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Business Use of Converged Mobile Devices

Converged Mobile Devices -- Smartphones, PDA-style phones, and BlackBerrys -- have become indispensable tools for mobile workers, according to an IDC study.

While the majority of formal enterprise adoption to date has been within large enterprises, predominately in the United States and Canada, potential for strong growth exists among small businesses in all markets and enterprises throughout other regions of the world.

Furthermore, individual business users are coming in through the backdoor of corporate networks with their own (individually purchased) devices. IT departments will move to remedy this and gain control of such actions.

According to IDC's latest mobile enterprise device usage forecast, worldwide shipments of corporate-liable mobile devices will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54 percent to reach more than 82 million units shipped in 2011. IDC data shows that the U.S. market accounted for 42 percent of enterprise shipments of converged mobile devices (CMDs) in 2006 and growth will remain strong over the next five years.

IDC predicts that Western Europe will become the second-most important market in terms of enterprise mobility. The majority of Asia/Pacific and other regions of the world, including Latin America and Eastern Europe, will also experience a shift towards greater enterprise adoption.

On the other hand, Japan shows signs of marginal enterprise adoption over the forecast period according to IDC as its market remains almost entirely consumer-centric. IDC believes that growing enterprise adoption worldwide will be driven by organizations realizing the advantage of connectivity options to reduce telecom spending and enhance mobile worker productivity.

IDC also believes corporate purchasing of CMDs will increase as investing in mobile and wireless solutions becomes high priority for IT. Thus, IDC foresees a greater need for IT departments to exercise more control over these same devices.

"One of the key drivers for the expected growth in enterprise adoption of CMDs lies in the power to use these devices, beyond basic telephony, to access corporate email, the Internet/Intranet, and securely link to corporate databases," says Sean Ryan, research analyst for IDC's Mobile Enterprise Devices program.

"As CMDs become more tightly coupled with enterprise networks, IT mobility initiatives will trend towards standardization, security, and control -- resulting in enterprise procurement of such devices."

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