Technology’s blurring of the lines between business and pleasure took a significant leap further forward recently after Apple and IBM announced a commercial alliance. The two technology giants plan to work together by using IBM’s expertise in the corporate technology market to make Apple products such as the iPhone and the iPad more business friendly.
The move draws attention to the wider issue of mixing the professional and the personal which has always come with something of a health warning. As this trend gathers pace through the use of mobile technology, businesses and individuals will need to be aware of a host of potential legal issues that are likely to arise.
The Benefits of Seamless Communication
Although the specifics are yet to be announced, The Apple-IBM alliance should offer significant benefits to both businesses and their employees.
The two tech companies are expecting IBM’s knowledge of the corporate market for enterprise level products to help Apple improve functionality for business users and offer better security. The aim is to take enterprise mobility to a new level.
This will involve the creation of enterprise level apps for the iPhone and the iPad designed for particular industries, the use of IBM cloud services, support tailored to the need of organisations and packaged offerings from IBM for the supply of devices.
Employees in industries such as retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance will have access to services such as IBM’s big data analytics through their Apple mobile devices.
The mobile devices that have transformed individuals’ personal communication will increasingly become sophisticated, powerful business tools.
Issues for Businesses
Access to social media on the move has made sharing experiences with friends and family much easier. Meanwhile, mobile working and virtual offices have created opportunities for efficiency that modern businesses cannot ignore. Therefore, the widespread availability of enterprise level mobile technology means its adoption is likely to be a logical step forward for many businesses and their employees.
Although the benefits are readily apparent, there are of course risks with these developments, particularly as social and business applications become accessible through the same devices.
Potential issues span the spectrum of business management considerations. For example, businesses able to offer remote or mobile working through new technologies must ensure that employment contracts can cater for the way staff work while maintaining the expectations of the organisation. Intellectual property issues such as ownership of photographs created on devices or data held on apps must also be clearly set out in contracts and policies.
Employees using their own devices for work to access certain forms of data must be understand issues such as confidentiality and obligations that arise under the Data Protection Act. In addition, greater security risks are likely to be posed by people accessing both personal and business data from their mobile devices which are far easier to mislay than a laptop or desktop PC. Issues like these may require specialist insurance to mitigate the risks.
The alliance of Apple and IBM is certainly an interesting development for observers of the technology business. Although the trend that it highlights in one that many businesses and employees have already experienced, it is clear from the direction of travel that mobile communication will make our professional and personal lives increasingly seamless.
Businesses that want to take advantage of these opportunities should think ahead and seek to manage the risks as they adapt to the changing environment. For specialist advice about the legal issues contact Peter Gourri today by email PGourri@rollingsons.co.uk or telephone 0207 611 4848.