Organizations are deploying mobile technology in industry segments like healthcare and retail, as well as among warehouse workers and sales teams, within remote and hybrid office environments, and all across large businesses. Yet to maximize the productivity benefits of smartphones and tablets while minimizing costs, you need to keep your devices and surrounding infrastructure safe, up-to-date, and well-supported. Here are a few main signs your business’ mobility tech is due for an overhaul.
The pace of technological change is exponentially fast. This is especially true among the phones and tablets sported by employees. Many of the earliest cell phones were candy bar or flip phone models with limited or a lack of web connectivity. Since the advent of the iPhone and the first Android devices, processors and memory have grown progressively more powerful. Battery life is longer, cameras are sharper, form factors have greatly expanded, and a long list of features has been added.
For instance, the new iPhone 14 Pro has gained features ranging from satellite connectivity to a telescopic lens. On the Android side, the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 features a fold-up design with integrated electronic document signing from DocuSign.
Along the way, the iPhone has also added support for faster 5G cellular networks, as have many Android models. Cellular carriers, though, vary in how much support they are giving to 5G right now across various geographic regions.
Recent studies show that outdated technology costs money for businesses from a productivity standpoint. Organizations bogged down by old-fashioned legacy technology can’t be nimble enough to move with the times and scale upward.
It’s one thing to deploy phones lacking the latest bells and whistles but quite another to rely on devices that are totally obsolete. Android manufacturers generally only provide two to four years of OS updates before a phone falls into software obsolescence. Without an up-to-date OS aboard, devices can’t give full support to the latest apps. Even worse, they can’t receive security updates for protection against ransomware and other forms of malware.
Apple is more generous with its obsolescence policies, giving iPhones six to eight years before the devices enter end-of-life. Still, all models though the iPhone 6, are already officially obsolete, and the iPhone 13 will meet the same fate by 2028.
Hardware repair warranties are another matter. AppleCare is good for one year only on devices and tablets. If you pay for AppleCare+ coverage, you’ve only got 30 days after expiration to extend the initial two-year warranty period. Android hardware repair warranty policies vary widely based on the manufacturer, but in most cases, if a device breaks and it’s out of warranty, the organization will need to bear the cost of fixing or replacing it, even if the malfunction results from a built-in defect.
If a device goes out of service and a worker loses remote access to email and other corporate apps, valuable time is lost until a device replacement can be found. Security breaches on devices too old to be patched can be even more costly to the organization.
When device connectivity sags, productivity goes down with it. Processes and procedures can become disorganized, leading to customer and employee complaints. Long term issues can lead to reputational damage and a loss in business.
Slow connections can have a variety of culprits. The cache might need flushing, low storage space cleared, or network settings might need a reset. If employees work over an internal Wi-Fi network instead of cellular, the Wi-Fi infrastructure may need expansion to accommodate more users. In that case, an updated infrastructure might do the job. But if phones are so old that they can’t be updated or operate well on a modern network, connectivity speeds choke, too.
Whether you’re using 5G, 4G, or an older and slower cellular network, maybe you’re not getting as much bandwidth as you expect from your carrier for what you’re paying. Carriers vary on that score, too.
For those reasons, it’s a common approach for a business to pool its users, contracting for a certain amount of data at a certain cost. Businesses can save money by optimizing pools so that the company isn’t buying too much data and then paying for wasted bandwidth, or not enough data and then paying overage fees.
More laws are imposing security and privacy regulations impacting mobile devices, including HIPAA and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Even stricter is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), created by the European Union (EU) but also affecting many US companies. Its provisions call for following record-keeping procedures on data collection and notifying the public of any breaches.
To achieve regulatory compliance, companies need to keep their software infrastructure up to date. With the right software in place, organizations can use mobile lifecycle management (MDM) to monitor phones and tablets to determine what data is stored on devices and uncover any breaches.
Can you detect any of these five signs at your company? If so, the time to update your devices and supporting infrastructure is now.