An increasingly mobile workforce will compel businesses to boost their spending on mobile middleware in order to stay in constant touch with personnel, according to analysts IDC.
Global spending on mobile middleware is set to leap from £80m in 2000 to £900m by 2005, according to a study by Stephen Drake, senior analyst at IDC. "Mobile middleware enables a company to really leverage the mobile workforce," claimed Drake. "It's one of the largest growing parts within the enterprise."
Drake added that the returns on investment would overcome any anxieties over technology spending from enterprises.
Looking ahead, Drake expects large players in the traditional middleware area, such as IBM and BEA Systems, to partner with specialist mobile players. "We're still seeing a great deal of investment capital coming into this market," he claimed.
Mark Brockbank, technical architect at IBM, said: "We've been talking about this for a number of years, but it has now moved away from the realms of vapourware and we now have strong alliances with wireless specialists such as Nokia and Ericsson."
However, Brockbank believes growth will be driven by many of the smaller vertical players and he confirmed that IBM is currently seeking alliances in order to grow the market. "This is a general trend within the industry and users will probably opt to work with specialists who will integrate products, such as our Websphere Everywhere suite," he claimed.
IDC estimates the number of mobile professionals worldwide will reach 27 million by 2004, while the number of workers collecting information in the field is expected to reach 18 million.