Mobile Workers Drive Wireless Demand

A study by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. predicts that more than half (67 million) of the U.S. domestic workforce will be mobile by 2006, creating an enormous demand for wireless data/internet (WDI) solutions that propel wireless device, application, and service providers. AMI projects the WDI commercial user base to nearly double every two years – rising from 3.7 million in 2001 to over 26.4 million in 2006.

“The WDI industry is now well poised for a sustainable high growth. Unfortunately, till now a ready and willing market has been stymied by unclear value propositions and uncertainties surrounding devices, services and applications,” observed Scott Drobner, senior analyst and a principal architect of the AMI study.

Factors driving growth include:

  • Aggressive deployment of next-generation wireless network technologies.
  • Burgeoning interest and increased reliance on cost-efficient wireless local area network (WLAN) solutions.
  • Refinement of mobile applications via technology enhancements including but not limited to Java Micro Edition (J2ME) [definition] and Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW).
  • An enhanced understanding of which mission-critical applications have the most applicability to a wireless environment.
  • Infiltration of intelligent data-focused wireless devices by leading players including: Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Research in Motion, Handspring, Sony, Compaq, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard.

Additionally, the small and medium business (SMB) segment will lead the market in the near term rising from 2.5 million WDI users in 2001 to nearly 16.3 million in 2006, netting a compound annual growth rate of 44 percent. AMI projects robust adoption among SMBs due to a lack of internal implementation bureaucracy, the rollout of more turnkey solutions, and increasing recognition of high return on investment, efficiencies and competitive advantage from the deployment of mobile solutions.

“The probability of a mobile employee developing into a WDI user will more than quadruple from 2001 to 2006 driven by several critical factors related to the SMB segment, emergence of flexible packet-based data networks, aggressive service price plans, and a greater ability to stimulate wide ranging applications deployment,” according to Eric Shuster, managing director, AMI.

Nonetheless, large enterprises (firms with over 500 employees) will comprise 38 percent of the WDI business user market in 2006. This is due to the large base of both mobile and remote employees, branch offices, and the greater utilization of remote Intranet access capabilities.

Supporting these projections, research by Cahners In-Stat found that 47 percent of the U.S. workforce (more than 60 million U.S. employees) will have access to wireless voice, pagers and/or mobile computing devices, like Palm Pilots, by the end of 2001. In-Stat expects wireless adoption in the business market to rise to more than 60 percent of the workforce by 2004, and the smallest companies (with less than 100 employees) will account for the largest group of wireless business users.

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