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12/9/2010
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Rise Of Mobile Superworker Predicted

GigaOm Net:Work Conference: Enterprises that cater to the needs of mobile workers can expect greater productivity.

The mobile revolution has caused so much agitation in the workplace that the old rules are breaking down.

At the GigaOm Net:Work Conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Evan Kaplan, President and CEO of iPass, an enterprise mobile services provider, proposed a new set of rules, an enterprise mobility bill of rights.

Kaplan wasn't exactly proposing an overthrow of the traditional corporate hierarchy. That would have been too much for the executives attending the conference. Rather, he aimed to provide some guidance about how companies should try to accommodate the needs of a mobile workforce and to understand what must happen to business processes and applications when mobility is the design imperative.

Kaplan acknowledged that he wasn't exactly a disinterested party in this discussion, but who in the tech industry is? You can't attend an enterprise-oriented conference, or consumer-oriented tech event for that matter, without hearing about the mobile revolution, the cloud, and that it means to various constituencies. Google's Chrome OS preview event on Tuesday touched on similar themes.

Kaplan's mobile bill of rights proposed the following: the right to stay connected; the right to access the best networks and services; the right to choose what I want to use; the ability to make it on my own; freedom from security threats; the availability of IT support; one person, under one account; with mobility and connectivity for all.

But Kaplan wasn't so much advocating rights as offering guidance to companies about how to make mobile workers more productive. Mobile workers, it turns out, work more than disconnected employees.

"The average mobile worker work 240 hours more per year than average worker overall," he said.

Presenting his firm's year-end Mobile Workforce Report, he noted that one of the report's findings is that only 6% of respondents disconnected completely during vacation.

"That's kind of mind-blowing," Kaplan said, noting that 97% of respondents did work on two devices and 50% used three.

For IT organizations, the challenge is supporting these workers and allowing them to use the devices that they want, so that companies can benefit from a workforce that's apparently willing to be on-call all the time.

"Mobility will set the rules and define how we design applications and run applications," he said.

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