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Converting Your Office to Wireless-First

By Dennis Jones

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Let me take you back to 2014. Gartner predicted that half of our online activity would happen over mobile, i.e. tablets or smartphones. In the prediction, Ken Dulaney, Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, proffered the following comment: “Ethernet cabling has been the mainstay of the business workspace connectivity since the beginning of networking. However, as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other consumer devices have multiplied, the consumer space has largely converted to a wireless-first world.” And he continued, previewing the extent to which the enterprise would succumb to this wireless-first trend: “As bring your own device (BYOD) has increased in many organizations, the collision of the business and consumer worlds has changed workers’ demands.”

Let’s fast forward to consumer connectivity 2018. Even Gartner might be stunned at the degree to which the world became mobile first and how Wi-Fi became such critical vessel for connectivity. Nowadays, consumers adopt a ‘Wi-Fi first’ strategy when it comes to connecting, simply because they are technology agnostic and love a good deal. With an eye to managing data consumption costs, many smartphone users already choose Wi-Fi when given the option. Not only do domestic consumers in general love Wi-Fi, but so too do international travelers. According to the Wireless Broadband Association, 70 percent of international travelers rely on Wi-Fi to stay connected when abroad, instead of using traditional mobile services.

Perhaps, the most important story is the extent to which the consumer space has become the enterprise. So CIOs ignore this love affair with Wi-Fi at their peril, because when it comes to engagement, mobile professionals act just like consumers. Studies show that the better connected consumers are the more engaged they are with brands. Similarly, the better connected workers are the more engaged they are with their companies.

The Economist Intelligence Unit found a “measurable link” between a mobile-first workplace and an increase in employee engagement. Specifically, the study found that mobile-first “pioneers” saw a 16 percent jump in productivity, as well as significant increases in creativity (18 percent), satisfaction (23 percent) and loyalty (21 percent), when compared to companies that did little to support mobile technology. In sum, those figures represent an additional 6.4 hours per week in a 40-hour work week, or an extra 41 days or eight weeks that every employee can devote to getting more done.