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Thu 11 Aug 2005 04:00 AM

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Mobile business

Business users in the Middle East see a clear competitive advantage in mobile computing. Survey results show that accessibility to information 24/7 is viewed as vital for business.

The rapid adoption of mobile computing by businesses in the Middle East as a key ingredient in their business model has had some remarkable effects, according to a study published by Intel. 72% of respondents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the UAE and Lebanon believe mobile computing provides a competitive advantage for their company, with 78% also saying that mobile working increases their productivity.

“Users [have been] able to benefit from added mobility through lighter, easier to carry notebook computers, longer battery life, the ability to connect wirelessly, and outstanding mobile performance to help them remain productive when they are on the road. It’s clear from the findings of this survey that mobile computing is having a significant impact on the way that business operates in the region,” says Samir Al-Schamma, Intel’s general manager in the GCC.

Paradigm Research and Strategic Planning carried out the survey on behalf of Intel, to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the Intel Centrino mobile technology. 57% of respondents said that using a laptop provides the freedom and flexibility to work wherever convenient. Saving time was also seen as a key benefit by 42% of respondents with two additional areas — better control of work (32%) and faster task completion (29%) cited as important additional factors in ensuring that business users are as productive as possible.

The issue of competitive advantage was a particularly striking feature of the survey, as indicated by the finding above that more than three quarters of respondents see it as a key benefit for them and their organisations in the region. The major reason for this identified by 59% of respondents is that they are able to access information 24/7. Another important benefit for 45% of respondents) is the ability to capture information in real time at the point of business activity.

“It is obvious that more and more business people in the Middle East need to be mobile in order to compete in the market. When 79% of respondents to a survey such as this say that it is either critical, or at the very least important, to be connected to their IT system when working out of the office you know that we are in the midst of a transformation in working practices,” says Al Schamma.

Accessing emails was seen as the top benefit for 80% of people surveyed, with work related applications listed as the second benefit of using a laptop by 76%, and internet access coming in as the 3rd most popular use of notebook PCs, according to 68% of respondents.

The benefits of mobile computing are not just confined to work, according to the survey. A massive 94% of respondents believe that having a laptop provides them with the flexibility to work just as easily at home and helps them to achieve a good work/life balance. “Clearly people in the Middle East welcome the convenience and flexibility of being able to work when and where necessary. Whether it’s at home or in public hot spot locations, business in the Middle East today is being conducted in a multitude of locations outside offices,” concludes Al-Schamma.

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