Video killed the mobile data allowance
There is no doubt that providing employees with company cellphones improves their productivity. Many workers regard having their company pay their cellphone bill as a small but significant benefit. Of course, for this to work for employers it is critical that the balance between work and personal usage is appropriate.
At the same time, a seismic shift is transforming how we use mobile data today. The growth of 4G networks and the increasing use of video streaming within popular consumers apps is upping the ante. While a month’s woth of email might use 200 MB of data, you can easily reach the same amount in 15 minutes steaming video via Facebook, Netflix or YouTube.
Streaming video over 3G and 4G has sent data traffic soaring over the past year. According to a 2016 report by Sony Ericsson, global mobile data use jumped by 60% since 2015. By 2020, there will be 1.5 phones per person worldwide, and 75% of data will be used streaming video.
Regionally, North America has the highest usage with 5.1 GB per smartphone per month – this is set to reach 25GB per month by 2022. Other regions show similar trends – Western Europe is currently at 2.7 GB per month per smartphone and expected to reach 22GB over the same period. The growth is universal despite large differences in data consumption patterns between networks and regions. And while you might think that average smartphone consumption in the double digit gigabytes is fanciful, we already see such numbers in markets such as Finland (13GB monthly average).
At Corrata, a recent client survey revealed a 96% growth in mobile data traffic in the past year. If you are the person responsible for buying data plans for your organization, such forecasts will no doubt make for sobering reading.
Protecting your business
As IT leader of your organisation, this calls for an innovative approach to your IT policy. How do you ensure that the launch of a new series of Game of Thrones doesn’t leave your company with a grossly inflated mobile data bill? The first step is to educate employees on the growth of mobile data and why businesses have a policy as standard. Establish and communicate a fair usage policy. Communicate with employees around how to avoid unnecessary and costly cellular usage. Let them know if they’re using way more data than expected for their role. Ultimately, you should consider deploying a mobility control solution to provide your organization with visibilty and control over your employees’ use of cellular data.
Mobility Control is the term we use to refer to the ability to enforce policies on device data usage. You can set caps on the total amount of data used in a month, or the amount used while roaming. You can blacklist high bandwidth non work related sites so that employees can only access them on Wi-Fi. You can whitelist business apps so that they are always accessible no matter how much data has been used. In addition, a Mobility Control solution can ensure that employees never access inappropriate content or malicious sites when using their data device.
We are currently witnessing a huge shift in how mobile devices use data. The use of embedded video in social media and web pages will continue to grow, fuelled by larger device screens, and new platforms that support live streaming.
Given these changes, taking control of your employees’ use of mobile data is crucial. Corrata’s Mobility Control solution will help you stay in control and maintain fairness and transparency in your workplace.