Wireless: On Telecoms' Agendas
Gaining control over wireless environments is the highest priority for North American firms, according to a new survey of 1,500 telecom decision makers conducted by Forrester Research. Enterprises and SMBs alike ranked setting wireless policy and centralizing management of mobile devices as the top two telecom initiatives for 2006.
Budgets reflect these priorities. In 2006, SMBs plan to spend close to one-third more on both mobile voice and mobile data services than in 2005. Fifty-six percent of enterprises expect spending on mobile voice to increase, and 63 percent expect mobile data spending to increase.
Forrester's annual "The State of Enterprise Network and Telecom Adoption" study found that spending on landline services was the only area expected to decrease, as firms move away from legacy voice traffic and spend more on VoIP and wireless. "In general many of the spending initiatives and adoption patterns were similar across a variety of company sizes, with mobility, security, MPLS, and VoIP all capturing mindshare," says Ellen Daley, principal analyst for telecom and networks at Forrester Research.
Telecom companies of all sizes spend about one quarter of their budgets on wireless services, and that number continues to grow. The percentage of large companies that have increased mobile data spending has doubled since 2005, and 19 percent of the enterprise workforce now uses mobile data applications, according to Forrester. SMBs expect 23 percent of their workforce to use mobile data by the end of 2006. And now that mobile email usage is exceeding 70 percent, Daley says the time is right for large companies to begin evaluating and deploying mobile line-of-business applications such as mobile SFA, logistics, and CRM. Therefore, the emphasis telecom companies are placing on beefing up network coverage is critical, according to Daley. "As companies start to adopt mobile applications beyond wireless email, like SFA for field service, that's going to put more pressure on the networks. They're [the wireless applications] only as good as their networks."
Migrating voice to an IP network is a critical priority in 2006 for 17 percent of enterprises and for 10 percent of SMBs. With 45 percent of SMB telecom budgets consumed by landline services, many firms are looking to VoIP to reduce these costs. Three times as many enterprises are trialing or evaluating VoIP in 2006 compared with 2005.
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