The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.
Most IT professionals believe that laptops are not an essential business tool, given the many other mobile communications technologies available and the worldwide communications infrastructure.
With headlines about the potential fire risk posed by some laptop batteries, and airlines reviewing their policies on notebook usage on planes, laptop use is coming under scrutiny. But this week's Big Question poll revealed that 81% of IT professionals could get by with alternative tools for mobile and remote working.
Network support manager David Strange said push e-mail technology, as used on Blackberry handhelds, was one option. "The future is geared towards this technology, which is far more mobile and you can still connect to the rest of the world.''
IT professional John Hain agreed. "Laptops are mobile, but so are mobile phones and PDAs. It depends what you are using the laptop for. Many services, such as e-mail and word processing, can be done online," he said.
Many respondents pointed out that laptops provided a sense of personal ownership that was popular with users, but this did not make them irreplaceable.
However, a minority were wedded to their laptops. "I could not work nearly as productively without my notebook, and the alternatives, like smartphones, do not allow me to run presentations and demo new technology to my clients," said one.Read article: Spotlight on batteries