In COM339 we have seen how many Asian countries have very traditional, one-way communication behaviours in business. This has got me thinking how a communications expert could utilise current global consumer trends to help facilitate open, two-way communication in organisations and between organisations and their publics. One such trend is that of smartphones and tablets. Asian employees do not exist in a vacuum of their employer, they are consumers which can be reached through their own personal devices.
The current estimate for smartphone usage in Asia is 20% of the population (Neilson, 2011) (seems small when its 40% in the US), however the research also states nearly half of consumers intent to purchase a smartphone this year. In March the SMH reported that by 2016, smartphone sales were to reach $653 million, with Asian accounting for over 30% of the total.
Tablet market estimates are even more impressive, with IDC estimating tablet shipments will increase from 2 million in 2010 to 21 million in 2016.
Since Nielson US data shows consumers with smartphones and tablets are three times more likely to access the internet and four times more likely to access their emails via their handsets, there is serious potential for corporations to take advantage of these communication portals.
One suggestion I have is to create a company Application that is downloadable and that supports an intranet that disseminates information to everyone connected to the business - employees, contractors, suppliers etc. Included in the intranet could be a company network, kind of an internal Facebook. This mechanism, if developed, maintained and advertised properly, would encourage two-way communication. IBM has something similar which they call ‘Jam’ where employees can log on and contribute to a forum on certain issues of relevance to people of the organisation, not just executives.
Yes, many Asian cultures are closed to open expression of opinion in order to maintain peace and respect for hierarchy. However, there are ways of controlling content on this Application, and the company would only have to express those sentiments it chose. Really, the Application would offer not much more than the standard company intranet did, it’s just being delivered through a more innovative, exciting and accessible portal - smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Commerce (mCommerce) is on the rise, and companies that get in quick and create an internal company App will have more time and experience to develop it so that by the time smartphones rule the world, they have it down pat.
Would you download an App to your iPhone that enabled you 24/7 access to your work’s intranet? If so, how often?