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Survey sheds light on mobile-manic young workers

John Cox | Jan. 22, 2014
Multiple devices, Wi-Fi, creating demand for work flexibility, challenges for IT groups.

The question of interpretation is in fact one of Aruba's main reasons for launching the study. In early fall 2013, the company was hosting a meeting of senior IT executives from Hollywood film studios. Aruba Chief Marketing Office Ben Gibson said that Aruba executives found themselves being grilled about what kinds of new behaviors, expectations, and demands Aruba was seeing from mobile users. "That was unexpected," he recalls. "We were being asked the kinds of questions usually directed toward a consumer research company."

Aruba decided to come up with some answers. In general, Gibson sees the results as revealing a kind of "mobile consumerization of IT," of how mobile products and services that are being adopted first by individual consumers are reshaping the attitude and actions of those consumers, especially with regard to work.

"These attitudes are more widespread and more common in younger workers," Gibson says. He points to the intense competition in the San Francisco Bay area to attract and keep the next generation of workers. "This is a big issue," he says. "IT can be a hero for the business in meeting these expectations of a highly mobile workforce."

Gibson says he recently visited a startup, staffed mostly by younger "GenMobiles." What he noticed was that there was not a single desktop phone visible. "It was a mashup of Google Hangouts, IM, and other services," he says. "Regardless of the mix, there will be a lot more video and audio."

One result that Aruba highlighted, not surprisingly, was the respondents' preference for Wi-Fi. The survey asked "which type of network do you prefer to use when connecting to the Internet?" Of the 4,914 responses, 57% picked Wi-Fi; 69% of the younger GenMobile group preferred that. Somewhat surprisingly, "wired connection" ranked second, picked by 19% of the total sample, and by 11% of the younger group.


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