Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Gartner: Corporate Mobility Becomes Mainstream and Outlines the Shape of the Future with Mobile Busi

Here are the lengthy highlights from the annual Gartner Wireless and Mobile Summit. Nick Jones at Gartner "outlined Gartner's view of the most significant trends in the wireless and mobile industry that will affect people during the next five years." Here are his comments:

Mobile operators under threat

Jones said, "Mobile operators are under increasing threat from the large Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo!, who are targeting a slice of the revenue from millions of subscribers and are prepared to disrupt established business models to get it. The next generation of the Internet, Web 2.0, has opened up opportunities for these 'new kids on the block' to move into the mobile market, as illustrated by Google's recent deal with Vodafone to develop search engines on mobile phones."

Jones added, "This is a race for innovation and operators are not in pole position. There are opportunities for operators to partner with Internet based providers such as Google or other application sources to package multiple services and make them available on mobile phones. For example, partnering with an Internet Instant Messaging (IM) provider and enriching the service with improved mobile presence to create a really compelling application."

Gartner warned that "some mobile operators will see their profit margins decrease by 20-25 percent in the next three to five years. Opportunities for mobile operators moving forward include convergence and bundling, new managed services, new client devices and new partnerships with third parties."

Mobile email

Gartner predicts that "wireless email users worldwide will reach 20 million in 2006 and 100 million in 2009." Jones said, "Mobile email has primarily been a niche application for executives, largely based on BlackBerry. However, it is on the cusp of becoming main stream also for middle management and it will eventually pervade the enterprise as email did a decade ago."

Gartner predicted that "by 2010, wireless email will be a commodity and organisations will no longer need to cost-justify investments." It also forecasted "by 2008, Microsoft will achieve feature parity with Research in Motion (RIM) and become the dominant email provider."

Mobile collaboration

Jones said, "Mobile collaboration is emerging in response to a need for increased IT support for 'soft' collaborative tasks combined with greater staff mobility." Jones highlighted that "people are no longer fixed in one place and this means they need more support for mobile collaborative work. Geographically distributed knowledge workers will be both highly valuable to the organisation, and sophisticated enough to be aware of a wide range of consumer mobile technologies."

Jones concluded that "Mobile technology and market trends will facilitate collaborative applications. We will see increasingly powerful smartphones that can use Bluetooth, cellular and WiFi enter the market. In addition, consumers and employees are becoming more familiar with web based collaboration tools such as blogs and Wikis, which will speed up the acceptance of the mobile equivalents when they come to market."

Corporate Mobility

According to Jones, mobility is becoming "increasingly controlled and managed as part of corporate architecture and strategy...As mobility becomes mainstream, enterprises are seeing the need to formalise this by developing mobile policies and strategies. They are making strategic decisions, such as which vendor will be their strategic mobile partner, for the first time."


Gartner believes that "growing integration of mobile and wireless technologies into every aspect of life; home, office, home office, family, car and recreation, present both risks and opportunities for the enterprise."

Jones said, "Banning consumer technology from employee-owned devices is unrealistic, unverifiable and naive. Banning consumer tools is also counter productive, because employee's experiments will discover new ways to perform tasks in new and effective ways. Prevention will stifle innovation, so companies should educate their employees about the risks, define policies and be prepared to invest promptly in corporate solutions when users discover valuable applications."

Growth of Smartphones

Gartner believes "a much higher audience of consumers and enterprises will be able to afford a mobile device that can run sophisticated applications," and predicted that "smartphone sales in Western Europe will grow at a 49 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2005 and 2009. By 2009, one in three mobile handset phones will be a smartphone."

Mobile Business 2.0

Jones said, "The final trend to emerge will be mobile business 2.0, the next generation of mobile business. While the exact specifics and revenue predictions are not clear, we can clearly see the shape of mobile business 2.0 and, most importantly, what will guide it."

Jones added, "The web is like an encyclopaedia, where you always start with the index. Mobile business 2.0 will be more like a theme park where you explore what's around you."

Gartner believes in Mobile business 2.0, "data will be selectively pushed to the user based on context, matching the users' needs, interests, mood, location and even recent behaviour. The use of 'snack' business and fleeting experiences will arise to exploit dead time, for example, 'buy from this shop in the next ten minutes and we'll give you a discount'."

Jones concluded that "even though the conditions for mass market mobile business 2.0 in Western Europe will not arrive before the 2009-2011 timeframe, businesses should start planning now and exploit the short term mobile business 1.5 opportunities that exist. Immediate opportunities include providing 'what's on' information and offering bookings, simple machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, location based services, providing local information, and first generation mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction."