Growth of wireless devices, services and applications is reaching a critical mass in government, according to IDC Government Insights report.
The report also projected 2013 to 2015 would be the highest growth years overall for this market segment.
In addition, the study examines the current drivers of mobility spending across various levels of the U.S. government, and the major initiatives that are helping define mobility preferences and how that influences where the money is targeted.
Tablet computers will see double-digit growth through 2016, as will wireless data services, while pure airless voice traffic is expected to slow, with growth driven by both employee and citizen demand.
"The mobile market in government is quite healthy," Shawn McCarthy, research director at IDC Government Insights, said in a statement. "Smartphones and services lead this sector, but the demand for tablet computers is ramping up, and we expect double-digit growth in tablet spending to reach the local levels of government in a big way by 2017."
The goal of the forecast report is to build a full five-year forecast for the sub-segment, and offers actions to consider for both government agencies and the vendors serving the market.
The report also noted that while government offices are helping to accelerate the mobile migration through things like the federal government's Digital Government Strategy document, which sets specific goals and timetables), the end users are the ones responsible for the expansion.
"Over the past few years, mobile hardware and associated mobile solutions have been some of the fastest growing areas within government computing. However, mobile growth is starting to level out," McCarthy continued. "The one bright spot by 2017 will be state governments, where we expect to see growth of near 8 percent for e-readers in 2017, thanks to revived tax bases, planned equipment replacement cycles and more workers who conduct their job functions out of the office."
In the meantime, many vendors are looking to expertise, consultation, and best practices to help government agencies understand the best way to deploy mobile solutions, including the operation of app stores and access control, as well as to expand their role in the mobile marketplace.
Currently, smartphones, tablets and e-readers make up just 5 percent of the government IT market, suggesting substantial growth potential.
Tablets in particular are expected to grow at double-digit rates for the next three years, while government smartphone growth is expected to peak in 2016, and will see slight negative growth beyond that, the report said.