins this. In 2020, 69 percent of the world’s population will have a cell phone, 68 percent will have electricity and 36 percent a car. Since October 2014 the number of mobile devices exceeded the world’s population. Incrementally the picture is somewhat different – at least from my viewpoint.

Mobility is one of the megadrivers for the transformation of work. Not that long ago you worked with network connected desktop PCs. Then came (at first really chunky, low-power) laptops which meant we could work on the move – at least with Word and Excel. At the same time we could talk to colleagues over the phone if we had questions on our offline Excel worksheets. Now we can choose whether we use a laptop, smartphone or tablet. A host of services are available on any device. Our offices are now on high-speed trains, trams, in Starbucks, DB Lounges, hotel suites etc., etc.

In Germany, 54 percent of the working population works on the move. IDC forecasts that 75 percent of workers in Europe will be mobile through 2018.

Mobility becomes the new standard

Mobility has been launched as an add-on to stationary devices and is now preparing itself to become the new standard. Providers are already publicizing that they can also manage the traditional laptop when it comes to managing mobile devices. But let us be honest, at present that is a vision. For now, we are satisfied with less as users of mobile services than as users with the “fat” classic device.

You can’t simply erease what we have achieved over more than three decades of desktop management. Yet the idea is right: We need a “hybrid” approach to a hybrid device situation. Managing mobile and stationary, irrespective of device, on a single platform throughout the entire life cycle. And not setting up two separate environments with different tools in order to continue the silo mentality in the 21st century too. The journey must take us – for efficiency reasons and user-friendliness alone – toward standardization.

Our white paper “On the way to the liquid work era,” which you can download here, provides further impetus. For live discussions we would also recommend you check out the “Virtual Workplace Evolution” Congress. You’ll find more information on the event here.

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