Corporate IT managers and vendors are badly underestimating the future demand for mobility devices and services in the enterprise arena, overlooking a new emerging class of mobile workers that rely on smart phones. Underestimating these new mobile users could have a significant impact on device manufacturers, application vendors, middleware providers and network operators aiming to capture a share of the mobile market.
Dubbed as mobile "wannabes" by Forrester Research, this new class of workers represents just 6 percent of the present work force, but Forrester estimates that they will grow to 25 percent of workers within the next four years. In fact, Forrester estimates 73 percent of the work force will be considered some sort of mobile worker by 2012.
"Mobility, as we know it today, is about to be eclipsed by demand from all types of workers who want to use their personal mobile devices to access corporate applications," writes analyst Michele Pelino in a new Forrester report.
Pelino says today's IT managers too narrowly define mobile workers as on-the-road executives or managers, telecommuters or field service employees. They currently represent approximately 20 percent of the work force.
"Many mobile information workers often bring their personal devices into the workplace and generally pay for these devices on their own," states the report. "In addition, these individuals expect to receive support for their mobility requirements from the corporate IT team."
While these employees purchase their own devices, Forrester surveys show nearly a third of smart phone users expense all or some of their monthly bills for wireless voice services to their employers, while 40 percent expense the cost of their wireless data access to their company.