In early April, Zweig Group released its inaugural Cell Phone & Mobile Devices Spotlight Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms. After several years of including information about firm-provided cell phones in its Policies, Procedures & Benefits Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms, Zweig Group used its new Spotlight Surveys series for a more in-depth analysis of issues related to mobile device use in the industry.

Topics covered in the survey include:

  • cell phone and/or mobile device provisions;
  • employee cell phone and mobile device use;
  • device policies;
  • mobile service providers; and
  • firm apps.

Firm-provided cell phones are almost a given in many architecture, engineering, planning (A/E/P), and environmental firms, and data show an increase in popularity during the last several years. The current Spotlight Survey takes it a step further to reveal who gets phones, how they are selected and paid for, how often professionals use them, use of tablets and other devices, and even the use of smart watches.

The results, provided by almost 100 A/E/P and environmental consulting professionals whose job titles most commonly include words such as “manager,” “director,” and “president,” show that, though firm-provided cell phones are definitely commonplace and tablets are becoming more common, other mobile devices have not yet caught on among most firms.

Smart watches and similar mobile devices are still in their infancy, both in terms of development and in their adoption by the A/E/P and environmental consulting industry. Future Zweig Group surveys will be able to track in almost real-time how quickly these devices are implemented by the industry and for what purposes.

Although 97 percent of survey respondents reported having a cell phone that they used for work at least some of the time — 49 percent use those phones “very frequently,” most commonly to “answer emails/communicate with colleagues” — only 54 percent said that their firms provided those cell phones and cover the monthly bills. Similarly, 79 percent of respondents said they had a tablet, but only 44 percent said their firms provided it.

However, for other mobile devices the data trend in the opposite direction: Although only 17 percent of respondents reported using a mobile device other than a cell phone, tablet, or laptop, 20 percent said that their firms will pay for such devices.

The 2016 Cell Phone & Mobile Devices Spotlight Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms is a digital-only publication available for purchase and download at

Andrea Bennett is research & publications manager for Zweig Group. She can be contacted at