Mobile Devices in the Enterprise – The Lines Continue to Blur

lines blur

As recently as a few years ago, there were very big differences between what smartphones were used for and what tablet devices were used for.  Smartphones were primarily used for tasks such as reading email, checking social media sites, taking photos, playing quick games, sending text messages, and sometimes even making actual phone calls.  Tablets were used for tasks such as writing documents, watching movies, and other activities that were accomplished better on a device that was more powerful than a phone and also had a bigger display.  However, the differences between what each type of device can be used for seem to be rapidly disappearing.

The Android platform was the first one to start seeing “large screen” phones come to market.  These devices had ever-larger screen sizes that allowed users to better see and interact with apps on their phones and start doing some of the tasks that had previously been performed better on tablets.  Along with the bigger screen sizes came faster, more powerful processors which also helped allow more tasks to be done on the phones.  Recently, Apple joined the “big phone” club with the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  These devices have much larger screens than previous iPhones and also have faster processors allowing them to do more than previous generations of the iPhone.

As the distinctions between dedicated tablet devices and smartphones continue to blur, and the size/power/performance of the smartphones continues to increase, it becomes more feasible for businesses to continue looking for ways to take advantage of Bring Your Own Device situations that will allow employees to perform more work tasks using the phone that they already own.

Being able to use phones for tasks such as field inspections or other mobile data capture means there is one less extra device that people need to carry with them.  This may not seem like something to jump up and down about, but everybody likes having one less thing to worry about during their day, especially as the use of mobile devices in the enterprise increases.  And if being able to use tools such as Mi-Forms on their phones helps people get their jobs done faster, easier, and with less hassle, then I do think that’s something to get excited about.

~Mitch Hamelau