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The fifth power and us

These days every country in Europe is dreaming – despite the depressing winds of economy – of becoming a digital country in a digital Europe, i.e. to bring the digital transformati [1]on to all citizen lives and businesses.

In this shared aim smartphones and tablets are playing a central role. Its impact to the Internet and digital industries is such that Telefonica CEO Julio Linares has dubbed it The Fifth Power. It was at a recent annual gathering with the big heads of the industry hold in the north of Spain. The question is how does that affect us customers and what can we expect from the companies that sell smartphones and tablets to us?

Facts are impressive. Compared to the pale six minutes of average usage a day of simple mobile phones, smartphones and tablets yield a much higher usage (on average per day): smartphones are used 90 minutes whilst tablets get it up three hours a day. Smartphones and tablets have become a second brain to customers since they are the place that store all that is needed in our personal and social life as well as professionally.

Given that, it seems still futile that customers have to choose between a personal and a corporate device.

The tilting balance as for what falls into the personal and corporate plates has been adapting over a few years now. Rim in Motion pioneered the strategy of ‘bring your corporate mobile home’ that become so popular for blackberry and then also taking direct steps into pushing it to the young through its free messaging service Whatsapp.

Now, other firms including Apple are pushing the reverse: ‘bring your own devices to the office’. If what is reported by Good Technology [2] – a leading provider that sells to the Fortune 500 – can be just but a significant sample, there are tangible signs that tablets/iPads are making it into the corporate accounts. According to the firm 27% of sold devices in Q2 were tablets and 95 % of those were iPads.

This means that corporate and personal segments do not longer differentiate in the type of device because smartphones and tablets/iPads are in a sense uni-segment (suitable any customer segment).

The big difference is now in the software that determines the features and content in one or another device.

Take this interesting trend on the matter. IT investment by corporations is not longer an act of buying new corporate devices. Instead new devices are taken as IT for doing the job – At last! That is, including devices and their own operation systems (either Apple/IOS or Google/Android) as substitutes to traditional PCs that are able to perform the features – usually two or three – that provide the required good performances of any employee.

The bottom line here is that we (customers) will peel the same fruit at home and in the work place. But the inner side will taste strongly of different apps.