It's A Wireless World
Overwhelming consumer acceptance of wireless devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellular phones, is transforming the business world. Are you prepared to capitalize on this trend?
To use a PDA, or not to use a PDA: That is the question. I've reached a pivotal point in my career. Do I continue to use my overstuffed, beat-up daytimer? Or, do I progress, like many members of the technology industry, to a personal digital assistant (PDA)?
This isn't the first time that I've debated this question. A few years ago, I used a proprietary palmtop computer for my daily scheduling and contacts. The device looked impressive and "techy" at business meetings. But, the lack of integration between that device and the home office forced me to return to my trusty daytimer.
PDAs And Cell Phones With Power
Today, products like 3Com's Palm 7 and the Neopoint 1000 are making me reconsider this decision. With wireless communication and hot sync (data synchronization) capabilities, the Palm 7 ties the mobile worker to the home office in real time. And, the Neopoint 1000 has been praised in the business press for bringing data and phone communications together in one smart phone.
Wireless Used To Be A Niche Technology
Wireless technology has been available to businesses for years. Remember all of the discussion years ago about wireless ordering from the table at restaurants? However, only a select number of industries adopted the technology. Industries such as manufacturing and warehousing had specific applications that could easily cost-justify a wireless investment. The rest of the business world remained hardwired.
Staggering Evidence Of Wireless Acceptance
Recent evidence of wireless acceptance is overwhelming. Just take a look at how many cellular phones, smart phones, pagers, wireless PDAs, and wireless laptops are used today. Here are just a few of the statistics supporting this trend:
- IDC (Framingham, MA) predicts the number of U.S. wireless device users with access to inbound and outbound information services and Internet messaging will increase dramatically. This number will grow from 7.4 million in 1999 to 61.5 million in 2003 – an increase of 728%.
- IDC adds that, by 2003, service revenues in the wireless market will reach nearly $69 billion.
- The Gartner Group (Stamford, CT) predicts that 70% of personal digital assistants will be free or subsidized in 2003. By the end of 2003, a $500 PDA will offer a color screen, integrated short-range and long-range wireless communications, location services, and speech recognition.
- In addition, the Gartner Group says 70% of cellular phones will have Internet capability by 2004.
- With 3Com's Palm 7 controlling 60% to 70% of the market for PDAs, Microsoft is attempting to increase its market share with the new PocketPC version of its Windows CE device.
Time To Jump On The Wireless Bandwagon
With such a huge demand for wireless technology, Business Solutions wants to provide you with the information to successfully sell and integrate this technology. Look for magazine articles and sidebars on wireless throughout the remainder of 2000. And, starting in 2001, entire sections of the magazine will be dedicated to covering wireless technology. In this issue, two featured VARs, G.S.D. Associates and EIMS, Inc., offer their opinions on wireless technology and how it is impacting their businesses (p. 50 and 66).
Questions about this article? E-mail the author at ShannonL@corrypub.com.