Half of EMEA holidaymakers stay connected for work
Majority of holidaymakers will stay in touch with work using mobile devices says Brocade
More than one half of EMEA holidaymakers will use a mobile device to work while on holiday this year, according to a survey by Brocade.
The survey, of 500 holidaymakers in the EMEA region, carried out in June, found that 56% will use a mobile device to access work email or download work documents while on holiday. The figure is up from 48% last year.
Work-related reasons for taking a mobile device on holiday included the need to be available to customers and co-workers (12%), that the company expects to be able to reach them at all times (9%) and that they worry about what will happen when they are not at work (5%). Forty-three percent of respondents said that use of mobile devices while on holiday caused friction with family members.
Sufian Dweik, Regional Manager, MENA at Brocade. "There is significant blurring between personal time and work time in modern society, with the consumerisation of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) working policies leading many people to rely on smartphones and tablet devices around the clock, wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing.
"Our research clearly illustrates that this is causing fundamental changes in working patterns and demands on networking architectures. It used to be that when people went on vacation, that's what they did. Now it seems that we can never switch off from work, even when we're at the beach. With this, the demand on service providers and mobile operators to provide ubiquitous, reliable coverage has never been higher."
Ninety-five percent of respondents said they will take a mobile device of some sort while on holiday, mainly smartphones (91%), laptops and netbooks (49%) and tablet computers (42%).
Not all mobile use on holiday is for work purposes however, with social networking and uploading photos given as two of the three most popular uses of mobile devices alongside accessing email. Twenty-eight percent said they wanted a mobile device on holiday to stay in touch with family and friends, while 11% said they wanted to access entertainment. This year, 32% said that they plan to stream coverage of the Olympic Games.
In terms of factors that put people off using mobile devices while abroad, 44% cited high roaming costs, followed by poor wi-fi quality (26%), high data download costs (8%) and fears over security, or loss or damage to the device (both 4%).
Provision of wireless services is also having an increasing impact on holiday decisions, with 37% claiming that good mobile data coverage was a determining factor in holiday destination and 86% saying the expect free wi-fi from their hotel.
"With incoming 4G networks promising to multiply speeds and available bandwidth, mobile data coverage will exert an even greater influence on people's holiday choices. People want to reduce the overall impact of work on their holidays - both for themselves and for those they travel with - and they are looking for ways to get the same amount of work done in just a fraction of the time. To do this, the underlying network infrastructure needs to be able to cope.
"Many destinations remain unable to satisfy holidaymakers' demands when it comes to connectivity," explained Dweik. "Hotel owners should look at the incredible demand for free Wi-Fi networking and provide residents with reliable connectivity - whether in their rooms, at the bar or by the pool. Widely available, high-quality Internet access could very soon make the difference between a hugely successful season and a disastrous one. Without it, hotels risk damaging both their revenues and their reputations."