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More Employees are Bringing Their Own Tablets into the Workplace

February 14, 2012

New research by In-Stat, an NPD company, finds that more and more people are bringing their tablets into the workplace. Email is the most common function for tablets, while note-taking is the second most popular use. Only 22 percent of users had tablets that were paid for by their companies, and people who used 3G tablets tended to travel more often.

These and other findings were released today in a study called “The Business of Tablets: Tablet Usage in U.S. Business”. To do the research, In-Stat conducted a survey of 905 members from among the 18,000 people in its Technology Adoption Panel (TAP).

“Email is by far the most dominant tablet application for business users,” said Frank Dickson, VP of Mobile Research. “However, when you dig into the data, you find a plethora of strong niche uses arising. In addition to email, customer relationship management and IT network intelligence [functions] are listed as ‘most important’ uses.”

In spite of not being listed as an “important use,” Dickson noted that note taking still came in second among responders when asked about “all uses” for tablets.

What IBM calls “the mobile workforce” is expected to grow to 1.19 million by next year. There is increasing pressure on corporate networks to allow employees who bring their own devices to have access to business information.

However, companies worry about safeguarding data creating a unified infrastructure that can manage information across all devices. According to a survey conducted by Cisco, 44 percent of IT professionals report that handling BYOD issues diverts attention from other projects.

Mobile devices are also creating what experts call a “perpetual workplace.” Employees can check their work email or perform work functions at any hour of the day. While exempt workers are not entitled to overtime pay, non-exempt workers are supposed to be paid time-and-a-half for each hour worked over 40 hours per week.

Companies, to avoid large payroll liabilities, may have to more strictly enforce who works when using what device. Until then, the number of mobile devices in the workplace is only expected to continue growing.

Jacqueline Lee is a unified communications contributor who produces web content, blogs and articles for numerous websites including wikiHow.com. Her background is in business and education.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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