Three quarters of firms are now using or adopting BYOD practices

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A new report by TechPro Research claims that just five years after it was first given the label, the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is now so prevalent that nearly three quarters (74 percent) of organisations are either already using or planning to allow employees to bring their own devices to work. The report contrasts with past research into the uptake of BYOD to show how quickly the practice is developing and its implications for companies as a way of introducing new working practices and cutting costs (their own, natch) but also in the way they deal with the potential downsides relating to security and maintenance. The report also looks at the evolving role of the practice in light of new technologies such as wearable tech and the Internet of Things.

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Smartphone use is rewiring our brains, claims new research

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Smartphone brainWe may be finding out a lot more about the way smartphones shape our behaviour, but a new study from Swiss researchers at the University of Zürich and Fribourg claims that any changes may go a little deeper than the obsessive need to peer at them. It suggests that while repeated and regular use of smartphones improves how quickly and dextrously we use screens and keystrokes, the cortex of our brains is also adapting to cope with the new demands we place on it. Touchscreen usage appears to actually change the way our fingers, thumbs and brains work, according to the report published in the journal Current Biology. The study appears to show that the increased use of touchscreens in the recent past has resulted in an instinctive increase in brain activity when our fingertips are touched.

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Report finds that tech increases productivity, but also the hours we work

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Flexible workingA report published at the end of December by the non-profit Pew Research Center claims that while nearly half of US workers believe that new technology helps them to be more productive, it also means they are working significantly longer hours. The study of 535 people claims that 46 per cent of US workers believe that the internet, email, and mobile phones have upped their productivity, while only 7 per cent think they have led to a fall in their productivity. Over a third (39 percent) of those surveyed say that they now have more flexible working hours, and a similar number (35 percent) believe that new technology has increased the number of hours they work. For office based workers the changes are even more pronounced with nearly half (47 percent) seeing an increase in their working hours.

Digital infrastructure boost will lead to urban brain drain, claims report

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Country_MouseThe tap roots of the digital economy will not spread beneath the concrete of Tech City and other urban enclaves, but in the fertile soil of the UK countryside. That is the finding of a new briefing document from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which claims that rural areas are set to overtake towns and cities as the main driver of Britain’s digital economy. As a result of improvements in the country’s digital infrastructure and transport links as well as a changing relationship between firms, employees and contractors, there are now more people moving to the countryside from towns and cities than those moving in the opposite direction. The briefing suggests that by 2025, the rural economy will be worth an additional £35 billion and the productivity of rural areas could outstrip urban areas for the first time since the industrial revolution.

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Government report highlights radical potential of Internet of Things

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Internet_of_ThingsAccording to a report published this week by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, by taking the lead in developing the internet of things, the UK could transform the way the country lives and deliver huge benefits to the economy.  The internet of things – in which digital networks are connecting everyday objects so data can be shared – creates enormous opportunities for both the private sector and government. It also has the potential to be applied in many areas of everyday life, transforming the way we use energy, how we travel and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The number of connected devices could potentially reach up to 100 billion globally by 2020 and industry estimates also suggest that these technologies could have a global value of nearly £10 trillion by then.

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Market for smart cities set to triple worldwide over next five years

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According to a new report, the global market for smart cities will grow by nearly a factor of three from $411.31 billion in 2014 to $1,135 billion by 2019. The not so snappily titled report, “Smart Cities Market by Smart Home, Intelligent Building Automation, Energy Management, Smart Healthcare, Smart Education, Smart Water, Smart Transportation, Smart Security, & by Services – Worldwide Market Forecasts and Analysis (2014 – 2019)”, has been published by MarketsandMarkets, and claims to define and segment smart cities into various sub-segments of technologies, solutions, services and regions with in-depth analysis and forecasting of revenues. The authors also claim that the report identifies drivers and restraints of this market with insights on trends, opportunities, and challenges.

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Majority of firms lack a coherent approach to employee engagement

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Employee engagementIn spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of employees worldwide are disengaged at work, most organisations still don’t think they take a strategic approach to the issue. A new study by technology consultancy Altimeter claims that just 41 percent of organisations believe they take a strategic approach to employee engagement, while only 43 percent believe they have an organisational culture of trust and empowerment with many unable to use technology as part of the solution. The authors of the report cite another study published by Gallup in 2013 which found that 87 percent of employees globally are engaged, rising to 70 percent in the US. The report is based on a study of 114 organisations but mirrors the findings of Deloitte in their report from earlier this year which studied 2,500 organisations and found the same mismatch.

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UK technological infrastructure not meeting demands of businesses

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infrastructureThe UK’s technological infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the availability of broadband and mobile services and not meeting demands of small businesses and homes, according to Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2014. The report outlines the challenges facing the Government as it seeks to deliver appropriate technological infrastructure for both businesses and consumers. The report suggests that  although there is an overall improvement in the availability and quality of broadband services, many remote and rural areas aren’t being connected quickly enough, there are too many urban ‘not-spots’, a lack of superfast broadband for small businesses and no discernible plan for the uptake of the next generation of ultrafast broadband. The report found the average UK household or small business is downloading 53 Gigabytes (GB) of data on their fixed broadband line every month.

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Third of European workplaces to introduce wearable technology in 2015

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Third of European workplaces will introduce wearable technology in 2015

One third of European businesses plan to introduce wearable technology to the workplace next year, but the majority of organisations have yet to introduce a policy to deal with the change. A European online survey by Ipswitch to determine the readiness of businesses for wearable technology in 2015 has discovered that despite the widespread adoption of the latest BYOD devices  over the next 12 months, very little thought has been given to the impact wearable technology could have on network performance and security. In fact, over three quarters of businesses in the UK, France and Germany (77 percent) admit they have no policy for managing the impact of wearables joining the corporate network and only 13 percent of organisations report that they have a policy in place to cover managing the impact of wearable technology. More →

Most people will continue to work in traditional offices for foreseeable future

Most people will continue to work in traditional offices for foreseeable future

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The office remains the favoured location for work worldwide but there remains an ongoing mismatch between perceptions of the productivity and performance of flexible working employees and the reality, says a major new report from Dell and Intel. According to the Global Evolving Workplace Report based on a survey of nearly 5,000 employees worldwide, the idea that remote workers are less productive is particularly apparent in developed countries. In the UK, people are two times more likely to believe that colleagues who work from home are less rather than more productive. In Germany, 75 percent of respondents saw the ability to work from home as a special privilege. Meanwhile, of those employees surveyed in developing countries, over one-third (34 percent) see home workers as more productive, compared to 32 percent who believe they get less done.

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It’s no surprise a third of homeworkers choose to work in their pyjamas

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Third of homeworkers admit they work in their pyjamas When I worked for a large publishing house in the 90s, occasionally one of us would ask to work from home. My then editor always had an enlightened policy towards the home-working concept, telling people that she didn’t care if they worked in their pyjamas as long as they met their deadline. In the digital era, home working is a lot more accepted, and according to a new survey, working in your pyjamas is still in vogue, though the 10 per cent of people who admit to working naked must have huge heating bills. The study by Altodigital reflects the usual trade-off associated with flexible working, with 40 per cent of homeworkers claiming their productivity more than doubles, but motivation has a limited scope; peaking at just four hours a day, before it trails off. I’d argue that exactly the same thing happens in the office. Just because people are perceived to be ‘at work’ it’s assumed they are working. More →

HR managers appreciate importance of IT, but don’t work with IT people

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HR managersResearch sponsored by Sungard Availability Services claims that while almost two thirds (63 percent) of the UK’s senior HR managers believe a closer alignment with their organisation’s Chief Information Officer will be vital in realising their department’s ideas, only 12 per cent currently work very closely with the IT crowd. The findings of the report show that 97 percent of HR professionals believe the CIO is very capable in supporting business growth through technology including enabling mobile and flexible working (58 percent), creating new ways to communicate with employees (64 percent) and driving efficiencies (66 percent) Nevertheless, the HR department profess to be big supporters of technology within the enterprise – with over two thirds (68 percent) stating that if the CIO was not sitting on the board within their organisation, then they should be.

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