Article (Mobile Ecosystem Forum): 10 Ways That Mobile Changed Education Forever

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know pretty well how workplaces have evolved. From being chained to their workstations to working on the go, this generation is the age of the mobile office. People work from practically everywhere these days – homes, coffee shops, lounges, restaurants, flights and loos. Such is the trend that, recently, a multi-national real estate company based out of London with 21 offices across Europe, Middle East and Africa announced that there would not be any assigned desks for their employees across any of its offices. And just so that we have the statistics backing us too, here is what Gartner states:

By 2018, 50 percent of team communication and coordination will be driven by mobile group and collaboration apps. What is triggering this radical transformation is the emergence of various enterprise technologies, collaboration and communication tools, cloud-based document management and web-based support services.

The Rise of Virtual Offices

The workforce today is dominated by 20-somethings who are mobile-driven, tech savvy and more collaborative. Shared documents, online meetings, video conferencing, IMs and collaborative platforms have given rise to a digital workplace which means that employees can work and interact with each other across locations and geographies. Personal and work spaces overlap, and employees can now be seen attending business calls even as they babysit at home. Mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones are the ‘arsenal’ that drive these virtual workspaces. Businesses looking to go global are smiling through this rise of virtual workspaces. They can cut huge office rental costs, source talent and target markets from across the world.

However, it is not all as rosy as it looks. Mobile devices, especially when employees are using personal devices to work, are emerging as the biggest threats to enterprise data security. If you are a CIO or an IT admin, you are probably already sulking by now. Problems like mobile apps not available across platforms, infrastructure policies like single sign on, VPN and unencrypted data on personal devices are some of the problems that the CIO is dealing with while building an effective workplace. The phrase “there is an app for everything” is still not applicable in the enterprise space, where users are still only able to access their emails on phones.

Additionally, companies should stop obsessing about mandatory eight-hour shifts. This needs to be replaced with an “outcome” based approach where the employee focuses on finishing a set of tasks rather than the time spent on the task.

The 3M Strategy – Manage Manpower, Machines and Mobiles

Most business owners and IT heads are still stuck with the mobile device management (MDM) solutions of yore. However, workplaces are far more than just mobile devices. Today’s enterprises must have extensive manageability platforms that allow them to secure and manage all machines, mobile devices and manpower in a single click. From remotely managing, locking and wiping employee devices to enforcing a range of enterprise policies, IT teams must have a fool-proof security net. As for the employees, they need to escape the technicalities and hassles of on-boarding and chasing IT teams every time their personal apps are lost. Enterprises must manage devices such that employees can set up personal and enterprise profiles on their devices and switch between them seamlessly.

Enterprise mobility solutions should also be tailored to enhance efficiency of machines and manpower and in turn enhance business productivity. Floor managers and admins should be able to track the performance of all the machinery and assets across different plants and units. Any break down or snag must send an instant notification so that the admin can alert the ground staff and get them to fix it, thereby reducing downtime and making them more efficient. Likewise, manageability solutions should be closely tied with manpower management. Every time field executives from the sales department go for a client visit it should track their location, calculate the total distance traveled and total clients closed, and then automatically map it against reimbursements and incentives to be disbursed by the company.

Move Over Android

However much Android claims to be enterprise-ready with versions like Android for Work or Android M, not much has changed as far as enterprise security is concerned. As the enterprise mobile scenario becomes complex, CIOs and IT teams need to set up a fool-proof data security network. Custom operating systems are the next step that will provide a distinct edge to specialized MDM solutions and enterprise data security mechanisms and policies. Encrypting corporate data and devices gives a security blanket to key data residing on your phone or your memory card.

As the world moves increasingly towards even faster 4G networks, mobile workspaces will only evolve. It is estimated that by 2018 global mobile traffic will reach an annual run rate of 190 exabytes. In 2013, this rate was just 18 exabytes—a phenomenal growth trajectory driven primarily by the emergence of smarter devices and technologies. It is time to upgrade to launch into MWM 2.0 (Mobile Workspace Management) to brace for yet another phenomenal shift.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Krish Kupathil is the CEO of Mobiliya Technologies, an AgreeYa Mobility company, which delivers cutting edge leadership mobility solutions from cloud to devices. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., Mobiliya Technologies delivers targeted and differentiated smartphones and tablets, an enterprise-grade Android platform, flexible and customizable device management, an enterprise mobility platform and a collaborative e-learning platform. A veteran of the mobile engineering industry and authority on enterprise mobility, Kupathil has been published and quoted in renowned publications such as Tech Crunch, Slashdot, Training Magazine, Modern Infrastructure, WIRED’s Innovation Insights, Small Business Computing and TechTarget.

Article (TechSpective.net): How Technologies of Today are Transforming the Workplaces of Tomorrow

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know pretty well how workplaces have evolved. From being chained to their workstations to working on the go, this generation is the age of the mobile office. People work from practically everywhere these days – homes, coffee shops, lounges, restaurants, flights and loos. Such is the trend that, recently, a multi-national real estate company based out of London with 21 offices across Europe, Middle East and Africa announced that there would not be any assigned desks for their employees across any of its offices. And just so that we have the statistics backing us too, here is what Gartner states: Continue reading “Article (TechSpective.net): How Technologies of Today are Transforming the Workplaces of Tomorrow”

Article (Edtech Digest): Digital Classrooms, Virtual Schoolbags and Remote Learning

Kids today usesmartphones even before they learn to talk — a phenomenon many of us would find hard to believe. Welcome to the real generation of “digital kids.” According to a survey by Common Sense Media, about 38 percent of children under the age of two have used a smartphone or a tablet. By the age of eight, about 72 percent of children have used a smartphone, tablet or a mobile device. Children (eight and under) are spending more time on mobile devices, an average of 15 minutes per day, as these tools will allow a single-point access to all regular K-12 educational needs like digital classrooms, assignments, timetables, curriculum, discussion forums, and communication channels.

opposed to just five minutes a day back in 2011. Not surprisingly, for the first time ever, traditional schools and teaching methods are facing the threat of becoming irrelevant for these “born-with-a-smartphone” kids. Over the next ten years, school and college students will need new learning tools and mobile-driven systems to make mainstream education truly engaging, relevant and futuristic.

Resetting the Core of Education

With technology revolutionizing every aspect of our life, it’s surprising that schools even today still have the same basic framework that existed fifty years ago. We still have physical classrooms with a certain number of children, with teachers at the forefront running the show. Students still rely on stacks of books and infinite worksheets as part of their regular school work.

However, the emergence of sophisticated digital learning tools and platforms is set to change the very core of education. These tools will allow a single point access to all regular K-12 educational needs like digital classrooms, assignments, timetables, curriculum, discussion forums, and communication channels.

Probably the biggest advantage that these tools would offer is the power of remote learning and teaching. Instead of the regular time-bound lectures, these platforms will enable students to access classrooms on their laptop, tablets or smartphones at a time that is suitable for them from any location. These tools will enable educational institutes across the world to bring a personalized experience. Students can design their own learning methods and choose to learn by reading, watching online videos or even playing games, making the learning curve customized and hence – more rewarding.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the current education system is that most subjects today are taught in the same rote manner. However, a digital platform powered with extended features can help in customizing and changing the learning pedagogy. For example, a history class could enable teachers to recreate famous battles and wars in 3-D, which could make learning much more engaging and fun. Augmented reality could help students to actually “visit” the different continents or gamification would help kids learn numbers faster.

With books generally being replaced by tablets and e-readers, textbooks too will soon become obsolete. Why would students carry loads of books and heavily loaded backpacks when their tablets allow them to access all the content within a single click? Digital tools with a built-in content store (a virtual school bag) would mean that students can not only access notes by teachers but also third party content and books by different subject experts and authors.

Teachers Untethered 

Most teachers would agree that they end up spending a lot of their valuable time on tedious work like tests or assignments and collating performance results. Digital tools can emerge as the precise alternative for automating information collation and populating performance results and student scorecards. One-click dashboards can help teachers to track all assignments and statuses, student performances and even initiate chat or call with contacts, all in one go. This would minimize time spent on non-teaching tasks and help teachers to focus on improving teaching methods and pedagogies. Teachers can focus on finding innovative ways to teach, pay more attention to weaker students, and find ways to resolve learning challenges, if any.

In addition, student-teacher interaction can now go beyond classrooms. Email, chat and teleconferencing would mean that students and teachers can communicate and interact in an even more flexible environment.

As the debate and hype rages about the extent of technology changing education and threatening to replace schools completely, more and more tech experts believe that it is just a means to enhance the whole learning experience. Future schools must be equipped to cater to “digital learners” instead of just focusing on teaching kids with the traditional methods. Digital learning tools will enable schools, colleges and universities to make learning more futuristic and visually and intellectually more engaging and stimulating.