The telephone was one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 20th Century – but this is the 21st Century and now the phone is mobile. Leigh Moody, UK Managing Director at SOTI briefly mourns the death fo the landline, but shows just how much better mobile is
The world is becoming smaller and the need to be connected whenever, wherever you are, is growing stronger. The advent of smartphones, and features such as Apple’s FaceTime, have made it increasingly easier and cheaper to connect with people across the world. This change in consumer behaviour marks the death of arguably one of the most ground-breaking inventions of all time – the landline telephone.
The death of the landline
Statistics support the view that the landline is dying a slow death. In the UK, the percentage of homes with fixed cable phones has fallen from 81 to 76 percent since 2014, and 80 percent of people under 30 do not have a landline. There are many reasons behind this – from the cost of landline rental to a lack of mobility – but ultimately the sheer range of alternative communication available today is a key contributor. Generations Y and Z (those born in the mid 1980s to early 2000s) have grown up with mobile phones and a variety of Internet applications at their fingertips. The growing appetite for these platforms is likely to hammer the final nail in the coffin for landlines, as Over the Top (OTT) mobile applications and Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) become the more popular choice of communication for younger generations.
While there are still many households in which a landline exists, a survey of 2000 UK consumers by broadband provider Relish found that just one in five people use their landline for making regular personal calls. More than half of the population keep the landline solely for accessing the Internet. However, advancements in satellite, fibre cable, as well as the ever expanding wireless 4G network, have meant that in many cases the landline is no longer needed to stay connected.
Businesses are becoming more mobile
The trend in the business world is mirroring that of the consumer world. As business becomes more mobile, so does the technology of those who use it. According to recent research by the communications regulator Ofcom in 2010, UK firms had more than 10 million landline numbers, but by the end of last year that had fallen by 35 percent to 6.4 million. This is a pattern that is being seen industry wide. Earlier this year it was announced that by the end of summer, all UK PwC offices will have scrapped all landlines and adopted a mobile focused approach.
Aside from significant cost benefits, businesses that embrace mobility are set to benefit from an unprecedented level of connectivity between employees and their customers.
A study involving 8000 global employees and employers conducted by Vodafone in 2016 found that three quarters of companies worldwide have adopted flexible working policies. Mobile technology allows employees to work almost anywhere and still have access to the company’s documents and resources. The ability to be reached when outside of the office means that businesses who implement flexible working schemes, as well as employees that work remotely or are on the go in their line of work (e.g. delivery drivers, healthcare professionals on home visits), are always able to stay connected.
Smart companies are doubling down on mobile technology to not only reinvent their own business, but also to crush the competition. They are embracing the concept of ‘mobile-first’ beyond its legacy consumer focus into a core part of their business strategy.
The mobility challenges
The transition to mobile devices places huge pressure on businesses to keep their internal communications secure, efficient and visible. The explosive growth of smartphones and tablets has made business mobility complicated. Today there are numerous makes and models that run on different operating systems including Android, Apple iOS and macOS, Microsoft and Windows.
As mobile technology has become more common, so too are the privacy and security issues surrounding it. Apps and data are strategic company assets that must be kept secure especially considering recent data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Mobile devices operate outside of the company’s network to allow employees to access corporate data anytime and from anywhere, but this makes them vulnerable to many threats such as malicious networks, lost or stolen devices, phishing websites, malware and accidental sharing of personal data. The GDPR requires that businesses demonstrate they have built data privacy into the design of their business mobility.
Another rapidly growing challenge for mobile-first companies is dealing with remote worker device and application issues. These companies are often supporting more smartphones and tablets than desktops or laptops, and device issues are serious. Malfunctioning mobile devices have an immediate impact on employee downtime and business productivity and can also have an indirect effect on customer satisfaction, market perception and/or even create legal problems. Gartner™ predicts that in 2017, approximately 50 percent of all Level 1 support requests will be related to mobile devices.
Keeping your workforce productive is important for any mobility strategy. A key aspect of this is fixing mobile device and application problems quickly and reducing worker downtime. Historically, a lack of ‘mobile optimized’ solutions has made the remote support of mobile devices much more difficult than traditional IT support.
To stay connected businesses should incorporate an effective Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) system that fully complements their mobile-first strategy. A purpose-built mobile help desk solution will solve mobile device problems faster, often on the first contact, allowing companies to save time, money and resources.
By putting in place the correct mobility management tools companies will have complete visibility of potential threats to the business and will be able to lock down mobile devices rapidly if needed. This will ensure all data transferred between mobile devices remains secure and protected against possible hacks or data leaks.
In today’s competitive industry businesses must implement a secure and robust mobility platform that can easily integrate and allow for the effective management of applications and content across multiple devices. This seamless integration will enable businesses to streamline their processes and provide greater business efficiency.