Mobile computing allows people to use IT without being tied to a single location. Any business with staff that work away from the office can benefit from using it.
Whether you or your employees are traveling to meetings, out on sales calls, or working from a client's site or from home, mobile devices - from laptops and personal organisers such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) to 3G phones and virtual private networks (VPNs) - can help you keep in touch and make the most productive use of your time.
Mobile computing can improve the service you offer when you visit customers. For example, you could use your laptop computer to give a presentation. You could then transfer PDFs of your product literature to your client's computer. Or you could connect remotely to your diary to arrange a follow-up appointment.
Mobile IT devices can also change the way you do business - new technologies lead to new ways of working, and new products and services that can be offered to your customers. They can bring new business opportunities - for example the spin-off businesses surrounding the mobile phone industry.
This guide explains how mobile computing can benefit your business and introduces the key technologies available.
Examples of mobile IT devices include:
- laptop computers
- palmtop computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs)
- mobile phones and "smart phones" - high-end phones with more advanced capabilities
- global positioning system (GPS) devices
Mobile devices can be enabled to use a variety of communications technologies such as:
- WiFi - a type of wireless local area network (LAN) technology
- Bluetooth - connects mobile devices wirelessly with, for example, headsets or printers
- 3G/GSM/GPRS data services - data networking services for mobile phones
- dial-up services - data networking services using modems and telephone lines
- virtual private networks (VPNs) - secure access to a private network