The new collaborative workspace

The information technology industry is undergoing one of the most significant periods of transformation in the last 20 years. This era of change is directed by a series of trends such as the explosive growth of powerful smartphones, the consumerisation of technology purchasing, and the move towards cloud-based software application delivery.

Each of these developments has been under way for several years now, but their effect is expanding as they move into mainstream adoption on a global scale. Examined as individual market forces, each of these trends has the potential to change the way corporations purchase, deploy, and harness technology. However, when considered together it is evident that these trends are assailing the long-held IT assumption that the personal computer will continue to be the center of employees' productivity and collaboration experience.

The powerful combination of mobile smartphones and tablets, innovative software applications delivered through the Internet, and the flexibility of on-premises versus cloud-based ownership models is bringing an end to the supremacy of the PC.

A Universe of devices for collaboration

The impact of the growth of mobile devices cannot be overstated. Feature phones capable of voice and text messaging - and in some cases mobile email - have long been popular, but with the introduction of the Apple iPhone and the Google Android mobile OS, a new category of devices designed for accessing the Internet and collaboration appeared almost overnight. The market penetration statistics are simply amazing:

  • 100 million Apple iPhones sold to date

  • Google Android devices activated per day: 340,000 (10 million+ per month)

  • 19.46 million Apple iPads sold to date

Unlike traditional desk-based personal computers, this new class of mobile devices came equipped with all of the capabilities necessary to enable people to richly communicate and collaborate with each other, such as front- and rear-facing cameras, high-quality LED screens, fourth-generation (4G) and Wi-Fi network connectivity, and software to maximise battery life.

By the end of 2010, 3.6 billion mobile devices had been purchased, and of these, 1.8 billion are capable of accessing the Internet. This rapid growth shows no signs of abating, and by the end of 2013 the mobile phone is projected to become the most common device for accessing the Internet.

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