Mobile Workers to Top 1 Billion Worldwide Thanks to VOIP, UC

The number of mobile workers worldwide is expected to reach nearly 1.2 billion by year's end, according to a new report from IDC. Interest in unified communications, in areas less impacted by the recession, is a driving factor.

The world's mobile worker population is expected to exceed 1 billion workers this year, growing to nearly 1.2 billion people before the end of 2010, according to a Feb. 18 report from IDC.
The report forecasts mobile worker growth over the next five year and across five world regions: the United States, Western Europe, Japan, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and the rest of the world.
Largely driving the growth, reports the firm, will be Asia/Pacific's emerging economies, where economic recovery is strong and there's a burgeoning interest in unified communications.
"Vast opportunities exist for bringing a variety of mobile technologies to the world's workforce," said Sean Ryan, an analyst with IDC, in a statement.
"Outside the United States and Japan, where mobile worker population penetration has essentially peaked, there are large worker populations that are still growing," Ryan added. "Underserved mobile workers across all regions stand to benefit from the reach and flexibility offered by mobile solutions."
In an October 2009 report, IDC similarly predicted a surge in IT jobs, and IT spending, worldwide, with particular growth coming from emerging economies such as those of China and India, which it described as being less affected by the global recession than Europe and North America.
"Total spending on IT in a sample of 52 countries will reach about $1.7 trillion in [2013], from $1.41 trillion in 2009, with more than half the net increase coming from emerging markets," Bloomberg News stated in an article on the report.
In the most current IDC report, the firm describes the United States as having the most "highly concentrated" market of mobile workers and expects that 2008's tally, which described 72.2 percent of its workforce as mobile, will rise to 75.5 percent, or 119.7 million people, by 2013.
Western Europe's mobile workforce is expected to grow 6 percent during the same period, and passing U.S. totals with 129.5 million mobile workers by 2013-or approximately 50.3 percent of its workforce.
Japan's mobile workforce, hitting a saturation point-or a "sustainable limit," says IDC-is predicted to reach 74.5 percent of its workforce, or 49.3 million workers, by 2013, while in Asia/Pacific 2013 totals are expected to see 37.4 percent of the workforce-or 734.5 million people-go mobile.
The figure would put 62 percent of the world's mobile workforce in the Asia/Pacific region.
"While some barriers to adoption will still have to be overcome," said Ryan, "the potential market for mobility solutions is enormous."
U.S. computer maker Dell has been among the manufacturers looking to take advantage of China's growing appetite for smartphones, and launched its first smartphone, the Mini 3i, with China Mobile. The arrival of the Apple iPhone in China is also expected to drive its smartphone market, and research firm iSuppli anticipates that smartphone shipments to China will reach 30.2 million units in 2010-which would represent a growth of 42.5 percent over 2009 shipment numbers.