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Don't ignore mobile computing, says analyst

Enterprises should see mobile computing as being business critical rather than push it aside.

Kevin Burden, program manager of Smart Handheld Devices for research firm IDC, claimed that most enterprises have pushed mobile computing to the side as they cope with the economic downturn.

However, IDC has predicted that sales of handheld devices such as PDAs will triple to 14 million by 2005 and the technology is expected to play a crucial role in tackling enterprise issues such as database access, supply chain management and sales force automation.

When devising a mobile computing strategy, enterprises should “look internally first”, Burden said. Starting with small pilot programmes, enterprises should focus on developing relationships with solution providers and integrating end-to-end, single point solutions with a targeted ROI in mind.

Wireless and handhelds are witnessing better integration, Burden said, adding that while “wireless [deployment] doesn’t have to be done right now”, enterprises that gamble on surviving without a defined mobile strategy may be ill-positioned when mobile computing takes off.

Suppliers such as Palm are angling to grab a share of the estimated $110m (£70m) in anticipated annual handset sales. Since the initial surging growth of Palm and handheld devices in the 1990s, demand has slowed but this is poised to change, claimed Palm Solution Group chief executive officer Todd Bradley.

Bradley said Palm will specifically target the health care, government and enterprise markets. Enterprises need to take advantage of the estimated 85% of business workers that are using handheld devices, he added.


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