March 23, 2006
 

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September 2003

Wireless Data Going Vertical

A new study finds enterprise needs shifting back to vertical-specific applications.
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By Teresa von Fuchs




Wireless data adoption is growing, just differently than most people predicted, according to a new study from In-Stat/MDR. After surveying more than 1,500 IT decision makers in the U.S. covering seven vertical markets. In-Stat reports growth, but with a shift in emphasis from horizontal applications like e-mail back to vertical-market solutions.

Becky Diercks, In-Stat/MDR director of custom research, argues that 10 years ago only big companies that could afford to build their own networks were using wireless data. Companies like FedEx or UPS, who need very specific solutions such as transportation or package tracking, foot their own bills. “Vendors wanting to expand the market took the focus off industry-specific needs and moved to applications common to more industries, like wireless e-mail,” she adds. But now, the study shows, the market is so saturated with suppliers for horizontal applications that customers again want more tailored solutions.

Three key factors have slowed wireless data growth: price, coverage and service quality, according to Diercks, and all three of these issues are being remedied. Diercks also notes an increased demand from enterprises for guidance from vendors in calculating ROI.

Findings also show that although vendors might be tempted to overlook markets such as manufacturing due to lower percentages of mobile users compared to industries like transportation, the overall size of many companies in the manufacturing market still makes it a profitable area. Another interesting trend is the predominant use of mobile phones as wireless data access devices. But IT managers are focusing on notebooks with wireless modems for the future.
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