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Digital Limbs

I spend so much of my time and effort explaining to friends, colleagues, customers and strangers in the street, that 'mobility' is more than carriage and devices.

Mobility is an exciting new world of applications, Internet of things, machine to machine and enterprise messaging. It is transforming every aspect of our lives both professionally and personally.

But I must say, that at the end of the day, connected devices are still the backbone of mobility. Yes - I am talking 'connected' devices, as a wi-fi only device, to me, is like having a mountain bike without any gears. It might get the job done at times, in certain conditions, but it isn't really operating at its full capacity.

Connected devices bring to life the power of our network, they enable industry disrupting applications, they enable digital ways of working - including cloud, big data, and unified communications. They improve business processes, speed decision making, increase customer satisfaction and drive productivity.

I have heard them described as 'digital limbs' - I love that term. As devices really are like an extension of ourselves. I can remember my first mobile device - a great, big, yellow Nokia 5110 brick with a tiny green screen. I then moved on to a sexy little Ericsson t28 flip phone. The day I got a Blackberry Bold was the day I thought I had really "arrived". I am no different to the rest of Australia - we have a love affair with devices.

The devices that are available today - to call them 'smart' seems like a massive understatement. They are incredibly intelligent and powerful machines. I am particularly impressed with the desktop replacement style tablets, such as the Surface Pro, Toshiba Z20 and the new Apple iPad Pro. These have the sleekness, style and size of a tablet, with the power to operate as the primary device and replace desktop computers and laptops. They can literally 'do it all'.

The challenge for businesses is, choosing the right device; making the most out of the devices you invest in, and ensuring they are secure, managed and supported.

When choosing the right device for your business it is important that you choose one that is Enterprise grade. That is, it has been tested and certified as an enterprise grade device by a carrier. You know that it will have the right security protocols, it will work the way it reports and has been built for Australian mobile network standards.

You can't really go out and provide your staff with connected devices and just expect that it will have a resounding effect on productivity, efficiency, employee engagement and customer advocacy. You need a mobile strategy to really understand how you are going to use the device and why. The reality is that devices drive business value from them but you need a strategy to enable this.

A mobile strategy involves understanding the devices deployed across the enterprise (both personal and business funded); profiling the needs of various users; and matching devices to user profiles in the context of business functions.

The mechanics of managing, maintaining, staging, securing and supporting devices and applications are the bits that end users often don't see. It might not sound sexy, but when you get a new device that 'just works' and automatically downloads all your relevant business apps, secures your corporate content but still lets you play candy crush - it is magic!

While mobility is an exciting and evolving world, it is still one that revolves around connected devices - our digital limbs. Let's make sure we are getting the most out of them.

Read other enterprise mobility at Telstra Exchange.