Mobile Stacks Down in Q1

By Stephanie Blanchard, Assistant Editor — April 19, 2013

In 2012, mobile employees carried an average of 3.5 devices, according to iPass, in its recently released Mobile Workforce Report. In the first quarter of 2013, that number is now 2.95. What does it mean?  Mobile Enterprise spoke with Chris Witeck, Senior Director of Product Marketing, iPass, about the findings.


“Do I take a laptop when I travel?” Witeck said. That’s what mobile employees are asking themselves more often these days, now that the tablet is widely popular.

However, the bigger drive in this recent decrease is actually the smartphone, he said. Normally, many workers carry an IT managed device (such as a BlackBerry) along with a personal device, such as an iPhone or Android-based smartphone. With BYOD increasing, and being supported, he noted, there is less of a need to carry multiple smartphones. Therefore consolidation ensues.

Android Jumps
If employees had to choose just one mobile device, what would it be? “We saw a nice jump for Samsung devices as an alternative to iOS,” he said of devices in general. In terms of preferred tablets, a large number of mobile workers now use the Samsung Galaxy.

That’s on the end-user side. When IT managers were asked what devices they were supporting, Android saw a notable jump from 24% in 2011 to 44% today. The enterprise trends are in line with consumer data, which shows Android is taking almost 70% of the market and Samsung the leading Android player.
“We’re always interested to take a look at enterprise filter,” Witeck said. “What we see there is iOS is very strong and Android is growing rapidly, but iOS is still very strong.”

BYOD Rules
While smartphones are increasing as a direct correlation to BYOD, IT is starting to provision tablets in greater numbers. Whether that is for laptop replacements is anecdotal, he added. What is not anecdotal is the fact that enterprises have decreased their support of BlackBerry over the last year.

“BYOD gives the choice to the user,” Witeck replied. As a result, iPass is not seeing a lot of loyalty to BlackBerry.

In addition, BYOD is having an effect on IT policy, that end-users are now influencing IT policy in greater numbers. According to the 2013 iPass/MobileIron Mobile Enterprise Report, 56% of enterprises changed their corporate guidelines within the past year to be more accommodating of employees’ personal devices.

Data Dump
When employees carry their own smartphones to work, they also tend to carry their own data plans, at their personal expense. More than half of all companies (53%) are not reimbursing worker for data plans. For those that do, 17% do it with a stipend model.

Witeck also sees corporate liable data plans mirroring consumer trends, moving away from unlimited plans due to congestion on the network. T-Mobile might be alarmed by that, since the carrier is banking on such promotions to lure in new consumers.

Regardless, the biggest worry for both employee and enterprise is exceeding data caps, along with the associated and excessive costs. “Devices consume a lot of data,” Witeck noted. That’s not going away. Rather, it’s a trend he expects to dramatically increase over the next few years.

IT managers agree. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed thought their mobility costs would go up over the next 12 months. In addition, 57% thought their mobile data costs in general would increase in the next year, with 8% saying costs will rise by more than 25%. Reasons cited were broader smartphone use, 3G (and 4G) data usage and just an overall increase in mobile employees.

Bye-Bye BlackBerry?
The survey was taken before BB10 had become widely available. It’s possible the next quarter results will show different findings. But iPass doesn’t think so. In fact, the company sees BlackBerry as being phased out. According to the Enterprise Report, the iPhone has become the most popular smartphone in terms of corporate IT support.

What about Windows? Microsoft products tend to appeal to the enterprise and many analysts are seeing the Windows Blue as a gamechanger in the tablet space. According to iPass, only 34% of IT managers plan to support BlackBerry 10, compared to 45% who plan to support Windows Phone 8 devices going forward.

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