August 03, 2010, 2:47 PM — Technology, like fashion, evolves constantly, but one thing that is always in fashion is saving money.
Business professionals from small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are constantly looking for new ways IT can help reduce costs and increase productivity, hence the significant increases in the demand for products focusing on mobility, storage and communication.
Mobility-enabling products continue to grow in popularity. Why? According to the iPass Mobile Workforce Survey of employees at 3,500 companies, 93% of respondents believed mobile technology made them more productive.
Netbooks, e-readers and Web-based applications help business professionals keep in touch with the home office and customers. Netbooks in particular are resonating with SMBs as a cost-effective way to move work outside of their four walls, with many issuing netbooks to managers, sales and service people who spend significant time away from the office.
Acer and Asus netbooks have been very popular. Asus is arguably one of the pioneers in this category, but Acer has capitalized on growing market interest with competitive pricing. Lower prices and improved designs have increased popularity and driven netbook demand, but you won't find too many bells and whistles. Netbooks are not a category where you're going to see a lot of innovation. The very concept of the netbook confines it to the most essential functions at an affordable price.
While netbooks are light, small and affordable, they may not be the most practical solution for employees working with more than basic applications. Large documents and high-quality presentations may require something with a higher-resolution screen and more RAM -- something like a notebook.
In addition to the convenience notebooks provide for working almost anywhere, the technology also plays a critical role in business continuity planning. By enabling employees to telework in virtually any emergency situation, SMBs can avoid or minimize the impact of major business disruptions. Also, prices have come down on traditional notebooks -- many now are in the high end of the netbook price range. Notebook price decreases have helped increase their popularity and demand as SMB owners fully recognize the flexibility and additional productivity they can provide.
The increased popularity of mobile technology extends beyond netbooks and notebooks. The demand for smartphones as a core communications tool also continues to grow. Enhanced computing capabilities and improved applications position smartphones as a trend not likely to go out of style anytime soon.