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APAC Survey Asks ‘Are you ready for #GenMobile?’

On the heels of the U.S. and EMEA focused #GenMobile study, Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN) today asks businesses across the Asia Pacific region Are you ready for #GenMobile? by releasing a report that goes beyond BYOD and explores a new breed of employee that is changing the workplace as we know it.

The report, which surveyed over 5,500 respondents in the region1, reveals characteristics of the newly dubbed #GenMobile, a group of employees defined by their preference for mobility both in terms of the significance of mobility, and their approach to work. The report also includes revealing data that shows businesses’ attitude towards the emergence of this new phenomenon, allowing those organizations to sharpen their competitive edge and take full advantage of their employees’ productivity.

The majority of #GenMobile2 employees are in the early stages of their careers, have a tendency to work non-traditional work hours, and own three or more connected devices (59%). One third of them are always online (33%), whether they are working or not. #GenMobile employees are so attached to their mobile devices that 87% of them prefer to search for information via their connected devices versus traditional channels like television or newspapers.

The report reveals that, rather than acting as an aide to the workday, #GenMobile are shaping their working lives around their connected devices. With the ability to work effectively anytime, anywhere and on any device, they expect employers to implement the necessary policies and structural changes to accommodate their preferred mode of working. According to the report, more than 94% of businesses are aware of the need to increase budget to support Wi-Fi usage, so that they can better cope with the increasing connectivity demands of both employees and customers.

Regional trends that define #GenMobile in the workplace include:

  • Wi-Fi matters: Nearly 68% would prefer Wi-Fi at the expense of other connections (4G, 3G or wired), while more than half (58%) would spend at least four hours or more with their connected devices.
  • The digital-savvy generation is here: Digital means are becoming the primary source of information for the members of #GenMobile. Close to 59% would first check emails/news/weather with mobile devices in the morning, followed by 28% who would also check social media networks, while only 13% would read newspaper or watch news on TV.
  • Always-online: 34% are always online, while 68% check their smartphone more than once per hour.
  • Money alone cannot buy their loyalty: More than two-thirds (69%) would prefer to have flexible work hours than to receive a 5% cash allowance at a rigid workplace.
  • From BYOD to CYOD (Choose Your Own Device): Availability of devices is also becoming more appealing to today’s workforce than free lunches. 74% would opt for receiving a smartphone of their choice rather than free lunches from their employer.
  • Evolving business models: Enterprises are become more aware of how Wi-Fi enhances communications (42%), meets the needs of the next-generation employees (41%) and improves the user experience (34%), although improving efficiency still dominates (71%).

#GenMobile employees want to stay connected all the time, no matter where they are, and they tend to be highly productive members of the workforce. The typical #GenMobile employee abides by the “anywhere, anytime” principles of flexible working, where the office location and working hours are no longer constrained to the traditional workplace and work schedule.

Aruba Networks believes that understanding and catering to #GenMobile employees’ needs can be the key to a productive workplace. Traditionally, when deploying a technology like Wi-Fi, businesses are looking to improve efficiency (71%) and reduce cost (44%). While these are still key factors, today’s businesses are beginning to understand the value brought by mobility and enhanced Wi-Fi networks, in terms of attracting and retaining #GenMobile workers.

“We’ve seen flexible working modes and BYOD gaining popularity across demographics for some time, but this report shows that they’ve now become a way of life for those in the modern workforce,” said Gary Jackson, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Aruba Networks. “To take full advantage of the potential of this new generation of workforce, today’s technology decision makers will need to start looking for solutions that ensure levels of empowerment and productivity for this new era of GenMobile employee. This modern work force will expect high-performance, mobile access as part of their work conditions, just as they do with salary and other key benefits.”

Among the businesses that were interviewed, 94% are becoming aware of the transformation and the critical role mobility plays in preparing for #GenMobile’s entrance into the workforce. While we are in the relatively early stages of the transformation, at present almost two-thirds (62%) of businesses provide laptops or desktops to employees at work, but less than 20% provide connected devices such as tablets (19%) or smartphones (18%) to employees.

On the BYOD front, more than one-third (38%) of the #GenMobile workforce use their own devices for business applications, and only 55% of their employers set security policies to manage devices brought into the workplace. This represents a security gap that businesses should not overlook when making decisions on their Wi-Fi infrastructure.

“Aruba believes that businesses will invest more in their Wi-Fi infrastructure as they see the demands of GenMobile workers entering the workforce,” said Jackson. “It will be important for businesses to facilitate this shift to mobility without compromising traditional requirements such as security and cost efficiency.”

Highlights from the APAC findings

Japan (49.5%), China (42%) and Hong Kong (39%) respondents are among the users most attached to their connected devices as more than one-third of the respondents claimed to be always online, followed by Singapore (35%), Taiwan (31%) and Korea (29%). These numbers are in sync with the high network penetration in these economies. Less than one-fifth of respondents in Southeast Asian countries expressed similar responses, suggesting they are less attached to their devices (16% in Indonesia, 16% in Malaysia and 15% in Thailand).

The increasing demand for flexible work modes is clearly indicated in Southeast Asia, where more than 70% of the respondents declared that they would prefer flexible work modes than to have a more rigid workplace even with a cash allowance (78% in Indonesia, 76% in Malaysia, 75% in Singapore, 82% in Thailand, 75% in China and 72% in Japan).

More than half (68%) prefer to connect to the Internet on their devices via Wi-Fi, particularly in Japan (79%), China (77%) and Thailand (76%).

77% of the businesses observed at least a 25% increase in Wi-Fi usage in their organization. The majority of the respondents (90%) plan to increase their support resources to meet the expectations of Wi-Fi users within the year, again with the exception of Korea, which has only recorded slightly more than one-third (38%) of respondents expecting to do so.

The blending of work and personal device usage is best demonstrated in Indonesia (63%), Malaysia (61%) and Thailand (86%) with more than 60% of their respondents using their own devices for business applications more than half of the time. This indicates that businesses should consider their BYOD strategy to improve communications with employees in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia. In Northern Asia including Korea (25%) and Japan (15%), people are less inclined to use their own devices for business applications.

Apart from the predominant factors like cost and efficiency, businesses in Japan are more aware of the benefits brought by Wi-Fi in terms of improving user experience (54%), while Malaysia is more concerned about enhancing communications (64%) and Singapore’s focus is on meeting the needs of the next-generation employees (54%), implying different priorities and approaches among enterprises across these countries in sharping their Wi-Fi user experience.

Businesses in China and Japan (82%) have higher security awareness. More than half (55%) of businesses have set security policies for connected devices in the workplace. By comparison, only two-fifths of businesses in Singapore (40%) and Taiwan (45%) did so.

Additional Resources

About Aruba Networks, Inc.

Aruba Networks is a leading provider of next-generation network access solutions for the mobile enterprise. The company designs and delivers Mobility-Defined Networks that empower IT departments and #GenMobile, a new generation of tech-savvy users who rely on their mobile devices for every aspect of work and personal communication. To create a mobility experience that #GenMobile and IT can rely upon, Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks™ automate infrastructure-wide performance optimization and trigger security actions that used to require manual IT intervention. The results are dramatically improved productivity and lower operational costs.

Listed on the NASDAQ and Russell 2000® Index, Aruba is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.

© 2014 Aruba Networks, Inc. Aruba Networks’ trademarks include Aruba Networks®, Aruba The Mobile Edge Company® (stylized), Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks™, Aruba Mobility Management System®, People Move Networks Must Follow®, Mobile Edge Architecture®, RFProtect®, Green Island®, ETips®, ClientMatch™, Virtual Intranet Access™, ClearPass Access Management Systems™, Aruba Instant™, ArubaOS™, xSec™, ServiceEdge™, Aruba ClearPass Access Management System™, Airmesh™, AirWave™, Aruba Central™, and “ARUBA@WORK™. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

1 Research conducted in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand

2 ‘While #GenMobile is not an age group, for the purposes of this report #GenMobile has been defined via a cross-section of the survey base that showed the highest preference for mobility at home and at work. Typically these respondents were between 18-35 years of age.

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