Mobility Transcends Telephony

ITworld.com – This week's highlighted research:

Compass Intelligence. "Exploring Business Mobility."

Forrester Research. "Managed mobility support is getting attention."

Strategy Analytics. "Profiling the PDA user: Strategies for generating wireless data traffic."

The concept of mobility is one that has undergone rapid and important changes over the past few years. A businessperson that enjoyed great mobility at one time was one who always carried a roll of dimes and knew where all the pay phones were located. Today the reality is a little different. Laptops and cell phones added a greater degree of mobility, but the concept transcends even that. Fixed-mobile convergence closes a gap between the office phone and the one you carry in your pocket, but mobility still goes a step further.

Business mobility, according to Compass Intelligence, goes beyond cost savings and remote telephony. It's about mobile content solutions that make a real difference to a business. A few of the drivers, according to the Compass study, include content solutions such as Communities of Interest, which connect users within a business or supply chain together in real time; and mobilized applications, where applications become accessible via mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs. The Compass report says that mobility is being defined by real application-oriented mobile solutions--which are driving new demand for a new class of mobile devices and services. Compass' study discovered that 42 percent of respondents would consider purchasing a service that would make some of their applications accessible via PCs and other mobile devices. Twenty four percent would consider using a service that would make their applications accessible to the PCs and mobile devices of external users, such as clients or suppliers.

Compass' study also shows that 29 percent of respondents would like to have a single provider to manage all mobile devices in the firm, regardless of wireless provider. Forrester's report also tackles the issue of managed mobility, noting that until just a few years ago, employees tended to shop for their own mobile devices and then expense them, and IT support for mobile devices was very limited. Today however, Forrester's report notes that many companies have centralized support for mobile devices, as well as purchasing. The corporate IT department now will support a variety of broadband technologies, and some international companies are already outsourcing their global remote access services to providers with foreign Wi-Fi and 3G access in major cities around the world. What's next? Forrester predicts that service providers will integrate managed mobile services into their global remote access solutions.

Strategy Analytics makes note of the fact that PDA users make perfect candidates for enterprise wireless data adoption, but over half of them are still unconnected outside of simple text messaging capability. It's not because of lack of need or desire however, it's because providers still have not addressed the area of ease of use. Device setup, synchronization of email, and content creation needs to be simplified and re-engineered.

The bottom line? Business mobility increasingly means being able to have access to virtually everything you need while on the road, including all of your normal applications you would access from your desktop, access to corporate data, collaborative technology, and communications. Your workspace is no longer a place you go to -- it's something you carry with you.

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