7 November 2016
4 min read
What technology were you using at work last year? How about five years ago? And 10? It’s probably unrecognisable compared to the capabilities of even entry level PCs nowadays. Business tech has seemingly evolved and changed exponentially, and with each incarnation, our ideas of what is possible and the constraints on how we work have been reinvented.
The PC revolutionised the world. The laptop changed the way we work. Mobile phones gave us freedom. Tablets brought new functionality to the masses. But what about the hybrid? The hybrid gives us all of the above, so you get the best of all worlds: It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of data across multiple devices.
The hybrid is filling spaces in our lives that we didn’t even know we needed
Instead of seeing individual pieces of tech as having different purposes, the logical evolution is to combine and refine them. So the hybrid is filling spaces in our lives that we didn’t even know we needed. But once we’ve experienced them it’s difficult to know how we managed without them.
It’s a chance to match a device to your needs, instead of making do with a multi-device solution. Hybrids are on the rise because people who’ve grown and transitioned between various devices have come to enjoy and rely on features that aren’t standard across all devices.
While many have struggled with taking an electronics store’s worth of devices with them, it’s just not sustainable to carry multiple devices (and multiple accessories and chargers) wherever you go. And more crucially, how often have OS clashes and incompatibility between your devices made you waste time, get angry and want to throw the whole suite into the trash?
This is where the hybrid comes in. Devices like the HP Elite x3 are able to combine the best-loved features from multiple devices, so you don’t need to compromise. For example, if you want the mobility of a tablet but need the functionality of corporate apps you can access all the corporate apps you need through Windows 10 and HP Workspace on the HP x3.
The power and productivity of a PC, the portability of a tablet and the connectivity of a smartphone, in a device the size of a smartphone. The one device can become every device, for everyone.
The multi-function capabilities of hybrid devices have been proven by escalating sales figures, particularly in the commercial sector, with shipments growing from 2.1 million units in 2014 to 3.5 million in 2015. IDC predicts this will more than double in 2016, to 7.3 million.
"13.5 million hybrid devices were shipped globally in 2015" Gartner
Gartner revealed that last year, 13.5 million hybrid devices were shipped globally, an astonishing 77% year-on-year increase and cementing hybrids firmly as the fastest growing segment of the device market.
So what’s fuelling this? To put it simply… we are. Technology and office culture have evolved to a point where we can direct how, when and why we work. The complexity of user needs are no longer something that product developers pick and choose from – they present an unanswered problem and a chance to effect positive change.
Technical capabilities are an essential part of this. Hybrid mobile devices have substantial batteries that last for longer, contain more powerful tech and don’t force users to make difficult choices about which features are the most essential.
"The hardware is really starting to come to fruition now because of the software, specifically Windows 10," says Joseph Byer, an IT architect at consultancy and software reseller Softchoice. "They're powerful enough. Some of these systems have core i5 and i7s in them. That's definitely enough horsepower to get through the work day."
“In the short term, we'll see cellular network speeds continue to improve, along with battery life and expanded capabilities of mobile devices,” Michael Park, the Vice President and General Manager of Mobility at HP. “Increased CPU performance as well as cloud security all factor into making mobility more viable option for businesses. And finding new ways to virtualise previously desktop-only applications for use on mobile devices - like our HP Workspace virtualisation solution - will be imperative to drive workforce mobility in the future.”
“Increased CPU performance as well as cloud security all factor into making mobility a more viable option for businesses.”Michael Park, HP
“Hybrid devices are, for the moment, being used selectively at the enterprise level, but that will likely change in the future for one really simple reason: They are extremely powerful,” says Mike Guggemos, CIO of Insight Enterprises, “We are already seeing field-based organisations, where the bulk of the work is being done remotely, looking at broad deployment of hybrid devices.”
When an employee isn’t chained to their workstation and is free to pick up and work remotely from anywhere, a hybrid device that combines the best features of many devices suddenly seems less like a gimmick and more like an essential part of your day – the effect can be truly transformational.
This is also indicative of a workplace revolution. Not just in tech, but a shift in attitude to work and our interactions within it. The shift in status quo means people, at all levels of the business, are entering a mindset where portability, productivity and connectivity come first.
The best tech isn’t reserved for top floor executives who don’t particularly need it, it’s spread throughout the business, so people are matched with the best fit device for their needs. This reinvention of power brings balance and productivity where it didn’t necessarily exist before.
Technology is a great equaliser in the home and in the workplace. As collaboration and work/life balance become driving factors in the modern workplace, so too will users’ expectations of what their enterprise technology should do for them change.