Before you read on, answer one quick question: do you have a phone in your pocket? Okay, two questions: is it a smartphone? According to a Pew research study, the answer to both of those questions is very likely “yes”. Even without official analysis, it takes little more than a trip to a shopping mall or a ride on the subway to understand the prevalence of mobile devices in our society. The implications here are not simply personal, providing the benefit of location services, research tools, and Candy Crush Saga to average consumers; the ubiquity of mobile devices has real, positive potential for businesses as well.
The scope of this potential is still not entirely understood, but great strides have already been made in optimizing the platform for commercial use. Mobile shopping and advertising have both seen a rise in use over the past few years and readily accessible social media and email has changed the face of customer service. But aside from interaction with customers, mobile technology has real potential for improving how businesses run as well. The device profiles and use of cell phones among workers offers a real opportunity to streamline operations in profitable and stress-reducing ways.
According to the aforementioned Pew study, mobile usage has reached near total permeation in today’s society. As many as 91% of American adults have a cell phone, with 56% owning a smartphone. Among smartphone owners, nearly half own Apple’s iPhone and the other half own a device enabled by Google’s Android platform. Breaking down by gender shows that the trend is not limited to one or the other. 93% of men and 88% of women own cell phones with 59% of men and 53% of women owning smartphones. Despite this slight discrepancy, the numbers are still indicative of consistently prevalent cell phone and smartphone usage between the sexes.
A certain generational and education gap exists that gives this profile a bit more nuance. Among 18-29 year olds, 97% own a cell phone with 80% owning a smartphone. The number sees minor drop-off among 30-49 year olds with regards to cell phone usage at 95%, but the smartphone usage drop off is notable, at 67%. Among individuals with some college education, 60% possess smartphones with 70% of college graduates owning the devices.
The usage of such devices is as important as their possession. The primary usage of smartphones includes, in order of prevalence, sending or receiving text messages, accessing the Internet, sending or receiving email, downloading apps, location-based services, and listening to music. Application usage is of particular note, with as many as 50% using their cell phones for the purpose. An April 2012 study found that 41% of cell phone owners had used their phone or smartphone to coordinate a meeting or get-together in the 30 days prior to response.
What This Means For Businesses
These trends provide some real insight for businesses looking to streamline their operations. First of all, the constant possession of wireless communication devices is of note. 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when they have received no notifications. 44% actually sleep with their phone next to their bed with the express purpose of checking on calls, texts, or other updates during the night. 29% of respondents agreed that their cell phone was something they “could not imagine living without”. This constant line of contact means that business owners who need to communicate with employees have a reliable means of doing so.
The presence of calendar applications, web tools, and other methods of constant communication can help businesses better organize their work schedules. Specifically, these tools can help business owners manage scheduling systems that prevent misunderstandings and personal headaches. The near constant connection to cell phone service and Internet assures that none of these methods are far from access either.
But even with these solutions, savvy businesses are developing new solutions that combine these capabilities to great effect. The widespread use of applications means that users are likely familiar with the interface and use of common applications, making worker adaptation to the technology a simple process. Part-time businesses in particular have sophisticated and elegant solutions at their disposal, including integrated and collaborative scheduling and communications applications that make sure that all workers are on the same page. Added payroll and budgeting functionality helps simplify the process even further, automating yet another piece of the complex and constantly changing puzzle.
These technologies mean greatly reduced headaches for hourly business owners and their employees that can improve the bottom line and help morale and productivity. As the solutions develop, it is likely that business owners will see even greater control over the myriad aspects of their business and mobile device will be the innovation that enables it.
The mobile generation is looking for jobs and the intuitive employer has a real opportunity to make a difference in their practices and in the reliability of their employees. Widespread smartphone adoption has enabled technologies that can greatly improve accountability, scheduling, and management. By leveraging communications, scheduling, and payroll functionality, business owners may soon see a day when more sophisticated fiscal and operational functions are only a click and password away, meaning less time spent at the books and more time spent with the family.How You as a Business Owner Could Benefit From Mobile Chad Halvorson