Future Technologies and their Impact on Mobile Workforces
Businesses looking to capitalise on Big Data, IoT and Sensor technologies
Although a wide range of exciting future technologies are being watched closely, there is clear evidence from research that businesses are adopting and looking to capitalise on the benefits of Big Data, the Internet Of Things and Sensor technology for their mobile workforces.
As these technologies are deployed, we move ever closer to the age of Edge Computing, where processing power is required at the edge of the network, much closer to where data is collected.
This means the role of the mobile workforce computing device becomes even more critical in the gathering, analysis and communication of data, and the provision of services and in improving productivity.
Independent research, carried out by Opinion Matters and commissioned by Panasonic TOUGHBOOK, questioned 250 mobile technology buyers for businesses in the UK.
When asked to rate the importance of technology trends for use by their mobile workforce, buyers rated Big Data the most important, closely followed by IoT and Sensor technologies, including atmosphere, temperature and biological sensors.
The main drivers for the technologies were improved business efficiency and productivity.
Unsurprisingly, the mobile device buyers thought that their IT department would benefit most within the organisation from every technology trend. However, looking at the second department to benefit most threw up some interesting insights.
Respondents believe business management would benefit from Big Data, the IoT and Wearable technology; the Sales department would most benefit from virtual reality developments; drone technology would have the biggest impact for Logistics; and Research and Development would benefit from augmented reality, sensor technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Looking further into the future, over the next three years, buyers could clearly see the impact on their mobile workforces of Big Data to improve service offerings, improve processes and reduce costs.
With Internet of Things, they saw the mobile workforce benefits as improving processes, improving service offering and helping to improve the functionality of mobile devices.
When they considered how mobile devices would need to change over the next five years to take advantage of these new technologies, buyers said that they would prioritise improvements in device and data security (43%), processing power (31%) and communications for faster data transfer (31%).
Mobile device buyers also predicted the increasing importance of foldable tablets over the next five years and the continued rise of rugged device as critical tools for mobile workforces. However, the largest group of buyers did not expect to change the type of mobile devices they were buying until two-to five years out.
Change already underway
The adoption of smart technologies for mobile workforces already looks well underway. Many buyers said that the implementation of smart watches, wrist bands and drone use had already been completed or was imminently planned for mobile workforces.
Although cost (27%) and reliability (19%) were the biggest issues preventing organisations from adopting new technologies faster, it seems business desire to embrace new technology for the mobile workforce will continue apace.