Pervasive, powerful and popular – the rise of mobility

The mobile and wireless technology industry is on the move and, fortunately for all channel operators, the consumer seems to be keeping up with the pace.

Against a backdrop of increasingly popular social networking and the undeniable influence of corporate governance legislation, the mobile frontier continues to expand – driven by specific attributes that make this technology practical and an ideal fit within a number of environments.

The fact is that consumers want to be able to transfer as much information as quickly and as securely as possible. They also do not want to pay exorbitant rates for the privilege.

Service providers, suppliers, vendors and resellers are aware of this and it is one of the mainstay aspects driving the industry forward. The latest notebooks, netbooks, tablets and smartphones are being introduced with specific functionality.

Netbooks are smaller, more compact and may have fewer ports for peripheral functionality, but they are practical, allow for high-speed connectivity and are loaded with software that is designed for quick start-up, easy information transfer and reliable connection.

On the one hand there is an understanding of end-user’s desire to invest in ‘all-in-one’ devices that allow the user to interface and engage many applications at once.

But manufacturers are also aware that the days of providing a device that can perform many functions moderately are over. So, there is a general call for sacrifice and streamlining in production in order to introduce a device that can perform a few functions exceptionally well.

Again we are talking about speed, reliability and security. These aspects have become non-negotiable from a consumer point of view. They simply are a must.

Whilst pricing and cost is always a consideration, would-be investors in mobile technology are critically focused on being able to manage, store, manipulate and transfer multimedia.

There are visible signs that the mobile market has matured and is impacting on several areas of information communication technology.

Consider the networking environment for example. There is more focus and discussion on ‘triple play’ or the integration of voice, video and data over one device. We are not there yet – issues such as regulation and bandwidth availability continue to impact on performance and reliability, but we are also not that far off.

High-speed connectivity continues to characterise this segment of the market. The emergence of 10G application is another sign that the market is developing at a rapid rate. However, as with most technologies in the pipeline, the would-be investor will have to have the right infrastructure in place in order to leverage off this level of connectivity.

There are a myriad of factors that impact on service delivery, support and the introduction of new products into the mobile space. Increased activity and positioning among cellular service providers is one factor, as is emerging trends from a legislation point of view.

The Protection of Personal Information Bill of 2009, which is currently under review for possible ratification, could have a significant impact on mobile professionals as well. The ability to connect to- and remotely access employee records and other sensitive information that sits on a company’s database is one that decision makers cannot take for granted.

The fact is that as long as there is a demand for technology to help improve the lives of people, to entertain, inform and assist, the mobile and wireless space will continue to grow.

By Paul Luff, country manager, SMC Networks