The evolution of smartphone functionality in business

Creating content on the go – are traditional devices enough?

October 17, 2012

Creating content on the go – are traditional devices enough?

Gone are the days when business users could afford to be without smartphones. Now, they are relying on their handsets to not only provide them with all the latest information while on the move, but also use them as platforms to develop content without having to fall back on laptops or tablets, says Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung South Africa.

In fact, power users require a different breed of smartphone that empowers them to meet a number of business requirements while not being bound to a desk in the office. The past few years have seen a shift take place from having content streamed to a business user (think stock information, email, news, and meeting requests) to being able to use mobile productivity applications to create presentations, spreadsheets, or other business content while travelling.

For this to be really effective, one cannot expect a business user to work on a four-inch screen and still be able to function at full capacity. Ideally, these users need a device with a larger screen that gives them enough viewing room and display real estate, to be precise in their interactions. After all, the point behind being mobile is to be productive and this can hardly happen if a user battles to drag-and-drop content or multi-task between applications on a small screen.

But having a larger display should not impact on the weight or battery life of a smartphone. The device should be able to combine a large and crystal-clear screen with a thin form factor and enough computing power and battery life to be able to use multiple business applications without being concerned about recharging the phone every few hours.

A sore point for many users has been how smartphones deal with multi-tasking. Laptops provide a great platform for running multiple applications simultaneously so a business user can switch between them. Think jumping between email, surfing the Web for information, typing on a document, and managing a calendar. The ideal smartphone should allow the user to easily toggle between different applications and even take notes while on a conference call or watching a video presentation.

Smartphones also need to have relevant applications for the business user. Far too often companies put proprietary solutions on devices without providing users with added benefits. By looking at a smartphone that combines a flexible platform with useful applications and software features, users will be able to generate mobile content the way that is convenient for them and not the manufacturer.

Another challenge comes in when it gets time to share the content that was created on a smartphone. Business users do not have time to fiddle around with synching their devices to a laptop or connecting a cable to do a file transfer. File sharing between a smartphone and other devices needs to be able to happen virtually instantaneously to provide that competitive business advantage. And even if there is no Wi-Fi or cellular signal the device still needs to be able to transfer content with minimum fuss.

With LTE becoming a reality in South Africa, smartphones need to keep up in terms of high-speed connectivity options. And while these fast mobile networks might be limited to a few cities in the initial roll-out phase, it is good to have a device that is able to capitalise on the superior speeds when it becomes available.

“We live in a world where being mobile needs to translate to being productive. Smartphones need to supplement the user experience by offering the tools required to match innovative business thinking with a convenient way to harness and share that content. So watch this space for the next evolution in mobile technology that epitomises business functionality – soon to hit South African shores!” concludes Fleischer.