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BYOD and Productivity: Why You Need a Good Conferencing Smartphone App

Smartphones are increasingly the norm in the workplace, and while many companies have embraced BYOD, not all collaboration tools provide useful smartphone apps to aid productivity. While conferencing is an extremely common activity in many businesses, surprisingly few people have a conferencing smartphone app to help reduce common frustrations associated with conferencing, such as background noise and not knowing who’s talking.

The Rise of BYOD and the Impact on Productivity

In recent years, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has become increasingly common, as more and more employees are permitted to bring their personal technology into the workplace. In a February 2013 report on factors set to transform audio conferencing, Wainhouse Research noted that “the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement has come on strong beginning in 2011, which was the landmark year in which more tablets and smartphones were shipped than PC’s. Many enterprises now support and/or have policies encouraging employee use of their own devices.”

One advantage of this trend is its positive relationship to productivity: Forrester recently published statistics which strongly suggested that smartphones can significantly increase employee productivity. The findings included:

– 51% of people strongly agree that using a smartphone for work makes them more productive, while only 2% strongly disagree.
– 41% of people surveyed feel strongly that having a smartphone makes it much easier to get their job done.

How does conferencing fit into this? How can smartphones be leveraged to make this everyday activity more productive?

For a start – and as we have mentioned many times before – conference calls and online meetings are generally disliked. As part of Wainhouse’s research (in an online survey of audio and web conferencing users, April 2012), they confirmed a number of commonly-experienced frustrations:

– 74% of respondents reported that background noise was an issue
– 75% said they can’t understand if more than one person speaks
– 47% reported difficulties in setting up a call

The survey respondents indicated that dealing with these issues are actually bigger concerns than call reliability itself. According to the survey report, “The net result is that audio conferences all too often induce a sense of anticipated dread, a fatiguing experience during the call.”

So, as workers increasingly have smartphones and they need to do conference calls – an activity in which productivity is hampered by frustrations – surely the logical solution is to make use of a conferencing app which helps to solve these issues.

For a conferencing app to be a worthwhile addition to your smartphone, it needs to be both useful and usable. Unfortunately, some smartphone conferencing apps are basically auto-dialers and not much else, while other smartphone conferencing apps are complicated to use and so do not gain much traction.

Instead, you need an app which has focused on usability as well as providing helpful information and functionality. One key aspect of usability is making sure that users are prompted to use the app at the opportune moment, rather than having to remember to open it up when their call is live. For example, LoopUp’s smartphone app alerts you when your first guest joins your call, then intuitively guides you into the app at this point. In addition, a good smartphone conferencing app will help you easily send invites, show you a live readout of who’s on and who’s speaking, and give you controls to mute background noise or add missing guests. Having this functionality in the palm of your hand will help you and your colleagues have more productive conference calls, since you won’t have to constantly ask ‘Who just joined?’ or deal with unwanted background noise. This is relevant both for employees on the move and working outside of the traditional office environment, as well as people taking their calls from meeting rooms (as one of the outcomes of BYOD is that people tend to bring their smartphones into meetings with them).

What does this mean for you?

If you are a conferencing user, find out if your conferencing service has a good smartphone conferencing app. If there isn’t one or if it does meet the tests of usefulness and usability, talk with the person who handles conferencing at your company about finding a provider that does.

If you’re the person who manages the conferencing for your company, as part of your smartphone strategy ensure that employees who use conferencing have a suitable conferencing app on their smartphone (and if your provider doesn’t offer this, seek out a provider who does).

By leveraging a useful and usable conferencing app, you and your colleagues will have less frustrating conference calls, leading to higher satisfaction and productivity…and you just might not hate your next conference call quite so much!

To learn how LoopUp’s conferencing smartphone apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry help users have more productive conference calls, request a live demo, or see our Why LoopUp page.

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