Smartphone usage—and the expectations around smartphones—are changing rapidly. Average smartphone usage nearly tripled in 2011, and by the end of 2012, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth. By 2016 there will be an estimated 1.4 mobile devices per person. Given the rise of smartphones, it’s not surprising that people rely on their mobile devices for more and more of their daily interactions, including business communications, whether at work, at home, and on the road. In a Cisco report, 46 percent of people surveyed expect to be able to access their corporate network from their personal mobile device.
However, there’s more than just flexibility accompanying the BYOD trend. These shifting expectations about connectivity also come with a host of decisions for small business. For example, do you have the network infrastructure in place to enable your employees to use their mobile devices for business communications? Do you have a wireless device usage policy? Are your VPN connections secure? And when your employees do connect to the workplace via a mobile device, do they have access to products and tools to help them do their jobs?
Before they can be productive using their smartphones, your employees first need to be able to access the company network quickly and easily. A product like AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client builds on Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client offerings to ensure that the VPN experience on a smartphone-based mobile device provides the full functionality remote employees expect, along with the security you need. AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client helps enable built-in web security and malware threat defense as part of the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility solution.
Once a secure connection is in place, a number of communication tools can improve employee productivity from a smartphone while also cutting costs. With Cisco Mobile 8.0, for example, your employees’ iPhones can serve double duty as a Cisco Unified IP Phone. The application enables employees to tap into your workplace’s telephony infrastructure to place and receive calls using their work phone number. But because the application uses the Internet instead of an individual’s mobile service provider, they’ll save on roaming charges and mobile minutes while receiving better network coverage.
Cisco WebEx, a remote meeting application, enables web conferencing in real time—and smartphone users can participate, too. Mobile users can schedule, host, and attend meetings; share and view content; and access data and audio simultaneously. Jabber, a unified communications application, also helps workplace collaboration, even when team members are remote. Available on any device, including Android and iOS, Jabber enables employees to communicate via telepresence, instant messaging (IM), voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing.
As mobile devices proliferate, are you taking advantage of all the productivity benefits they can bring to your business?
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This post originally appeared on the Cisco blog.