Smartphones: the key to Staying Ahead of the Competition?

03/11/2011 10:23 GMT | Updated 03/01/2012 10:12 GMT

Today's adults spend almost half of their waking hours on the phone, texting or using other communications devices, but with the majority of that time being used for business and work purposes, is it any wonder that we're becoming increasingly reliant on technology to help us succeed in business?

Smartphones, such as iPhones, BlackBerrys and more recently, HTCs, have fast become an essential business tool, allowing users to keep in touch with clients, submit expenses and even manage their sales databases whilst on the go. They have enabled us to have our own mobile office anywhere in the world - from sitting in the park, to lying in bed at night - we've now become a generation where we are contactable 24/7, every single day of the year.

And in the current economic climate, where competition has never been fiercer, it's this availability that people rely on to make them stand out from the competition. When you can't fight on price, it quickly becomes all about service. So if someone can use an app on their phone to give better and quicker service to customers, that sets them apart and ahead of any of their competitors.

Interestingly, the latest OfCom report suggests that 27% of adults now use a smartphone, with this number expected to increase dramatically over the next year as employee expectations and government initiatives encourage businesses to implement flexible working. But with so many workers relying on the latest technology to help them succeed, are the remaining 73% at an instant disadvantage to their gadget-loving counterparts?

The findings from OfCom would certainly suggest so. With the number of fixed business landlines falling by over 5%, this suggests that more business users are turning towards a smartphone. Time spent on voice calls is up 350% and with 81% of smartphone users making calls everyday compared with just 53% of regular phone users, smartphone owners certainly seem to be more productive with their time.

And it's men who appear to be more smitten with their phones than women, keeping their phones within arm's reach for 17 hours each day. 18% even admit to sleeping with their phones next to them in bed - that's taking dedication to a whole new level!

So whether it's an increase in the need for flexible working, or the simply love of a gadget, at CommsFM, we're increasingly seeing more and more people wanting to get more and more out of their phone. Want to check your emails whilst at the beach or organise a video conference whilst doing your weekly Tesco shop? No problem, your smartphone can help you do that. Even if you fancy monitoring your heart rate to check your stress levels aren't getting to high - there's an app for that as well.

But whatever you want from your business and your telecoms - whether it's the latest smartphone to boost productivity or how to get the most out of your existing telephone system - then seek advice. We'll be exhibiting at Scotland's largest business support event, New Start Scotland, so come and speak to over 150 experts who can help boost your business and seize the opportunities to enable your firm to grow and flourish in the coming years.