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It can be tricky to make a decision between the excellent range of smartphones available.

Besides a great design and outstanding camera, it's important to ensure the next smartphone you choose can integrate with your work life.

Network quality and coverage

The first thing anyone wants from a smartphone is connectivity. Are you going to be able to make calls and connect to the internet when you need to? 

Vodacom has the best mobile network in South Africa, so by choosing Vodacom you're already one step ahead. In a MyBroadBand feature , the best network claim was put to the test, and through its research MyBroadBand concluded that 'Vodacom has the best mobile network coverage in South Africa, offers the best call quality, and has the best data network performance.'

When it comes to network speed, getting a LTE-enabled device will give you access to Vodacom's super-fast LTE network. You can expect a much better mobile experience in LTE areas.

BYOD is here

In the era of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), it's becoming increasingly commonplace for employees to use their devices in the office and at home. For all businesses, managing the security risks around BYOD is going to become ever more critical. 

Devices need to integrate with company systems like Microsoft Exchange for email and Office suite for document editing, and business owners need to trust that the information on these devices is secure. 

Almost all smartphone manufacturers now have some form of enterprise security available and networks like Vodacom are positioned to help businesses deal with this growing concern.

Vodacom Secure Device Manager

Bringing this back to the local context, Vodacom Secure Device Manager (VSDM) is a secure, cloud-hosted solution that caters for BYOD, mobile- and flexible-working, and it helps mitigate threats from a security point of view. It runs on the AirWatch platform, which, because of its comprehensive functionality and flexibility, appears most frequently in Gartner clients’ vendor enterprise mobility management (EMM)  shortlists. VSDM is cross-platform and supports iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Samsung Knox and Windows 10.

There are six different Vodacom Secure Device Manager bundles, from a basic licence to a platinum one. This makes it possible for IT departments to split their implementation and have some employees on a basic licence, some on a mid-level licence and executives on a top-end licence.

Apple: iPhone 6S and 6S Plus 

The iPhone 6S is a brilliant smartphone with an amazing camera, great design and an easy to use interface. It's becoming much more common in the workplace, and Apple has improved integration with the latest enterprise systems over the years. Whether it's email and calendars or corporate networks, the latest iOS9 operating system is designed to work with your office requirements.

For IT managers, the enhancements to mobile device management (MDM) capabilities means there is far more control over apps, updates and even data usage. Built-in security features include a fingerprint scanner, encryption, data protection, network security and app security. You can also remotely lock and wipe any Apple device.  

iOS and MDM allows you to seamlessly separate work and personal data – IT retains control of business resources, and personal data remains private for you.

The iPhone also integrates seamlessly with other Apple devices such as MacBooks, iPads and Apple TV, meaning you can use the same apps across devices easily. The iPhone 6S Plus is particularly appealing as a business tool with its large screen, making reading and writing on the device a more pleasant experience.

Samsung: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Note 5 

Samsung has upped its game in the enterprise arena, most visibly with the introduction of Samsung Knox, a security feature that's designed to let you use your device securely in the office and at home. By using Knox, your device will comply with your company's security policies but you can still use it as you like at home. 

By partitioning the device, you can switch to Samsung Knox when you need to access enterprise data such as emails. It also means your IT department can control the Knox area of your device without affecting your personal information and files – for example, remotely wiping information. It also means IT can't access the data that remains outside the Knox area. This protects company information as well as your personal data. 

Of course, the hardware is also not worth ignoring. The top-end Samsung devices are beautifully crafted with fast performance, bright displays and fabulous cameras. Go for the Note 5 if you enjoy using a stylus, and the Edge for something a little different. 

Android: Sony Xperia Z5, LG G4, Huawei Mate S 

Over and above Samsung's bespoke enterprise features, Android has some clear business benefits too. The Android for Work enterprise management system, for example, lets companies incorporate both company-owned and personal devices into its systems.

Using the Android for work platform, companies can separate private and business information on devices, remotely manage devices and easily deploy business apps to devices.

The ability to separate work and personal zones means your device remains yours – and even if you leave a company, it will be easy for your IT department to remove the work tools and data from your device. 

Need expert advice on dealing with devices in your business? Take a look at Vodacom Business Secure Device Manager for more » 

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