Creating a better future with mobile: The importance of mobile technology skills

By Jonathan Crowl

The average American consumer is well-acquainted with mobile technology, thanks in large part to high smartphone adoption rates. According to research from comScore, more than 80 percent of American consumers over the age of 13 owned a smartphone at the start of 2017.

The global population is quickly catching up, too. According to Statista, an estimated 2.71 billion consumers around the world will own smartphones by 2019. Mobility is quickly becoming the technology that connects the world.

As such, creating a better future with mobile isn’t just a possibility — it’s also the most practical way for organizations to create change. Leveraging mobile for innovation and transformation requires mobility literacy, however; even among mobile device owners, this level of literacy can vary widely. In an enterprise organization, mobility literacy is both an asset that most employees possess, and something that needs to be refined through continued education, training and exploration of mobility’s possible uses.

Mobile technology skills are more important than ever, and enterprises need to know how to identify, cultivate and apply these skills to effect meaningful change.

The core components of mobility literacy

Mobile literacy isn’t as simple as knowing how to use a smartphone. Businesses that make this assumption are setting themselves and their workers up for failure when it comes to adopting new mobile solutions. While it’s true that experience with smartphones and tablets is a good start to understanding this technology, there’s much more to be considered when applying this literacy to solving real-world problems.

Employees also need the ability to adopt new mobile solutions in the form of software, apps and even wearables. But there’s no guarantee that a smartphone owner understands how wearables or other IoT solutions work. An employee with too vague an understanding of the role these solutions play in the workplace may be unable to understand and respect how those solutions should be used.

Along those same lines, security considerations are a critical component of mobile literacy. The ability to avoid vulnerabilities and risky behavior, targeted through phishing attacks, unsecured networks and other mobile threats, is just as important for effective understanding of the topic as making good use of innovative, time-saving solutions.

Every employee will bring their own level of mobile literacy into their professional role, and employers should be on the lookout for workers who already possess these skills. But to truly transform the literacy of your organization, investing in education and training will be essential: Workers need access to mobility skills development if they’re going to play an active role in creating a better future with mobile.

Creating a better future with mobile: Mobility’s role in global problem-solving

Mobility literacy opens the door to unprecedented opportunities for innovation. The creative potential is virtually unlimited, but it can only be accessed by workers and organizations owning a sharp understanding of mobility, including how their company uses it, how they might improve, and how mobile technology can be applied to longstanding problems.

Already, mobility is being used to reach new markets and build new solutions to problems that were previously impossible, or at least impractical, to solve. As mobile device adoption has surpassed that of bank accounts in developing nations like Kenya and Africa, financial institutions have created mobile banking apps that make savings accounts and other banking services accessible to these consumers for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, the use of IoT tracking solutions is helping conservationists in Africa combat poaching of protected and endangered species. In both cases, repeated attempts to solve these problems before the advent of mobile technology only provided partial solutions, and efficacy was doubtful. Today, though, mobility has brought meaningful change to these parts of the world, leveraging technology and mobile literacy to build a better future.

Improving collaboration and agility together

As James Williams explains on LinkedIn, information technologies are inherently designed to support collaborative and team-based approaches to business. Mobile apps and solutions are integral in fostering employee connectivity, even across different business locations and/or between remote workers.

This is contingent upon these workers having their own individual literacy to use these solutions to be more productive in their professional roles. Some of this literacy will be intuitive, a benefit of living in an age of smartphones, tablets and computers. But businesses can also help refine this literacy through mandatory and optional training modules designed to help less-experienced workers catch up in terms of their mobile literacy. This can be very beneficial for older workers who have a harder time grasping new mobile solutions, but it should be available to all workers to expedite adoption and proper use of mobile solutions.

By enabling collaboration and teamwork through mobile, organizations can tackle problems and business goals without suffering from the limitations of geographic distance, and the expertise and knowledge of its entire workforce can be leveraged to push this transformation.

The ultimate advantages of mobility often circle back to saved time, more efficient use of resources and improved employee productivity, in addition to the aforementioned possibilities regarding innovation. But the benefits of mobility can only be captured by literate employees who understand how these solutions can inform, shape and improve their work. No matter the size of your business or the perceived mobility literacy of your workers, every company should prioritize the continued development of mobile technology skills.