Tag: smartphones

Mara Phones acquired by investors

By Ntando Thukwana for Business Insider

Mara Phones in South Africa, whose future became uncertain when its factory and equipment were placed on auction earlier this year, has just been acquired by a group of investors.

A purchase agreement for the smartphone plant and its assets was concluded on 29 June. It saw Lebashe Investment Group (the owners of Arena Holdings), MPSA projects, and Mara Phones’ local management buyout team acquire it.

“The deal sees Lebashe Investment Group taking up a significant shareholding in the business, which consists of a portfolio of smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices,” Mara Phones said in a statement.

The company said it would focus on rebranding, marketing, and creating sustainable channels. It also committed to establishing a healthy working environment and protecting employees’ dignity.

“The aim is to position Africa as a world-class manufacturing hub of hi-tech products and to locally manufacture affordable, high-quality mobile smart devices,” it said.

The once government-backed entity, set up at Durban’s Dube trade port, went bust last year, just nine months after it began operating. Its launch in late 2019 was met with much fanfare, with President Cyril Ramaphosa lauding it for putting South Africa on the map and making it a leader in technology.

Its creditors, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Standard Bank liquidated the entity and put it up for auction in February. It was subsequently placed under business rescue in the hope of saving the entity and preserving jobs.

Total funding for the factory amounted to R429 million, with the IDC acting as the senior lender in the venture and approving total facilities worth R238 million. Despite Mara Phones’ CEO, Ashish Thakkar, pledging to inject R1.5 billion into the project, its shareholders could not raise their total contribution, and the shortfall had to be plugged by Standard Bank and the IDC.

Following its downfall, Mara Phone’s local management team made a bid directly to the IDC to buy back the factory, leading to its creditors voting in their favour earlier last month. In March, CEO Sylvester Taku told Business Insider they had funding from investors lined up to help take over the business.

Slyvester Taku

Taku, a chartered accountant with an MBA degree, is one out of two members of Mara Phone’s MBO team. He sat as the managing director of Mara’s local management team.

Taku was a crucial figure in developing Mara’s strategy and led its execution. He has 20 years of experience in technology and media and has worked for Deloitte and Ernst and Young.

Taku said it had been an arduous year working on the Mara Phones transaction.

“We persisted even when it looked like failure was the only obvious outcome because we understand that it is more than a company we were trying to rescue but also the aspirations of many Africans who will like to see a thriving smart devices manufacturing industry in South Africa and the continent,” he said.

Mabuti Radebe

Mabuti Radebe acted as co-lead in the buyout process. He is the founder of Virlolite, a firm specialising in distributing, franchising, and retailing telecoms-value added products like smartphones, tablets, laptops, Wi-Fi, fibre, data, and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol).

Virlolite also holds the master franchisor and distribution rights for Mara Phones South Africa.

He has sat on various investment boards and has experience in project financing, deal structuring, project development, sales, and marketing. He has worked in a division of the United Nations, the Atomic Energy Agency.

“We are committed to [being] an integral part of rebuilding in Durban and surrounding areas after the floods and the July unrest,” Radebe said.

Lebashe Investment Group

Lebashe Investment Group is a 100% black-owned investment holding company with assets in industries such as financial services, technology media, and telecommunications.

The company also owns Arena Holdings (previously Tisoblackstar), which publishes the Sunday Times and Business Day newspapers, among other titles. It acquired the business in 2019.

The investment group was founded by Tshepo Mahloele, Jabu Moleketi, and Warren Wheatley.

Mahloele, with more than 20 years of experience in private equity, is chairman for both Lebashe and Arena. He’s held executive posts at the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Commonwealth Development Corporation, among others.

Jabu Moleketi, a university of London and Harvard Business School alumnus and a former deputy finance minister, also makes up Lebashe’s board of directors. He is the non-executive chairman of PPC, South Africa’s largest cement maker, and Harrith Fund Managers.

Wheatley, a chartered accountant, is Lebashe’s chief investment officer and has post-graduate diplomas in corporate finance, financial planning law, and auditing. Wheatly serves as a non-executive director on Arena and chairs the Joint Investment Committee of Telkom’s retirement fund.

 

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband

Just over two years after its launch, South Africa’s first smartphone factory is going on auction.

The Mara smartphone assembly plant near Durban was opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2019 and punted as a state of the art facility that would help create thousands of jobs.

South Africa’s first smartphone factory failed due to a lack of uptake in its products, fewer government tenders for its devices than it had anticipated, and the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, according to the owners.

Mara Phones set up the factory using half of R1.5 billion in funding from Standard Bank and the Industrial Development Corporation.

The remaining amount was to help ensure its continued operation.

Mara claimed the facility could assemble 1.2 million smartphones for the domestic and regional market and already employed 200 workers at its opening.

The models made at the factory were affordable smartphones such as the Mara X, Mara Z, and Mara S.

But now its funders have demanded the factory’s sale through Park Village Auctions, suggesting they are trying to salvage what they can from the facility.

Auction documents have revealed that the plant and its contents are being sold — lock, stock, and barrel.

The auction lot includes the plant, manufacturing and testing equipment, smartphone components, and the completed phones kept in its storage facilities.

“The line is in very good condition and could be reworked to make other electronic components,” said the auctioneers.

Among the equipment noted are a reflow oven, calibration and RF testing hardware, battery simulators, and a power generator.

Other items included in the sale are computers, screens, peripherals, and office furniture.

The auctioneers told BusinessInsider that local and international buyers have expressed interest in buying the factory, including one call out of India.

Equipment at the factory during its opening

It was unclear what led to the sale of the factory and whether this was due to the brand’s inability to gain traction in the South African market.

The Mara X and Mara Z smartphones sold for between R3,000 and R4,000 at launch.

But South Africans have a wide range of capable but affordable smartphones in this segment, including many models from well-established Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Vivo, and Huawei.

Standard Bank told MyBroadband it could not comment and referred all queries to Mara.

Mara Phones previously failed to respond to our questions about how many smartphones it had managed to sell in the country at various points in time.

The company did not respond to our latest query about the factory’s sale either.

The fate of Mara’s factory workers and those at its experience store in Maponya Mall in Soweto, which was launched in November 2020, is also unknown.

Mara has manufacturing facilities in other African countries, but it was unclear whether it would continue selling its smartphones locally.

Although its South African website was still live at the time of publication, all three Mara models on offer were out of stock and unavailable to order.

The factory’s sale also brings up another question — what will happen with Mara’s status as a preferred smartphone brand for the government’s RT15-2021 contract?

National Treasury has stipulated that preference would be given to locally-manufactured brands for state employees who took out mobile packages via the contract.

As Mara was the only company assembling smartphones in South Africa at the time of the contract’s finalisation, it automatically topped the list of preferred manufacturers.

Another flop

The sale of the Mara Phones factory comes after the flop of another smart devices manufacturing facility — Yekani Manufacturing’s R1-billion plant in East London.

In that instance, the company had failed to repay Standard Bank for a R200 million loan, which led to the bank applying for the plant’s liquidation.

Yekani challenged the liquidation in February 2020, and a court suspended the process pending a hearing over a possible business rescue of the company.

Since that time, there does not appear to have been any developments in this regard, and the factory has remained closed, with 500 workers out of a job.

Numerous South African retailers told MyBroadband they never held stock of any smartphones, tablets, or laptops Yekani had claimed to manufacture.

Why LG killed its phone business

By Lisa Eadicicco for Business Insider US

LG is officially bowing out of the smartphone market.

The South Korean tech giant announced on April 5 that it’s exiting the “highly competitive” smartphone business by closing its mobile unit, signaling the end of an era for a company that was once a top-tier handset maker.

The decision underscores how difficult it is to compete with industry giants like Samsung and Apple, particularly in the United States which is part of the world’s third largest smartphone market.

LG was once among the top five smartphone makers in the world. However, it failed to stand its ground.

Worldwide, Apple took the number one spot in the fourth quarter of 2020 with 23.4% of the market while Samsung came in second with 19.1%, according to The International Data Corporation.

Samsung and LG are longtime rivals in the electronics and home appliances industries, but there’s one critical advantage the former has that the latter lacks when it comes to smartphones.

Samsung established itself as the primary competitor to the iPhone when the smartphone market was still fairly young in 2012. Back then, it had a blockbuster hit on its hands with the Galaxy S3, which overtook the iPhone 4S to become the world’s best-selling smartphone in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

The Galaxy S3’s successful launch helped shape a narrative that the smartphone market had become a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung. It fuelled headlines in outlets like The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The Guardian declaring the two tech giants as the winners of what had become the biggest shift in computing in recent history.

No Android phone maker had anything that came close to the popularity of the Galaxy S3 at the time. It put Samsung’s Galaxy S series on the map, setting it up to be the iPhone’s main competitor for years to come.

And despite being more innovative in some ways, other Android phone makers simply couldn’t keep up. For example, tech critics praised HTC in 2013 for its eye-catching One M7 phone, which outpaced every Android phone on the market in terms of build quality and design. But it never had the sales to match those accolades, and HTC sold a chunk of its smartphone business to Google in 2018.

Motorola’s original Moto X from 2013 was also ahead of its time with hands-free voice controls that preceded the Amazon Echo and was well-received by reviewers. But Google sold off Motorola’s mobile unit to Lenovo 2014, and the PC giant has struggled to boost its presence in the smartphone market.

Even Google, which operates Android, has had a hard time breaking into the smartphone business. It pivoted to selling less expensive Pixel smartphones after it had trouble selling high-end phones designed to compete with the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S line.

LG took a similar path. It was ahead of competitors in some ways, such as its decision to bring cameras with a wider field of view to its smartphones years before Apple and Samsung did. But its smartphone division has incurred losses totalling $4.5 billion over six years, resulting in the decision to shut down the unit after it reportedly failed to find a buyer. LG will instead focus on areas like smart home devices, electric vehicle components, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Of course, the success of Samsung and Apple is just one element that’s influenced the market for mobile phones, albeit a big one. Popular Chinese brands that have stood out for their more accessible price points like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus also rose in popularity around the time that LG’s market share began slipping around 2015, as Gartner data provided to Insider indicates.

Still, Samsung and Apple have been comfortably at the top of the smartphone market for years, and LG is just the latest casualty.

 

Smartphone penetration in SA surpasses 90%

According to the 2020 State of the ICT Sector report, the influx of mid- to low-cost smartphone brands in South Africa has resulted in smartphone penetration jumping to 91,2% in 2019.

  • This figure represents a 9.5% increase from 2018 to 2019
  • Just four years ago, that figure was 43.5%
  • ICASA recorded 53.4-million smartphone subscriptions as at 30 September 2019, up by more than 6-million since 2018
  • Total mobile cellular phone voice subscriptions increased by 5.7% from 91-million in 2018 to 96 million in 2019
  • 82-million (85%) are on prepaid subscriptions, while 14-million (15%) are on contract
  • Total prepaid mobile phone subscriptions in urban areas was at 77.5-million in 2019, with postpaid subscriptions at 13.7-million
  • In rural areas, prepaid mobile phone subscriptions were at 4.7-million to just over 885 000 postpaid
  • Mobile cellular data subscriptions increased by 18.8% from 65-million in 2018 to 78 million in 2019
  • Fixed-line voice subscriptions decreased by 38% from 4.4-million in 2018 to 2.7-million in 2019
  • Fibre-to-the-home/building Internet subscriptions increased by 28.8% for the same period
  • Wireless broadband subscriptions increase by 25% from 185 327 in 2018 to 231 687 in 2019
  • The national population coverage for 3G increased from 99.5% in 2018 to 99.7% in 2019
  • 4G/LTE coverage increased from 85.7% in 2018 to 92.8% in 2019

By Allana Akhtar for Business Insider US 

Being on your phone at work, once the sign of a bad employee, is now the norm.

Text messages are “making deep inroads” in workplaces across America, says Wall Street Journal reporter Te-Ping Chen. Yet messaging your boss can lead to accidental texts like “Love you” or “pumpkinbear.”

“While email helps silo work communications, the text inbox is a more blended affair, where notes from friends and family jostle with communiqués from bosses and co-workers,” Chen writes.

Besides awkward text exchanges, there are other miscues many employees can make as smartphones become more commonplace at work. For instance, overusing your phone or constantly getting bombarded with notifications can lead to decreased productivity.

“Productivity is often at its apex during a flow state,” when a person is fully immersed in an activity, NYC-based psychotherapist Jordana Jacobs told Business Insider.

According to Jacobs, while phones are great for the technology they provide, they also feed into our natural distracted state. Cell phones take us out of the flow state, “which is so fundamental to productivity,” she said. “Essentially, we are consistently interrupting our own thought process,” she said. To put it simply, our phones “take us away from ‘the now,'” she added.

It’s probably not plausible for you to get rid of your phone at work completely, but you can still take steps to keep it from getting in the way of your goals.

The first step to being more productive is identifying all the ways our phones keep us from staying focused. Jacobs and Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” broke down the phone habits that are ruining our productivity:

Mindlessly checking emails harms productivity
According to Jacobs, smartphones take us out of being in the present. When we’re constantly checking those work and personal emails, she said it puts us in the mindset of, “I’m doing this rather than just being where I am now.”

Constantly taking photos can keep you from being in the moment
One of the perks of today’s smartphones is that they double as high-quality cameras.

While it’s great to want to take a picture here and there to have a keepsake of a particular moment, Jacobs said that playing paparazzi in our own lives is another way of taking us from living in the now.

Checking social media distracts us from the actual task
Social media can feed our obsession with other people’s lives, but Jacobs said it’s also a platform for us to brag to our followers about what we are doing or have done.

Texting others keeps you from conversing with people around you
Jacobs said that texting and messaging other people can have you more focused on what those people are currently doing, causing a distraction from anything productive that you should be achieving.

Having your phone out all the time keeps you from prioritising
Jacobs said she believes that we have lost the capacity to be alone.

“We now think of the phone as our primary attachment figure; all of the people we know and love live in the phone, that’s how we talk to them,” she said. “We never actually have space by ourselves to contemplate, reflect, or gain insight into the self, in the way we used to be able to.”

Knowing and growing ourselves can be the most productive work we do, and our phones often get in the way of this.

Productivity apps can help and hurt your efforts
While Alpert does think that there are some productivity apps that can be helpful, he said he believes that relying solely on them or downloading the wrong one can actually do the opposite. According to him, the best way to stay productive is to have the right mindset.

“How someone thinks can significantly impact their behaviors, drive, and ultimately their output,” he said. “People should feel encouraged that developing a go-getter mindset is possible.”

Notifications on your screen can be distracting
Alpert said many people do, and these notifications – whether it’s a text message or news alert – can distract you from finishing whatever work you have started. He suggested shutting off social media notifications completely. “These merely serve as a distraction and probably don’t contain anything urgent,” he said.

Opening one app can leads to opening another
With apps, the internet, and other features of smartphones, you can easily find yourself going down a deep rabbit hole of distraction.

“Rarely do people go online or on their phones and stick to the intended reason for checking their phones,” he said. “If they’re checking weather, that might then lead to checking email, messages, or reading a news story – all this serves as a gross distraction and impacts productivity.”

The blue light emitted by your phone impacts sleep quality
According to Alpert, the blue light that is emitted from devices can affect our sleep patterns.

“Blue light is thought to enter the brain through the eyes and impact the pineal gland. This gland plays a role in melatonin production, the hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles,” he said. “So devices used close to bed could impact someone’s ability to get proper rest.”

This will have a profound effect on mood, energy levels, and ability to focus and complete tasks, he said.

Since we can look up anything  we may be losing the ability to wonder
This one may not be expressly related to productivity, but it is still concerning.

Jacobs said we have lost our ability to wonder, because we can pretty much look up whatever we need to – the answers to every burning question we may have are always right at our fingertips. “I think this truncates the creativity process and stunts our imaginations,” she said.

By Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian

Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone seller behind Samsung in the second quarter, the first time in seven years that any contender has managed to split the top two.

Multiple market analysts said that Huawei’s rise came as the slowdown in China, the world’s largest market for smartphones, eased, with growing market share in Europe. Huawei failed in its recent bid to launch in the US after government action against companies deemed a security threat.

Despite Apple being historically weak in the second quarter, analysts described the rise of Huawei as significant.

“The importance of Huawei overtaking Apple this quarter cannot be overstated,” said Canalys analyst Ben Stanton. “It is the first time in seven years that Samsung and Apple have not held the top two positions.”

Approximately 351m smartphones were sold globally in the second quarter, down 2% year-on-year due to market saturation, increasing prices, longer replacement rates, reduced mobile phone network subsidies and lack of feature and design innovation, according to data aggregated by the Guardian.

“Consumers remain willing to pay more for premium offerings in numerous markets and they now expect their device to outlast and outperform previous generations of that device which cost considerably less a few years ago,” Anthony Scarsella from IDC.

Samsung was worst hit by the slowdown of the big three, down 10% year-on-year selling 71.9m smartphones for a 20% share of the market. Huawei raced into the second spot selling 54.2m phones in the quarter, up 41%, for a 15% share of the market. Apple sold 41.3m iPhones, up 1%, for a 12% market share.

“The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown,” said Ryan Reith, programme vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Tracker.

Stanton said: “Huawei’s momentum will obviously concern Samsung, but it should also serve as a warning to Apple, which needs to ship volume to support its growing services division.

“If Apple and Samsung want to maintain their market positions, they must make their portfolios more competitive.’’

Tarun Pathak from Counterpoint Research said that Huawei’s two-pronged strategy using its fast-growing Honor sub-brand to capture the mid-tier segment below £500 and its premium Huawei-branded smartphones at the top end, such as the P20 Pro, appeared to be working.

Analysts said that Huawei’s exclusion from the US has forced it to work harder across Asia and Europe to achieve its growth goals, with its mid-range models proving particularly popular. Data from Canalys showed that Huawei grew it market share in China by 6% to a record 27% in the quarter, where 100m smartphones were sold across the country.

Outside of China, Huawei’s increasing brand recognition newly allowing it to compete at the top end, but the Chinese market remains key for Huawei as it has come under fire from the US, Australia and other nations over concerns it could facilitate Chinese government spying.

Huawei has denied it facilitates spying and has said it is a private company not under Chinese government control and not subject to Chinese security laws overseas.

China and the US are also embroiled in a trade dispute with both nations imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and fighting over technology and patents, which analysts said creates significant uncertainty for all of the major smartphone brands.

Huawei said Tuesday that overall it had 15% higher revenue in the first six months of 2018, steady at levels seen a year ago. Revenue rose to 325.7bn yuan (£36.52bn), while operating margin rose to 14%, from 11% a year ago.

Huawei’s consumer division, which houses its smartphones business, accounted for roughly a third of its total revenue last year. It got half its revenue from its mobile phone network.

The Google Pixel smartphone’s dialler will soon have a spam filtering feature that sends suspected spam callers directly to voicemail.

According to MyBroadband, this is an extension of the app’s existing ability to alert users as to whether it suspects a call of being a “suspected spam caller”.

Instead of a missed call, numbers marked as “spam” or “suspected spam” will be automatically sent to voicemail where they can be listened to at a later date.

This may pose a problem for the traditional telemarketing companies. Once a company has been marked as “spam” by a number of users, it will be “blacklisted” and not appear as a call.

Marketing for large companies is often done by telephone.

Cars need software updates: just like a smartphone

In response to millions of people fleeing Florida in the face of Hurricane Irma, Tesla has “flipped a switch” in some of its cars to temporarily extend their range.

Tesla cars receive software updates much like an iPhone does — via the Internet in an update process called “over-the-air” or OTA updates. It’s one of the only car companies that can do this with their cars, regularly sending updates to fix security flaws or update autonomous driving capabilities.

Contrast this with the approach taken by Chrysler, which sent out USB sticks with a safety update to 1.4m vehicles after hackers showed they could remotely take control of a Jeep. With such USB updates, there was really no way of knowing whether the updates had been applied properly or even got to the right person.

Most people don’t realise just how much of a car’s function is controlled by computer processors. The average car has between 25 and 50 different processors, with cars from BMW and Mercedes having around 100 processors each.

These processors control everything from advanced engine features to braking, automatic parking, collision detection, entertainment, navigation and security. As cars become more intelligent, they are coming to rely on increasingly sophisticated software.

Most of these processors have software that, at the moment, can only be updated by taking the car into to an authorised dealer. Car recalls have become a multibillion-dollar expense for the car industry and a major inconvenience for owners.

For this reason, over-the-air updates will be coming to most cars soon. General Motors recently announced that it would start to deliver updates to its cars using GM’s OnStar network. Bosch, one of the leading companies delivering electronics and processing to car manufacturers, is gearing up to deliver secure over-the-air capabilities to cars through a subsidiary, Escrypt.

Malware

It is estimated that 180m cars will be built with this capability in the next five years.

Despite the recent interest, car manufacturers have been wary of updating vehicles in this way. There was concern that too many things could go wrong during the update, leaving the car not driveable.

Security has also been a concern. Hackers could potentially intervene and substitute malware during the update, for example, with potentially lethal consequences.

The process of updating a car turns out to be not that dissimilar from updating an iPhone.

In fact, the acceptance of over-the-air updates for a car starts with the fact that people are more familiar and comfortable with updating a smartphone. They understand that the process can’t be interrupted and the phone must have enough power, for example.

From the technological perspective, the update is encrypted and is accompanied with appropriate signatures that get checked and accepted by special security hardware on the car, called a hardware security module.

The updates are transmitted over secure connections and special software on the car can receive the update and apply it. If something goes wrong, the system needs to be able to roll the update back and leave the original version of the software intact and operating.

Traditional car dealers may see this as a way of cutting them out of the loop, and may resist any regulations allowing these types of updates outside of a normal service
The arrival of more autonomous driving capabilities in cars will make updates essential, as with the case of Tesla. While these updates could be done at an annual service, the demands of autonomous driving will require more frequent updates of software.

At the same time, consumers are becoming sophisticated enough to be able to manage these updates themselves.

The challenge for companies wanting to move to over-the-air updates may not just be a case of car manufacturers moving too slowly. Traditional car dealers may see this as a way of cutting them out of the loop, and may resist any regulations allowing these types of updates outside of a normal service.

Other potential barriers may come from regulators. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has a task force looking at cybersecurity and over-the-air updating in motor vehicles.

One area of concern for this group is that if a vehicle has been certified by a country’s motor vehicle safety standards, what happens if it receives an over-the-air update that changes how it performs? Does this render its certification invalid? This might be the case especially if the vehicle’s emissions change as a result of the software update.

Another challenge that may give car manufacturers pause is that if a car can be updated with new features using a simple software update, will customers hang onto the cars for longer and not upgrade their cars quite so often?

By David Glance published on TechCentral

South Africa’s office workers spend nearly an hour a day working on their mobile devices despite having access to more powerful computers.

And they see smartphones as preferable to tablets when it comes to doing work on a mobile device.

This is according to a recent survey of 12 000 office workers nationwide by Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy. The survey quizzed South African office workers on their technology preferences in the workplace.

Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, said:”The results show how mobile devices are making greater inroads to just about everyone’s working life. Even if people have access to desktops and laptops, they spend an hour a day working on their smartphones. We expect this number to climb.”

When asked which mobile device was most needed for work, 52% said a smartphone while 38% said a tablet. Interestingly people in both categories said they would prefer to bring their own devices to work (the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon as it is called), a global trend in which workers associate greater enjoyment in using their own devices.

The survey also asked about workers’ preferred operating system. When it came to desktop computers, 80% said they preferred windows while only 11% preferred macOS, Apple’s desktop operating system.

When asked the same question about laptops, 79% said they prefer windows while 15% preferred Apple’s operating system.

On smartphones however, 41% prefer Apple’s IOS operating system to Google’s Android at 50%. For tablets, Apple comes top at 49% compared to Android’s 37%.

“Interestingly the survey also showed that when people work on smartphones or tablet’s, 77% prefer to do it away from their desks, even if they are still in the office.

“It’s a habit – people think of smartphones and tablets as mobile tools so they often use them elsewhere.

“Many of our clients are now setting up more casual areas of chairs, couches and mini desks where people can nip away from the desk and work elsewhere for a while.

“This is especially true for millennial workers who tend to be less inclined to sit at their desks all day and love using mobile devices,” Andrews noted saying given the rise of mobile devices offices would have to change to accommodate the demand for working away from the traditional desk.

When asked which were the ‘most important IT features’, 73% said remote access, 50% said high performance machines, 44% said an ability to access applications offline while 32% said some sort of protection for their devices against weather and/or dirt.

Finally, people were asked about something every office worker has strong views on: IT Support.

“The survey asked people where they turn to for IT support: 35% said the IT help desk, 21% simply googled the problem while 13% asked colleagues,” Andrews concluded.

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