The iPass Mobile Professional Report for 2016 revealed a shocking result about the addiction to smartphones in today’s professional life. According to a survey report by iPass, more than 1,700 mobile professionals worldwide revealed information about their connectivity habits and preferences, which highlighted the ever-increasing influence of Wi-Fi on our daily lives.
40 per cent of respondents chose Wi-Fi as their number one daily essential, designating it as a higher priority than sex (37 percent), chocolate (14 percent) and alcohol (9 percent). 75 per cent of respondents said that Wi-Fi has improved their quality of life. 63 per cent of respondents prefer using Wi-Fi hotspots over mobile data. 75 per cent of respondents said data is more important than minutes when choosing a cellular contract.
“We all want to stay connected and productive in our personal and professional lives. Mobile professionals, in particular, expect to remain connected at all times, whether at home, travelling between client meetings, at their hotel or even inflight,” said Patricia Hume, chief commercial officer of iPass. “We all want Wi-Fi first, because of faster speeds, lower prices and the better user experience it affords. And with the population of global mobile workers standing well over one billion, employers should be prepared to meet the demands of their employees, by providing them with the connectivity they desire.”
Wi-Fi influences travel choices:
For mobile professionals who don’t want to be stung by data bills or exorbitant roaming charges, Wi-Fi has become a travel essential, influencing hotel, airport and other travel choices. 72 per cent of respondents have chosen a hotel based on the Wi-Fi experience, with 21 per cent saying they do so all the time. 35 per cent stated the Wi-Fi experience has influenced their choice of airline. 72 per cent use free Wi-Fi at airports if it is available. 73 per cent of respondents have never paid for airport Wi-Fi for professional use, and this number rises to 78 per cent for personal use.
“The Wi-Fi experience is increasingly affecting mobile professionals’ travel choices, even at 30,000 feet, with more than a third of respondents having selected their airline based on its Wi-Fi connectivity offerings. Long gone are the days when Wi-Fi was only a ‘nice-to-have’ at airports and inflight. Mobile professionals are no longer content to sit and wait for their flights. Instead, they want to remain productive or simply unwind during this valuable time,” continued Hume.
Companies find safe mobile usage policies difficult to enforce
The survey by iPass also highlights the extent to which mobile security remains the biggest obstacle to the use of free Wi-Fi and illustrates the difficulties companies have enforcing safe mobile use policies.
One in two mobile professionals stated their company allows them to use a personal device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) to access corporate data/systems via public or remote Wi-Fi. 66 per cent of mobile professionals said they were worried about data security when using free Wi-Fi hotspots.
However, 42 per cent will still access company data using public Wi-Fi. 38 per cent of respondents have never used a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect their data. Only 9 per cent list corporate data loss as one of their main fears if their device were to be lost or stolen. By comparison, six times as many respondents were likely to be worried about losing contact information (57 percent) and almost half (49 percent) feared losing their photos.
“Unfortunately, the priorities of companies and their employees seem to be worlds apart. Employees have vast troves of valuable data on their smartphones, but are considerably less concerned about losing sensitive corporate data than they are about losing their personal information. It’s clear that companies still need to do a lot more to educate their employees regarding mobile security risks and provide robust safe usage guidelines. Ultimately, in today’s Wi-Fi first world, mobile professionals need to be equipped with the tools they need to remain productive wherever they are, while ensuring the use of public Wi-Fi doesn’t expose their corporate data to ever-growing security risks,” concluded Hume.
The report was based on information obtained from more than 1,700 respondents to an iPass survey of mobile professionals. Survey respondents were asked about their connectivity habits, preferences and expectations, and were asked to provide opinions about their level of dependence on mobile connectivity.
The survey was conducted between August 12, 2016 and August 31, 2016, fielding responses from mobile professionals across multiple age groups and geographies. Sixty per cent of respondents came from North America, and 40 per cent were from European countries. Responses were examined by region, age range and gender.