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How the mobile revolution changed jobs – and the world

Apple’s revolutionary iPhone has turned 10 and it’s hard to overstate the impact it’s had in that time. The slim slab which put the internet in our pockets changed the way everyone works around the world.

To mark the anniversary we asked people working in modern, busy workplaces how mobile devices – iPhones, iPads, Android devices, the lot – have changed the way they do their job. Would the modern workplace even operate without them? 

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" I now have the choice between many devices and apps to do my work on and also have choice as to where I want to do my work." Carlos

Here’s what people told us:.

How has the advent of a computer in your pocket affected the way you work?

Abuk: I work in LiveChat and many of our customers chat through their phones, tablets etc. The feedback that we receive in livechat is quick, efficient and a convenient and easy way to clarify general enquiries - without having to wait in a queue.

Emma: My smartphone has simplified my day when travelling between sites and allows me to check meetings from the tram. Additionally, it's handy to reschedule meetings if I need to take sick or carer’s leave.

Richard: I'm able to share with communities that are interested (not a distribution list of people who would likely delete the email), it can all be done on one device without emailing, photos can be shared without worrying about ruining the network and it's a lot less time spent!

What has been gained? What has been lost?

Carlos: What we’ve gained is true portability and choice. Before the prevalence of mobile devices if I wanted to work, I had to be in the office. Even with laptops, it allowed me to 'take my work with me' but wasn't entirely practical to pull out a bulky laptop on the train.

I now have the choice between many devices and apps to do my work on and also have choice as to where I want to do my work.

We are connected at all times now, allowing me to check on what I have to when I want with the most accurate and up to date info, work and update docs in real time and communicate with my team, vendors, agencies, whoever immediately if necessary

What have we lost? Face to face contact and interaction. A lot less of this depending on how far down the tech rabbit hole you've gone!

Additionally, some work-life balance. Whilst this is also a gain - if you’re not careful, constant connectivity can be detrimental. It’s a juggling act we all deal with.

Could you even do your role without one?  

Nicholas: Thanks to my phone camera I now have a mobile movie maker in my pocket which means I can shoot short films at the drop of a hat. Being mobile means I can shoot anyone, anywhere and at any time.

Thanks to the iPhone's built in editing tools and video editing and sharing apps, I can now shoot, produce and publish content within two hours too.

Movie making on the iPhone is so user friendly that I can even get people to film themselves when I can't be there , removing the need and cost of hiring a film crew overseas.

Theo: It's the combination of VDI + WiFi + smart devices that has changed how I work. Ten years ago I my tool of trade was a 3 kg laptop + modem. Today I haul around a 900g web browser. That is all I need when sitting somewhere to pull up my desktop with full access to the network, applications and power found in the office.

When I visit an office, I ditch the 900g back breaker and just plug my 150g phone to a keyboard, mouse + screen and keep going. On the move, that same phone helps take pictures of whiteboards and figure out e-mails + where I need to be.

How do you think it will affect your role 10 years in the future?

Tennielle: I wonder how much time I'd spend touching a device vs just talking and interacting with objects around me?

Maybe I'll be more dependent on it if I no longer own a car and need a vehicle to pick me up to go from A to B...?

From a work perspective, access to data anytime, anywhere on any device; centralised integration and data-driven decisions; a personal EA to help manage admin/work life. The possibilities are endless!

Shane White is senior production editor at bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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