Magazine article The CPA Journal

Smartphones Provide New Capabilities for Mobile Professionals

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Smartphones Provide New Capabilities for Mobile Professionals

Article excerpt

'Anywhere Solutions' for Businesses

To be successful, professionals should leverage technology to help productivity. According to In-Stat, a technology research firm. 2006 was a good year for cellphone manufacturers, with about 1 billion phones sold worldwide, including almost 80 million smartphones (Brad Smith. "Smartphones Escalate OS Wars," Wireless Week. January 1, 2007, www. wirelessweek.com/article/CA6404103.html). A smartphone is a device that can take care of one's communication, handheld computing, and multimedia needs. Unlike traditional cellphones, a smartphone offers a personal information manager (PIM). functionality (e.g., contacts, calendars, and tasks) and allows professionals to install and run various computer applications that can edit documents, search the Internet, and retrieve information from enterprise servers. PDA vendors (e.g., BlackBerry and Palm) have also added phone functionality to their products so that users can discard their traditional cellphones and rely solely on PDAs for their communication needs.

Most professionals cannot work productively without data resources. The rapid advances of wireless communication, including smartphones and third-generation (3G) wireless broadband services, can offer professionals access to the information they need and the convenience of staying connected anytime and anywhere. With fast and secure wireless communication, professionals can retrieve documents from their offices, edit and send documents to their clients and staff, or prepare PowerPoint slides when traveling. A small but powerful smartphone can automatically synchronize (using Microsoft ActiveSync) its data with a laptop or desktop and allow professionals to "carry" their office in their pocket. With smartphone prices dropping and data transmission rates significantly improved, this may be the year that mobile broadband access will finally expand to allow office mobility for virtually all businesses. This article will help professionals make informed decisions for their "anywhere/anytime solution," explain several adoption issues, and offer suggestions to enhance mobile security.

The Anywhere Solution

The anywhere solution (Exhibit 1) provides professionals with secure wireless access to their enterprise servers and business applications. Specifically, professionals can use their smartphones to retrieve the information they need, read and send e-mails, or talk to clients while away from the office. Consequently, a smartphone with a mobile broadband connection creates the "office-to-go" option. As service plans have become increasingly complicated, however, the phone functions have become more complex.

Mobile Standards

Similar to the design variation found in personal computers, cellphones are different in terms of mobile standards or technologies and transmission frequencies. The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is the most popular standard for cellphones around the world. GSM services are used by over 2 billion people across more than 200 countries (73% of the worldwide mobile market share in 2006), but GSM takes second place in the U.S. market. GSM operates in the 900-MHz and 1800-MHz bands in Europe and Asia, while service providers in the U.S., including Cingular (AT&T) and T-Mobile, use the 850-MHz or 1900-MHz spectrum. Consequently, even with a new local subscriber identification module (SIM) card in a foreign country, a GSM cellphone from the U.S. may not work in Europe or Asia. Frequent international business travelers may want to buy a dualband, tri-band, or quad-band "world phone." Mobile standards and frequency information for foreign countries worldwide can be found at www.thetravelinsider.info/ roadwarriorcontent/quadbandphones.htm.

North America is the only region in the world where the Code Division Multiplex Access (CDMA; 800 or 1900 MHz) mobile technology, adopted by Verizon and Sprint, is the market leader. …

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