There’s every chance you could be reading this on a supercomputer, a supercomputer that’s so small, it fits in the palm of your hand.
This supercomputer is so smart you unlock it with your fingerprints or through facial recognition, you use it to make video calls to friends or family on the other side of the world, you use to order your weekly groceries, you stream movies and music through it, it’s probably the best camera you’ve ever owned, it can fetch you a cab (and pay for it), you answer emails through it, it’s the only calendar you use, it will answer any question you ask it, it can control your home and, every once in a while, you might even make a call from it.
Yes, your phone has come a long way, in an incredibly short space of time. For it was only 45 years ago when the first ever phone call was made from a mobile device, by Dr Martin Cooper, general manager at Motorola communications system division, on a device that weighed 1.1kg (the iPhone X weighs 174g). And, remarkably, it was only 11 years ago the iPhone was launched and it looked like this.
In terms of tipping points, the launch of the iPhone and the Android operating system, sparked the rise of ‘app culture’ - an industry that’s now worth an estimated $77 billion USD. And they have fundamentally changed the way the world works.
A decade ago, if you told someone a cashless society was on the horizon, very few would have believed it. Yet now, in Sweden, the total value of cash payments has fallen to less than 2% of GDP. Church-goers are donating to the weekly collection through an app and waving their phones in the air to show they have donated, buskers are taking payments with iZettle and even public toilets now have to be paid for with the swipe of a card or phone.
Mobile in the workplace
The point here is, it wasn’t that long ago where we took cash for granted - just like we did going to a supermarket to do our shopping, using a desktop computer for everything or watching a TV show at the exact time it aired. It’s the power of technology that’s disrupted the status quo and, in its wake, is forming a different kind of society.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the mobile revolution, is how slow big industries have been to embrace it. As Sanjiv Kalevar, a vice president at Battery Ventures in Boston, wrote recently in TechCrunch, the large, sometimes forgotten, workforce out there in transportation, hospitality, retail and many other multi-billion-dollar industries, have not benefited from recent technology improvements available to office-based workers.
A large reason behind is, for many, the use of a mobile in the workplace still remains taboo. It’s viewed as a distraction rather than something to be embraced to drive efficiency, productivity and engagement in the workforce.
Like Kalevar says: “Never mind the long-term opportunities from technologies like artificial intelligence, drones and virtual or augmented reality for companies in these sectors; hourly and field workers are dealing with much more basic on-the-job challenges, like finding work, getting their jobs done on time and getting paid.
“These more basic needs can be solved with seemingly simple technologies — software for billing, scheduling, navigation and many other business workflows. These kinds of technologies, unlike AI, don’t automate away workers. Instead, they empower them to be more efficient and productive.”
Better workforce management
The good news is businesses are now catching up. In fact, the workforce management industry in the UK alone has grown by 131% in just 2 years. The mobile revolution has lead to the Workforce Revolution and, increasingly, businesses across all sectors are using mobile tech to give more to their employees and customers while at the same time offering a better service and seeing increased profits.
From reducing labour costs through to improving communication, the use of a mobile-first workforce management solution brings with it a host of benefits, even as much as employees who use a workforce management app reporting they open it up first thing in the morning when they are working before any other app.
Global retailer, Swarovski, are a company who dared to bring mobile technology into the workplace, and on Thursday, March 1, they’ll be sharing their story in a special, free webinar we’re holding with them.
We’ll be discussing Future Proofing your Staff Retention with Mobile Technology and asking the question, how should you, as an employer introduce mobile devices whilst balancing the risk of decreased productivity with benefits like improved flexibility, accountability and employee engagement?
Click on the button below to join us for this webinar and learn how mobile is now changing the shape of the workplace.