The mobile voice and data business worldwide is on target to pass the $1 trillion mark by 2014, according to research company Gartner Inc. Companies that want to share in that payday should develop high-level mobile strategies based on technology-independent management goals, Gartner said, and not waste time on detailed device, platform or application policies.
Traditional mobile strategies were designed to support well-defined requirements through devices, applications and services provided and managed by IT professionals. By 2015, those requirements will not constitute the majority of corporate mobility, because of changes in user requirements, technology and the nature of the work itself.
But data and voice revenue is not the whole mobile enchilada. Mobile will generate revenue from a wide range of additional services, such as context, advertising, applications and service sales among others, Gartner said. And each of these will be a significant business in its own right, worth tens of billions of dollars per year.
“We see three major eras of mobility,” said Gartner vice president Nick Jones. "The device era was characterized by iconic devices such as the Motorola RAZR and was dominated by device manufacturers. This was followed by the application era, which arrived with the iPhone, popularizing application and media stores. Going forward, the service and social era will build on the application era, but it will be characterized by cloud services and streaming media. Applications will survive, but often as a component of a more complex end-to-end experience involving the cloud.”
In mature markets such as the United States, smartphones will dominate device sales for the foreseeable future, at the expense of feature phones without an identifiable operating system, Gartner predicted. Many new device types, such as tablets and e-book readers, will emerge through 2012 and find some role in corporations, but none will achieve a market share comparable to smartphones or laptops, which will continue their hegemony in the corporate world.
Gartner, based in Stamford, Conn., predicts that context will be a defining principle of mobile business for the next decade. It will play a key role in many areas of mobile business, especially advertising and marketing.
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