It’s not news that we humans are living in an increasingly connected world. Our mobile devices enable us to be in constant communication with others, both personally and professionally. If you’re one of the 7% of“smartphone dependent” adults in the US who rely heavily upon their mobile device for internet access, you’re probably reading this on a phone or tablet right now. Planet Earth is shrinking as technology allows us to live, work and play – anywhere, anytime.

It’s less clear, however, the impact of unrestricted mobility on how we do business. Back in the day, networking with a client meant hopping on a plane and sitting across the table from an executive for a face-to-face meeting in the office conference room. Now, you’d rarely consider investing in such a trip because video chats areFOC_2015-10-06_HERO more convenient and far cheaper. Being more physically mobile gives us more flexibility in our professional lives, but the phenomenon is more far reaching than the simple ability to work remotely. Here’s a look at some of the effects of our move towards full mobility.

Mobile environments must rise to the challenge. As usage increases, the strain on mobile services providers is becoming a significant burden. Consumers don’t have the patience for network outages, but zero-downtime is critical for business mobile users. Providers must invest in infrastructures that can handle the increase in bandwidth; they must also adapt to bring services to even more remote locations as demand grows and professionals are working from the far-flung corners of the earth.

Millennials are changing the way we communicate. It’s said that the 20- and 30-somethings that comprise the Millennial generation transition their attention between mobile devices approximately 27 times per hour. That means content creators must be able to harness that short attention span through a wide array of platforms. They need to focus on distributing quickly consumed tweets at the ideal moment, such as while grabbing a cup of Joe. Longer developing longer content formats that take longer are more suitable for viewing at home.

The future is wearables. The popularity of the iWatch and Samsung Galaxy Gear hasn’t exploded yet, but the coming months will almost certainly see an increase in wearable usage. Businesses must adapt by developing apps and pages that are viewable on an even smaller screen than mobile devices and smart phones.

Human socializing locally vs. globally. Unrestricted mobility means we’re no longer socializing just with those in our localized area, at work and in our personal lives. Our communications are spanning the globe, exposing us to a range of cultures and experiences than ever before. Still, while our global mobile use may not have borders, nations still do. This will require businesses to know and comply with local regulations regarding communications.

Mobile usage creates immediacy. Being available anytime, anywhere is convenient – except when you don’t want to be reached. The fact that we can accept emails, texts and calls 24/7 encourages us to consume them, respond to them or take action accordingly. The sense of urgency that corresponds to mobile usage is far beyond what humans were accustomed to when their office lives were 9-5.

Mobile devices enhance quality of life. There’s no doubt that smart phones and tablets make our lives easier, but there are other ways devices increase our happiness. Being able to work from home gives us more time to spend with family. We can take vacations, yet still be connected to the office for necessary communications. It’s possible to complete a day’s work from a sailboat in the Caribbean, surrounded by those we love.

KEY TAKEAWAY: In essence, mobility has resulted in blurred lines between our personal and professional lives: The ability of co-workers to reach us anywhere, anytime allows business matters to encroach upon time with loved ones. At the same time, mobility also enables us to be with friends and family more often because we’re not chained to a desk.

 

This post originally appeared here on SAP: The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce