Market musings

How Mobile Devices Are Shaping the Future of Work

by Sasha Viasasha
November 4, 2017

What does the future of work look like for your small business? What will you be doing next year? If you said “Growing,” you’re in the majority. 60.6% of small businesses owners are optimistic about the growth of their own business, despite a stalled economy overall. Approximately the same percentage project revenue increases for the year ahead and one third intend on hiring more employees soon. 

The expanding power of mobile devices and mobile-based productivity software are driving that growth. A mobility research paper by the IDC’s concluded that, “Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace.”  By 2020, 105 million US workers will be mobile-enabled. That’s nearly three-fourths of the total workforce.

The intelligent deployment of mobile devices for small businesses is saving $67.5 billion each year in a study from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. The top choice in mobile devices is the smartphone which alone is saving small business owners 1.24 billion hours a year and around $32.3 billion annually.

SBE Council president Karen Kerrigan explained, “Clearly, we are at a point where entrepreneurs now look first to communications technologies and innovations for solutions to improve productivity, cut costs and better manage and engage with customers"

Instead of just pocketing the profits though, small business owners tend to pour that money back into the market. Kerrigen said, “That is time and money that can go back into driving sales and innovating in the marketplace.”

The mobile device as the universal remote for business

So much has happened so fast in the world of mobile devices that small business owners are able to use their smartphones as command centers.

In the future of work, desk phones could be as rare as payphones. 

Salesforce reported that around one third of all small business owners in the US run their entire operation, everything from banking to CRM, from apps on their smartphones. Traditional landlines and PBX systems were built at a time when the words “business” and an “office” were interchangeable. Securing a physical address was the first step in launching a business and the number of years in the same spot was a measure of success. The explosion of ecommerce redefined all that in the 1990s. Now, mobile devices are guiding the future of work through its next evolution -- as a virtual network of solopreneurs.

The upside to a world without jobs

By 2020, 40% of the workforce will be contractors. In the years after that, as AI gets more intelligent and mobile devices are able to handle more demanding tasks, the concept of employee could fade away entirely. The Pew Research Center held a symposium on the future of work, concluding that “There will be millions more people and millions fewer jobs in the future.” The upside of that is that the future of work will favor quick thinkers and rapid adaptors.

Amy Webb, CEO of the Future Today Institute, said, “The most important skill of any future worker will be adaptability. This current Cambrian Explosion of machines will mean diversification in our systems, our interfaces, our code. Workers who have the temperament and fortitude to quickly learn new menu screens, who can find information quickly, and the like will fare well.” 

Entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and solopreneurs

Along the same lines, Funders and Founders, a social platform for entrepreneurs, rolled forward current trends to 2030 and concluded that everyone will have to be an entrepreneur to some degree. That includes intrapreneurs, which means employees tasked with developing disruptive side businesses, and solopreneurs, who are individuals applying their skill sets across mulitple businesses.

In the future of work, automation and mobile devices will be able to take over all of the functions currently done by employees. In today’s world of work, they found that contractors, freelancers and consultants cost 30% less than employees overall.

Companies operating with more contractors have a major cost advantage, as demonstrated in the rapid growth of companies like Uber where only about 2,000 employees manage 160,000+ contractors.

While PC sales are declining, the number of mobile users is rapidly approaching the total population. It’s easy to see the rise of mobile’s dominance in the future of work on this simple graph.

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa wrote, “According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.” 

A virtual phone system for the future of work

In the future of work, your mobile device will be your bridge to your software suite, your data, your resources and your communications network.

The WEF estimated that the digitization of telecom alone will be worth $2 trillion in cumulative operating profit before 2025.Part of that value will come from transformation of clunky desk phones, complex wiring and aging servers into virtual phone systems that live in the cloud. Virtual phones and software defined networks (SDNs) make it possible to build businesses to run networks that are self-optimizing and respond more rapidly to security threats.

Beyond plain old VoIP service

Spoke is a next-generation virtual phone system, built to run on top of new technologies like VoLTE, HDVoice and 5G networks.

The Spoke app transforms the phones that your employees already use and love into a global mobile network, with local numbers in 56 countries. You can port over your business line, or run it exclusively on your smartphone using a DDI number. It gives you all the power of a virtual PBX, including:

  • The ability to transfer calls mobile-to-mobile
  • Team calling and extensions
  • Smart routing and AI receptionist
  • Instantly captures call data and phone numbers
  • Smart directory that maintains itself
  • Access to a shared call log across multiple devices
  • Masks your personal number when using your personal device
  • Consolidate all phones under a single number
  • Ability to manage the application directly from your smartphone

The Spoke application is 100% secure and solves the BYOD dilemma effortlessly by managing company data in a separate application while providing security and privacy to employees. Live presence and office hours help employees manage work/life balance. The application masks their private numbers while using their devices for work.

Spoke helps you slash your phone system expense by up to 88% by compacting all the features of a traditional PBX into an app that employees will run their own phones. They are already using their phones for business, so keep your data safe and keep your employees productive with a solution they will love to use.

Spoke was designed for small to medium sized businesses, 3-30 employees, giving you a big enterprise capabilities at a low per user cost. Activate your 21-day free trial -- no credit card required. See what you can accomplish with lower costs and connectivity everywhere.