Users Are Already Using iPads In The Office. Why IT Doesn’t Have A Clue

Users Are Already Using iPads In The Office. Why IT Doesn’t Have A Clue

How Much business data goes over iPad 3G and LTE connections without IT knowing?

LTE is one of the key features available on the new iPad. All that extra speed can be a great feature for consumers and business users alike, although the ability to burn through data that quickly means that all LTE iPad users need to be more conscious of their data use than with the previous 3G iPads (the same will no doubt be true for the next iPhone).

A new study claims that most iPad Internet access (94%) still takes place over Wi-Fi networks, however. That seems like bad news for carriers and it sounds like comforting news for CIOs and IT professionals worried about unknown iPads in their companies. After all, if only 6% of iPad connections occur over 3G/4G, then most iPads in the office are using a corporate network and can be tracked and monitored to ensure data and network security.

Unfortunately digging into the actual data from the study reveals iPad users with 3G and LTE models are actually spending a lot more than 6% of their time using their cellular connection.

The study by Localytics tracked app use on iPads and determined that overall 94% of iPad sessions occur over Wi-Fi. That number, however, is derived from all iPads. That includes the original iPad, iPad 2, and new iPad. It also includes Wi-Fi, 3G, and LTE models. The results are also based on a relatively short time period and, because the study was done so close to the new iPad’s launch, probably don’t reflect what the ultimate market proportions will be when it comes to LTE versus Wi-Fi iPad models.

While that raises some questions about the headline point of this study, there is actually some meaningful data in it about the use of 3G and LTE iPads. While accounting for a small fraction (1.5%) of all iPads in the study, over a third of LTE iPads (36%) were accessing the Internet through their LTE connection. Carrier-based connections were even more common (45%) for 3G iPads, which accounted for 8.8% of all iPads in the study.

That data shows that users with LTE and 3G iPads are using their carrier connection a significant amount (far more than just 6%) of the time. While there’s no real way to determine how much of this use was in the office (or for work outside of the office), it’s reasonable to assume that users with either LTE or 3G iPads would be just as comfortable using their devices at work as anyplace else. One could even speculate that mobile professionals are more likely to choose an LTE or 3G iPad – particularly a Verizon LTE iPad which can be used as a personal hotspot for no extra charge.

It’s also worth noting that the study data, which was gathered from iPads running apps that include the Localytics analytics code, doesn’t address the question of whether or not Wi-Fi connections were occurring using a traditional network connection or a personal hotspot or smartphone tethering.

Given that research firm UBS expects LTE models to account roughly half of all new iPad sales, this study should actually give IT folks pause and ideally encourage them to engage users or management to determine how many unknown LTE or 3G iPads (and other devices with similar capabilities) are actually being used on a daily basis in their organizations.

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  • ClickMe

    Without native apps the iPad in the workplace is useless. All this means is that people bring in their shiny iPads for email and calendar. And power users might use Citrix Receiver, which is clumsy to say the least.

    Windows 8 will be a much better fit for the enterprise for so many reasons.

  • tornacious

    I don’t have LTE signal at work, but I do have fast Wi-Fi. But I love the ability of iPad to VPN to the corporate network and make use of our Intranet and all the web apps our IT department has us use. I can go to a meeting with my iPad and check email, log in to the bug tracking system, search the Internet to answer questions, do a purchase request, etc. I totally use my iPad constantly at work because of its portability. Who wants to drag around a crappy laptop?

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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