Our cover story this month is all about the ‘consumerisation of IT’ and the blurring of distinctions between the devices we use in the home and those we use in the office. One of the main drivers for this trend is the need for integrated communications involving social media, video, audio, text and messaging.
Consumer devices are considered to be leading the way in this area, but suppliers of business devices are doing their best to catch up, particularly when it comes to video, as our spread on pages 22 and 23 shows. The new generation of videophones and video displays certainly photograph well, but for small businesses smartphones and tablets are a more affordable option.
There’s another reason why smaller companies might be attracted to cheaper, less formal video communications. Large enterprises can make an ROI for telepresence because so much business travel is undertaken to attend internal meetings. When workers for small companies travel it tends to be to meet customers and suppliers and, as survey after survey shows, face-to-face communication is still the best way to cement relationships.
…and fuzzy brains
One highly visible feature of the consumerisation of IT is the replacement of desk phones with mobile devices. This trend continues to gather pace despite persistent fears over the effects of mobile phone use on our brains. Just this month, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer raised new doubts about the long-term effects of electro-magnetic radiation from mobile phones. The public at large seems remarkably unconcerned about the risks, but employers cannot afford to be so sanguine. Until all doubts are removed, it may be wise to issue staff with headsets. Even if the WHO’s fears prove to be unfounded, your investment is likely to have been worthwhile for reasons of productivity if nothing else.