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The big Why of BYOD

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In order for a business to develop an effective BYOD policy, DONALD FARMER, VP of Innovation and Design at Qlik believes company owners need to first understand why and when employees switch between devices and what makes them choose certain devices for certain tasks.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) responsive, and multi-device are just some words that today are part of our lives. Multi-device strategies are devised and policies are prepared for BYOD. The use of different devices has led to a whole new way of working. Gartner predicts that by 2018 more than half of users will be using a tablet or smartphone for all online activities rather than the traditional laptop or desktop. But to what extent do we actually stand still by the role of different devices? Why and when do business users actually switch between tablet, smartphone or computer? And what moves them to choose certain devices in certain activities?

If we can answer these questions, a multi-device or BYOD policy is really effective. Time to get some new insights above water, so that management can better respond to the needs of the business.

Reasons for using different devices

Where once on the desk of the average employee stood a desk phone and a desktop, there is now a laptop, a smartphone, perhaps a tablet and in some cases even an e-reader. During the day there is plenty of use of these devices. Why? A recent global survey of Qlik shows that there are three main reasons:

Employees first believe they can thus increase their productivity. An argument, which managers actually need to sound as music to the ears. Indeed, the increasing productivity in the workplace is not something you want to fight as an organisation, but rather to stimulate. Obviously, it is with the use of multiple devices, important to take account of Shadow IT, but for now we leave that out of consideration. In second place, is keeping it up to date. Think about sending out an email via the laptop at the end of the workday and on the way home via the smartphone to see if there has been a reaction. This motivation is also linked to number three: respond quickly to circumstances. Imagine if the employee is in a meeting and he gets an important phone call or an e-mail via the tablet inside. With the use of multiple devices the employee can take action immediately. The main reason to use multiple devices is that each one is aimed at orienting the work as effectively as possible and to improve where necessary.

Multiple devices for one activity

Now we understand the question about why people switch between devices and what devices still remains, but the answer is not clear. Typically, for example, activities that are started on the laptop are also finished on the laptop. However, when employees begin operations on their smartphone, these are usually rounded to the laptop. Think to send emails, view reports and write lyrics. The tablet is the least popular to start and complete tasks. Only watching a video begins and ends on the tablet. When it comes to chatting and calendar management, the employee switches over to the smartphone. In all other cases, the laptop is switched on.

The main triggers for users to switch between devices are activities such as navigating to websites, finding specific information and sending links by email. The smartphone in all cases appears to be the most popular device to switch to.

Mobile-first

Now we know that employees look for opportunities to work effectively and switch over their functions between different devices, it is important that this way of working is well facilitated by the management. A precondition for this is the use of the right tools – tooling that is Mobile-First developed. These solutions primarily keep the mobile user in mind in the development and design. Thus, for Mobile-First developed technology the essence of information is directly visible and is also matched to the screen that you are using at the time. This way users can easily get the right information to themselves and thus will effectively work.

Still, mobile-first tooling is still not developed by all software vendors. So it is extra important that the management in the tool selection process pay attention as to whether it meets the Mobile-First conditions. But now is also the time to take another critical look at existing tooling. Because to truly meet the needs of the business, the information needs to be available anytime, anywhere via any device. Mobile first is not the only solution, but can have a considerably large contribution. Ultimately, the goal about the intention to work productively is to turn it into reality. It is the only way to take action and to work towards the mapped needs of the business. A good intention for 2016?

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Cape Town not so calm – if you’re a driver

Cape Town drivers lose on average 162 hours a year to traffic jams, so will need some tech and a few tips to stay calm

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Cape Town drivers lose, on average, 162 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, and the city is ranked 95th out of around 200 cities, across 38 countries surveyed globally, in terms of congestion issues.

That’s according to the latest INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, which is an annual analysis of mobility and congestion trends. The study provides a data-rich evaluation of information collected during peak (slowest) travel times, and inter peak (fastest point between morning and afternoon commutes) travel times. Together they provide a holistic account of congestion throughout the day, delivering in-depth insights for vehicle drivers and policy-makers to make better decisions regarding urban travel and traffic health.

Of the further five South African cities surveyed:

  • Pretoria drivers lose, on average, 143 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, ranking as the 64thmost congested city
  • Johannesburg drivers lose an average of 119 hours annually, ranking 61st
  • Durban drivers lose 72 hours, ranking 141st
  • Port Elizabeth drivers lose 71 hours, ranking 75th
  • And Bloemfontein drivers lose 62 hours, ranking 165th

If these hours sound horrific, spare a thought for the poor drivers in Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá who lose, on average, a whopping 272 hours a year stuck in traffic jams!

On average, drivers’ commutes increase by roughly 30% during peak versus inter-peak hours. And the reality is that congestion issues aren’t going away anytime soon. Not here in SA, or anywhere else in the world. So what can we, as drivers, do to make the situation easier to cope with on our daily commute?

Change of mindset

Stressing about the unavoidable, the inevitable, and all the things that are out of our control – like congestion caused by accidents, faulty street lights, or bad weather – is a waste of energy. We should try finding ways of using that time in our cars more productively, to create a less tense, more positive experience. Learning to change our perspective about this challenging time, and associating it with something enjoyable, can drastically alter our reaction to and engagement with it. Rather than expending all our energy on futile anger and frustration, we can channel our focus on things that relax or energise us instead.

Just one more chapter

Being stuck in traffic usually aggravates us because it feels like a huge waste of valuable time. But like a wise man once said, time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Listening to a podcast or audiobook can not only be entertaining, but also educational, which is a brilliant use of your time. Ifyou think of your car as a ‘learning lab’, a mobile university of sorts, and your time spent inside as away to exercise your brain and grow intellectually, you may even find yourself wishing for bad traffic so you have an excuse to carry on listening to your podcast or audiobook.

Tame your inner Hulk

Pulling up a playlist of your favourite, feel-good songs can do wonders to combat stress levels. Downbeat music has been proven to have a mellowing effect on drivers. Making a quick switch to downbeat music shows measurable physiological improvements, with drivers calming down much sooner, and making fewer driving mistakes. So the next time you feel your inner Hulk emerging, crank up the volume on your favourite tunes.

The power of ‘caromatherapy’

There are numerous studies on aromas and their impact on human emotion, behaviour, and performance. Researchers have found that peppermint can enhance mental and athletic performance and cognitive functioning, while cinnamon may improve tasks related to attentional processes and visual-motor response speed. A study from Kyoto University in Japan revealed that participants reported significantly lower hostility and depression scores, and felt more relaxed after awalk through a pine forest. It makes sense then, to incorporate some ‘caromatherapy’ into our lives. There are plenty of off-the-shelf car diffusers available, or you could add a few drops of essential oil to DIY felt air fresheners. Citrus scents like orange or lemon can provide a boost of energy, while rosemary can relieve stress and anxiety. Take care not to hang anything that might obstruct your field of vision though, and always make sure to test out essential oils at home first, in case a scent makes you dizzy or overly relaxed, which could affect driving focus.

Contemplate your navel

The mind is a powerful thing, and simply willing yourself to relax might be the most effective method of all. While we don’t recommend meditating while driving due to safety reasons, breathing exercises can help you stay focused and feeling calm. One useful practice is the one-to-one technique – breathing in and out for the same count with the same intensity. Deep, measured breaths facilitate full oxygen exchange, helping to slow down the rate of your heartbeat and stabilise blood pressure, as opposed to shallow breathing, which doesn’t send enough air to the lowest part of your lungs, causing you to feel anxious and short of breath. Just always keep your eyes on the road, and take care to ensure you’re not so busy counting breaths that your concentration is compromised.

Not all those who wander are lost

Some of our best ideas come in those moments where we’re alone with our own thoughts, able to really reflect on the ideas we have without having something immediate that needs our attention. Allow your mind to wander, and do a little brainstorming. Alternatively, use the time to simply day dream. Remember, downtime is not dead time. It is both necessary, and important for your mental health. Use this time as an opportunity to take care of yourself.

In-built vehicle tech

“As we spend more and more time commuting, cars are being designed to accommodate longer periods behind the wheel,” says Kuda Takura, smart mobility specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Ford uses human-centric design to deliver vehicles that are inviting, accommodating, and intuitive. For example, our SYNCT infotainment system offers nifty, hands-free functions, like allowing drivers to listen to their texts, change music or climate settings, and make phone calls easily with voice control. Our range of driver-assist technologies, like Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Semi-Auto Active Park Assist, are also designed to take some of the stress off city driving. If our lifestyle means that we might be spending more time in our cars than we do on holiday, then we should make sure we make the most of that time.”

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Vodacom exits Africa biz services

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Vodacom Group has sold Vodacom Business Africa’s operations in Nigeria, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire to Andile Ngcaba’s Synergy Communications. The two entities are in the process of concluding the acquisitions, which are subject to the approval of the regulatory authorities within these markets.

Vodacom says the transaction supports the Group’s enterprise strategy in Africa, which has been refocused to grow and strengthen its core business. It will no longer directly service global enterprise customers in these three markets but will rather continue to operate as a pan African telecommunications networks provider through local relationships, like the one with Synergy Communications. 

This acquisition represents a significant milestone in Synergy Communication’s quest to be a leading provider of cloud and digitally based services in key markets across sub-Saharan Africa and provides key additional assets in its build out of a regional footprint. Synergy Communications currently has operations in Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.

Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Synergy Communications said: “This is an exciting landmark transaction for Synergy Communications, providing us with additional momentum in the delivery of our strategy as a pan-African enterprise digital Services Provider. Synergy Communications will partner with major global cloud providers and deliver platform-based services to both multi-nationals and local enterprises.”

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, said: “Vodacom has a clear vision for strengthening our position as a leading pan-African business and will work with local service providers like Synergy Communications to grow in these markets. Crucially, Vodacom is not exiting any of the territories related to this transaction and remains focused on continuing to deliver exceptional service to our global and multinational clients in these markets through long-term commercial agreements. 

“To support the sustainable growth of pan African digital economies and building connected societies, Vodacom will, via local service providers, continue to service clients in each market. We seek to leverage the collective strengths of Vodacom and Synergy Communications to meet the changing requirements of clients across each of these markets.”

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