smb-tech-trendsCould your small business survive without the use of wireless technologies? The majority of small business owners say no. The latest AT&T Small Business Technology Poll indicates that among 1000 small businesses surveyed nationwide at the end of last year, two thirds (66 percent) indicated that they could not survive – or it would be a major challenge to – without wireless technologies. The figures are just slightly higher than last year’s poll when 63 percent of respondents in AT&T’s annual survey expressed their reliance on wireless technologies.

While the demand for wireless technologies may vary among small businesses, almost all – 98 percent – use some form of mobile devices or wireless solutions:

small_biz_wireless_rulesTablets and Smartphones*

More than two thirds (69 percent) use tablet computers, representing a slight increase from last year at 66 percent. The larger the business, the greater the likelihood of using tablets. Among small business with 51 to 99 employees, 90 percent use tablets. The figure drops to 69 percent among small business with 50 or fewer employees.  The age of the business also is a factor – 80 percent of companies less than two years old use tablets compared to 69 percent of those two years or older.

Smartphone use continues to rise, doubling over the past five years. Based on the latest survey, 85 percent of small businesses reported use of smartphones compared to 42 percent five years again. Also the survey indicated a rise in 4G usage. More than half (56 percent) of the smartphones used by small business employees for business purposes are 4G, which represents an increase of 70 percent over last year when only 33 percent used 4G.

Mobile apps

When it comes to mobile apps, nearly one third (31 percent) use them to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs. Furthermore 47 percent who use them say they could not survive or it would be a major challenge to survive without them.

The most popular apps used by small business include: GPS navigation and mapping at 74 percent, location-based services at 43 percent, document management at 35 percent, social media marketing 32 percent and mobile payments in the field 30 percent.

Remote workers

The survey also underscores the value of mobile devices and wireless solutions to support remote workers. More than four in ten (41 percent) of the small businesses surveyed report that all of their employees rely on wireless technology to work out of the office.

*Note: Plantronics Spiceworks Unified Communications survey conducted last November also indicated the growing reliance on mobile devices among small businesses. Our survey indicated smartphone use among small and medium business owners at 93 percent while 83 percent of employees use tablets to some degree.