Every business has to count dollars and cents. Even little expenses can add up quickly and over run the bottom line if left to run amuck. And as smartphones become the norm in the businesses large and small, overhead is now measured not just in extra paper clips and printing paper, but by the megabyte.
Mobile data management company Visage put together some stats from its own research and a white paper on the rising cost of mobile data to reveal some of the problems that enterprises are facing as employee use of smartphones and tablets continue increase.
Good News, Bad News
The good news? The cost per megabyte of mobile data is going down. In 2008, a megabyte cost a business an average of about $0.46. In 2012, that number is just $0.03 (or a little more than $30 per GB). The bad news is that employees are consuming ever rising amounts of data per month. Over the next few years, the average employee of a larger enterprise will use more than 3GB per month for a bill approaching $101, a considerable increase over the $31.25 that enterprises average per employee now.
This increase will take place in a variety of forms. Functions like video presentations and chat from smartphones and tablets will only increase as the devices become more powerful. Employees are also going to use smartphones for a wider variety of tasks, from creating and reading official documents to managing the company’s official social media channels. According to Visage, its numbers show business mobility traffic was 52% video streaming or downloads. When trying to control expenses, video features should be first on the list of activities enterprises should restrict on company-owned employee devices.
Faster Speeds = More Data Usage
Wireless speed increases and the ubiquity of 3G networks will spur the increase in data usage. Visage reports that cellular network speeds increased by 66% in 2011. That is just the beginning as carriers, global and domestic, move away from 3G infrastructure and begin implementing considerably faster “4G” LTE networks. Right now, about 45% of the globe is covered by a 3G network of some sort, giving smartphone users the capability of using apps and the mobile Web from almost anywhere they find themselves. Near 60% of global operators plan on instituting LTE services by 2013 and both 3G and 4G will spread throughout the world as the wireless global infrastructure evolves.
Data management is often overlooked in the enterprise mobility conversation. When employers think of mobility in the workplace, the first thing they think about is security and locking down company information on devices that could easily be stolen, lost or hacked. Application deployment and management is the next task for the IT team to figure out, making sure that the right employees have the right apps to do their jobs.
In the mobile world, the trend is typically toward more of everything. More security, more apps, more functionality. But more is also… more. It means that employees suck up more megabytes and hence more corporate resources.