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Mobility: Balancing access against management

Sheila Lam | March 22, 2012
With a mobile penetration rate of over 200 percent, Hong Kong is an active and vibrant mobile market.

With a mobile penetration rate of over 200%, Hong Kong is an active and vibrant mobile market. For consumers, a five-minute ride on the MTR means a dose of gossip from Apple Daily, a quick comment on Facebook, thwacking some Angry Birds--or all of the above.

But for enterprises, remaining competitive means a mobile strategy that optimizes productivity and enhances customer services.

Many Hong Kong enterprises started providing mobile phones to employees in the 90s. But with the popularity of smartphones and rising mobile apps and threats, many IT executives find themselves balancing access and management.

Demand for access

The demand for mobile access -- from both internal staff and external customers -- is the driving force for enterprises to enable applications on mobile platforms. According to Gartner, smartphones and tablets will represent over 90% of the net-new growth in device adoption in the next four years.

"We believe the pace of change over the next four years will be breathtaking," said Daryl Plummer, managing VP and Gartner fellow. The popularity in mobile devices is going to produce a domino-effect on apps usage and development.

This trend is already happening in Hong Kong, as a study by Symantec indicated 84% of local enterprises have already deployed or are discussing deployment of custom mobile apps.

It's significantly higher than the global average, where only 56% stated the same. The finding is part of Symantec's global 2012 Stage of Mobility Survey, with 150 Hong Kong enterprises participated. The survey also found more than half of the local respondents have already implemented or are currently implementing custom mobile apps."

Big boys in Hong Kong set the pace

CLP and Standard Chartered Hong Kong are early adopters of custom mobile apps. In its fourth generation of iPhone apps, CLP's mobile capabilities for consumers include providing account and billing information, as well as tracking energy efficiency. Another app helps electric-vehicle drivers to locate charging stations.

"Real time access to information via mobility solutions allows our customers to do transactions and queries at their convenience wherever they are," said Andre Blumberg, head of group applications development and support at CLP Group.

Internally, the company is also enabling a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. "The next generation of workers have grown up with mobile consumer devices and will expect seamless computing on any device anywhere," said Blumberg. "At CLP we are keen to continue to capture all the benefits that mobility brings to our work force and our customers to improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience."

Embracing iOS

The banking sector is often the major spender in technology, but is often also the most conservative in technology adoption. At Standard Chartered, a global initiative is underway to enable mobility for both its customers and internal staff in a more controlled environment.


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