The world is becoming smaller and the need to be connected whenever, wherever you are, is growing stronger. The advent of smartphones, and features such as Apple’s FaceTime, have made it increasingly easier and cheaper to connect with people across the world. This change in consumer behaviour marks the death of arguably one of the most ground-breaking inventions of all time – the landline telephone.
The death of the landline
Statistics support the view that the landline is dying a slow death. In the UK, the percentage of homes with fixed cable phones has fallen from 81 to 76 per cent since 2014, and 80 per cent of people under 30 don’t have a landline. There are many reasons behind this – from the cost of landline rental to a lack of mobility – but ultimately the sheer range of alternative communication available today is a key contributor. Generations Y and Z (those born in the mid-1980s to early 2000s) have grown up with mobile phones and a variety of internet applications at their fingertips. The growing appetite for these platforms is likely to hammer the final nail in the coffin for landlines, as over-the-top (OTT) mobile applications and Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) become the more popular choice of communication for younger generations.
While there are still many households in which a landline exists, a survey of 2,000 UK consumers by broadband provider Relish found that just one in five people use their landline for making regular personal calls. More than half of the population keep the landline solely for accessing the internet. However, advancements in satellite, fibre cable, as well as the ever expanding wireless 4G network, have meant that in many cases the landline is no longer needed to stay connected.
Businesses are becoming more mobile
The trend in the business world is mirroring that of the consumer world. As business becomes more mobile, so does the technology of those who use it. According to recent research by the communications regulator, Ofcom, in 2010, UK firms had more than 10m landline numbers, but by the end of last year that had fallen by 35 per cent to 6.4m. This is a pattern that is being seen industry-wide. Earlier this year it was announced that by the end of summer, all UK PwC offices will have scrapped all landlines and adopted a mobile-focused approach.
Aside from significant cost benefits, businesses that embrace mobility are set to benefit from an unprecedented level of connectivity between employees and their customers.
A study involving 8,000 global employees and employers conducted by Vodafone in 2016 found that three-quarters of companies worldwide have adopted flexible working policies. Mobile technology allows employees to work almost anywhere and still have access to the company’s documents and resources. The ability to be reached when outside of the office means that businesses who implement flexible working schemes, as well as employees that work remotely or are on-the-go in their line of work (e.g. delivery drivers, healthcare professionals on home visits), are able to stay connected at all times.
The transition to mobile devices places huge pressure on businesses to keep their internal communications secure, efficient and visible. With today’s mobile devices available across numerous software platforms including Android, Apple iOS and macOS, Microsoft and Windows, it is important that the mobility management tool put in place can easily integrate platforms, and allow for effective management of applications and content across multiple devices.
In addition to this, as mobile technology has become more common, so too are the privacy and security issues surrounding it. Apps and data are strategic company assets that must be kept secure and private, especially considering recent data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). In addition, now that the number of mobile devices has reached a critical mass, they have become attractive targets for malware and cybercriminals. To combat this, businesses need to incorporate an effective Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) system to lock down mobile devices and ensure they remain connected and protected.
In today’s competitive industry businesses must implement a secure and robust mobility platform in order to achieve seamless integration.
 Mobile Industry Review, “Who needs a landline telephone? 95% of UK households don’t”, December 1, 2014
2 Broadband Choices, “Wireless provider Relish predicts the end of landlines by 2025”, April 22, 2015
3 The Guardian, “PwC hangs up on landlines in shift to ‘mobile first’ culture”, June 29, 2018
4 The Times, “End of the line for workers’ desk phones”, June 30, 2018
5 The Daily Telegraph, “A new era in the evolution of remote working”, February 23, 2018