Imagine a life where unnecessary business travel is eradicated – but the job still gets done. Where in-store retail staff have smart devices as ‘in-pocket assistants’, giving them all the information they need to answer customer queries on the spot. And where new products and business locations are developed, based on real consumer data, instead of guesswork.

It’s all part of what’s to come in 2013.

Ok, so a lot of it’s already happening – to an extent. But in 2013 we can expect all of this to increase pace – particularly with the wider roll-out of 4G later in the year.

Flexible working picks up momentum

The increase in mobile working means we won’t be as tied to our desks as we once were. While the binds have loosened over the past couple of years, there are still times we need to be in the office. For important meetings. To access a large file on the server. Or because our connection at home means we keep losing contact with the office network.

But as companies embrace more reliable services like high speed internet and 4G, data-intensive services like video conferences can be held without any hiccups, saving unnecessary travel to meetings. And large files can be downloaded directly to a smart device for people who are out and about, so they’re no longer tied to the office.

Smart devices empower front-line staff

Consumer technology in the workplace will engage and empower staff. For example, in retail, price comparison and review sites mean that consumers often know more about the product they want to buy than shop staff. Armed with a tablet, shop employees will have at least as much information as the customer, and the ability to answer any other queries there and then. And across all industries by enabling bring your own device (BYOD) you’ll get the best out of your people because they’ll be using the tools they know and are familiar with. It all ensures a better customer experience and more positive and engaged staff.

Big Data bears fruit

With the increase of mobile services and apps, more and more people use the internet while they’re out and about. Products like Telefónica Insight’s Smart Steps harness the resulting Big Data, showing consumer footfall, tracking busy periods, and showing shopper preferences – so advertisement placement, product development, and the locations of new stores or sites can be better planned.

It’s an exciting time for UK businesses, with so much more possible.

What technology advances or ways of working will you embrace in 2013? To talk about anything you’ve read here and how it could help your business, contact Matt Worth on 01235 443673.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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