Laptop remains top mobile enterprise device, study reveals

The laptop remains the most popular mobile device for work despite an influx of smartphones and tablets, a study has revealed

Laptops are still the most popular device for working, despite an influx of smartphones and tablets in the enterprise, a study has revealed.

According to the latest quarterly Mobile Workforce Report by mobility services provider iPass, 62% of respondents said the laptop was the most effective device for multi-tasking.

The respondents said smartphones and tablets are only effective in combination with another device, despite the number of tablet users rising from 27% in 2011 to 64% in 2012.

The survey of 1,800 mobile enterprise employees worldwide also disproves predictions that mobile workers would move to a single device, with the average mobile worker using 3.5 devices, up from 2.7 in 2011.

However, 46% of mobile workers said if they could only choose one mobile device, it would be their smartphone.

Despite current preferences for laptops and smartphones, the survey found 64% of all mobile workers use a tablet, and this number is likely rise to nearly 80% in the next six months.

With 87% of all iPads purchased being Wi-Fi-only, the report predicts high levels of data consumption on these devices.

46% of mobile workers said if they could only choose one mobile device, it would be their smartphone

Mobile connectivity puts strain on technology

According to Gartner, enterprises with iPads will need 300% more Wi-Fi just to be effective, which will put a significant strain on IT departments as current infrastructure is rendered obsolete.

The report, which examines the impact of technology and data consumption evolution outstripping the ability of the business infrastructure and mobile networks to adapt, found a 25% decline in cellular mobile network satisfaction among respondents.

As mobile device usage, social media adoption and data consumption increase, only half of respondents said they were satisfied with their data coverage and just a third were satisfied with network speed.

The iPass Mobile Workforce Report found a 25% decline in cellular mobile network satisfaction among respondents

According to the report, business users are within range of a Wi-Fi network for 61% of their day, with 58% of respondents reporting they actively use Wi-Fi more than two hours a day on smartphones, 73% on tablets and 83% on laptops. Yet, according to a recent Gartner study, by 2015, 80% of newly installed enterprise wireless networks will be obsolete because of non-scalable technology.

“Mobile employees are seeing a significant reduction in service levels due to the rapid rise of data consumption,” said Barbara Nelson, chief technology officer at iPass.

“An enterprise’s adaptation strategy should include investing in better management tools to monitor usage; upgrading infrastructure to address new capacity requirements; licensing outside network services; and requiring employees to use inexpensive and secure Wi-Fi connections when possible,” Nelson said.  

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