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Feb 25, 2013, 01.11 PM IST | Source: Forbes India

Smartphones at work

Time was when working in a large enterprise meant you were at the cutting-edge of technology. Then, spearheaded by the iPhone and apps, the focus of innovation shifted from the office worker to the consumer

Smartphones at work
Rohin Dharmakumar/ Forbes India

Time was when working in a large enterprise meant you were at the cutting-edge of technology. Then, spearheaded by the iPhone and apps, the focus of innovation shifted from the office worker to the consumer

Now employees can ‘BYOD’ (Bring Your Own Device) to work. A world of possibilities beckons.

1. Personal Communications

Many modern smartphones already have the hardware chops to allow high-quality video calls with colleagues; or seamlessly copy a file from a colleague by touching your phone to hers. Expect the software to catch up in the next 12-24 months too.

2. Many Personas
One of the nifty features in Microsoft’s new Windows Phone OS is a ‘Kid’s Corner’, where kids can play games and watch videos without having any access to their parent’s data. Given the ubiquity of personal smartphones in the workplace, expect phones to offer multiple ‘personas’, each with its own secure set of data, apps and functionalities separated by Chinese walls.

3. Social Networks, in Real Life
Thanks to more accurate indoor positioning systems that will soon find their way into smartphones, you will be able to walk into a popular trade event and ‘scan’ the floor with your phone’s camera to see how many of your contacts from LinkedIn are around. Many online-only business relationships will thus move into the real world.

4. Seamless Business Travel
A lot of apps today help business travellers with booking tickets, downloading itineraries, navigating a new city. Expect seamless solutions that do all this and more—calling cabs, translating foreign languages in real time, tracking expenses. Broadband-based telephony services will do away with that scourge of foreign travel—roaming.

5. App-ification of Enterprise Software
Enterprise software applications are bloated, sluggish and poorly designed. With smartphone usage at work exploding, there will be a shattering of existing corporate applications into smaller, better-designed apps that do one or two things really well. Like a really good app for reporting, for email, for tasks and activities, etc.

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