The consumerisation of technology is revolutionising the work environment forever. This was the view from prominent industry experts from Cisco Systems and CCS Insight speaking at the Olswang LLP Work +TECHNOLOGY event run in association with Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking and Markets on 8 May 2012.
Trevor Williams, Chief Economist, Lloyds Bank Wholesale Bank opened the debate with a look at the macro-economic landscape, explaining the "huge economic effect" technology and media have and that they "play a fundamental part in the fast growth of the world economy". He highlighted that so far this year, Media and Telecommunications services were two of the Top 10 growth sectors for theUKat 5.5% and 2.0% respectively. He went on to explain the importance of information technology in creating efficient economies as it allows the mass spread of knowledge at reduced costs to businesses and users alike. Additionally, the fast growth of the developing economies and global expanding Middle Classes have also resulted in an increased demand for social electronic devices, which is indicative of why the UK's strongest growing sectors are telecommunications, media and high-tech engineering.
(Keith Mclagan - Lloyds, Bank Martin Garner - CCC Insight, Trevor Williams - Lloyds Bank, Phil Smith - Cisco UK & Ireland, Anthony Waller - Olswang)
Olswang LLP Partner, Anthony Waller also spoke of a "revolution in business" being driven by the ever increasing use of consumer devices in the workplace: "In a very short space of time these devices have become an essential part of what we do whether we are at home or at work. Today, being able to use a consumer device at work has become a board-level issue but this dramatic shift in the use of technology brings with it significant challenges that cannot be ignored. Companies now need to establish clear policies and guidelines to address the impact these devices are having on the business environment".
This demand of BYOD has lead to challenges for businesses, but also opportunities for certain industries. Martin Garner, Senior Vice President at CCS Insight said: "Smartphones and tablets are both mega trends that are encouraging the most consumerisation in enterprise". Worldwide shipments of smartphones in 2011 reached 488m and phone shipments reached 1,800m. Additionally, many organisations have begun to use tablets as a device of choice in their everyday operations including doctors, waiters and engineers. There are challenges to this too particularly in terms of data consumption by users on mobile which has seen a 60% year-on-year growth of mobile data users and a 300% growth in traffic by smartphone users in 2011. This growth has led to networks being "criticised for not investing enough for supporting basic communications even in some heavily populated areas" and one anticipated effect of 4G on data usage being "that people will just use more data". Although, Martin saw 4G as part of the solution to data connectivity, he noted the need for investment and time to build the network fully, "it won't be an instant fix".
Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK & Ireland also highlighted the demand for user access and spoke of the need for "technology delivery to match the technology expectation". He added that the "mobility model" of users wanting to access their office networks on the go was an interesting model and a trend that has been "rapidly changing in recent times". Now, more than ever people want to use their devices and mobiles to connect effortlessly which is why he saw IT as being, "key to the success of today's organisations. Businesses that don't view IT as a boardroom priority run the risk of being labelled laggards in this dynamic environment and losing competitive advantage in talent attraction".
The experts concluded that organisations need to understand the cultural, security, reputational and policy aspects of BYOD models. If enterprises and boards manage the growing consumerisation demand effectively the ramifications for productivity, growth and market pull could be significant.
Olswang's +TECHNOLOGY event series addresses the need to understand and harness the impact of technology across a broad range of sectors. Each event aims to introduce senior representatives from organisations that are influencing developments in the sector so they may share knowledge, broaden their experience and, above all, help advance the technology market.
Notes to editors
Olswang LLP is one of Europe's leading law firms in the areas of technology, media, telecommunications and real estate. The firm comprises of nearly 700 people including 100 partners, across seven European offices. Olswang is part of a 'best friends' network of leading independent law firms throughout the world.
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