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A forecast from IT research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that enterprises with a solid mobile device management (MDM) strategy today will be well positioned to cater to tomorrow's workforces.
By 2020, the number of U.S. mobile workers will grow to 105.4 million, a jump from 96.2 million in 2015. Also by that year, mobile workers will make up 72.3 percent of the total U.S. workforce.
"Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work," said IDC research analyst Bryan Bassett in a statement. "This expectation will be supplemented by new solutions specifically intended to manage the challenges associated with the growing needs of the mobile workforce."
There are several factors at play, according to IDC.
Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly affordable. Coupled with the growing popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) programs among businesses, mobile device use has skyrocketed in work environments.
Encouraging the use of mobile devices is also having a positive impact on the bottom line. Citing earlier research from the analyst group, IDC noted that 69.1 percent of enterprises reported experiencing a reduction in operating expenses or capital expenses after setting up their BYOD programs.
It also helps that mobile devices are becoming more capable, and some cases, more wearable. "In addition, innovations in mobile technology such as biometric readers, wearables, voice control, near-field communications (NFC), and augmented reality are enabling workers in completely new ways, increasing productivity by enhancing communications and business workflows," observed IDC.
In March, IDC predicted that the wearables market would more than double this year. In 2015, vendors are expected to ship 45.7 million wearable devices, compared to the 19.6 million wearables that made their way into the market last year. Strong demand for wearables during the first quarter indicate that the firm's rosy forecast is on track.
Employees in the fields of manufacturing, construction, retail and healthcare are expected to drive mobile device use for work purposes faster than other verticals. The latter is particularly welcoming of smartphones, tables and other mobile devices at work.
"Healthcare workers represent the largest segment of the mobile workforce, accounting for 18 percent of the total U.S. mobile worker population when office-based and non-office-based healthcare workers are combined," stated IDC.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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