Going Mobile! The simple truth is that learners today are used to accessing information when and where they need it. Their mobile devices give them the ability to explore new ideas or expand their educational horizons in a matter of seconds.

In other words, a mobile learning experience is effective simply because it gives learners the opportunity to learn anytime, anywhere, without limitations.

What is the mobile technology?

Mobile technology is exactly what the name implies – technology that is portable. Examples of mobile IT devices include:

  • laptop, tablets, and netbook computers
  • ‘Smart phones’
  • Global positioning system (GPS) devices
  • Wireless debit/credit card payment terminals

Mobile devices can be enabled to use a variety of communications technologies such as:

  • Wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) – a type of wireless local area network technology
  • Bluetooth – connects mobile devices wirelessly
  • ‘Third generation’ (3G), ‘fourth generation’ (4G), global system for mobile communications (GSM) and general packet radio service (GPRS) data services – data networking services for mobile phones
  • Dial-up services – data networking services using modems and telephone lines
  • Virtual private networks – secure access to a private network

Advantages of mobile technologies

Mobile computing can improve the service you offer your customers. For example, when meeting with customers you could access your customer relationship management system – over the internet – allowing you to update customer details whilst away from the office. Alternatively, you can enable customers to pay for services or goods without having to go to the till. For example, by using a wireless payment terminal diners can pay for their meal without leaving their table.

More powerful solutions can link you directly into the office network while working off site, for instance to access your database or accounting systems. For example, you could:

  • Set up a new customer’s account
  • Check prices and stock availability
  • Place an order online

This leads to great flexibility in working – for example, enabling home working, or working while travelling. Increasingly, networking ‘hot spots’ are being provided in public areas that allow connection back to the office network or the internet. The growth of cloud computing has also impacted positively on the use of mobile devices, supporting more flexible working practices by providing services over the internet. For more information see our guide on cloud computing.

Disadvantages of mobile technologies

There are costs involved in setting up the equipment and training required to make use of mobile devices. Mobile IT devices can expose valuable data to unauthorised people if the proper precautions are not taken to ensure that the devices, and the data they can access, are kept safe. See our guide on securing your wireless systems.

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