Top 10 mobile and networking stories of 2011

Mobile technology has truly taken off in 2011. We look back at some of the key developments in mobile and networking over the past year.

As companies increased smartphone deployments to support an increasingly mobile workforce, more bring-your-own (BYO) models started to emerge.

Enterprise reliance on Blackberry was questioned after RIM’s service outage, giving Apple and Google’s Android greater chance of making gains in the professional mobile market in 2012.

As mobile data traffic is set to increase into next year, government investment into new broadband networks was questioned by businesses and experts as organisations raced to meet demand for mobile services – for customers and employees.

New technology, such as near-field communications (NFC) and mobile wallet concepts, are set to shape emerging mobile services in 2012.  

1. Let employees use personal mobile devices to remain competitive, says Cisco CTO

Businesses must adopt new mobile technologies or risk losing top talent to their rivals, according to Cisco's chief technology officer. Commenting on Cisco's latest Connected World report, Ian Foddering, CTO at Cisco UK & Ireland, said attitudes towards information access, mobile devices and social media have put pressure on businesses to adopt new technologies and improve IT infrastructure to attract and retain top talent.

2. Microsoft and Nokia sign partnership deal

Nokia and Microsoft have confirmed a widespread rumour of a strategic partnership that will see Nokia adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, Bing as its search engine, and fold its Ovi store into Microsoft's online Marketplace. Both companies have been losing market share to iPhone and Android in the lucrative smartphone market. According to Gartner, Microsoft's share of the mobile operating system market halved from 8.7% to 4.2%, while Nokia's share of the handset market fell from 36.4% to 28.9%.

3. Apple iPhone prises enterprise grip from Blackberry

The dominance of Research in Motion (RIM)'s Blackberry smartphone usage within enterprises is being eroded by increased use of Apple iPhone devices in the workplace. A survey of 2,300 employees by iPass shows the iPhone is now the top smartphone being used in the enterprise with 45% marketshare compared to Blackberry’s 35%. Apple iPhones were used by 31% of employees in 2010

4. Businesses likely to rethink continuity plans after Blackberry outage

In the largest outage RIM has ever experienced, Blackberry smartphone users globally were left unable to access e-mails, browse or use its instant messaging platform, Blackberry Messenger (BBM). While the company says full services have been restored, some users faced further disruption due to a data backlog.

The three-day services outage affected major businesses and government departments that rely on Blackberry-maker RIM's enterprise messaging service to deliver mobile e-mail. The disruption to global services has caused businesses to rethink their usage and reliance on Blackberry smartphones, due to the single point of failure within RIM's network and IT infrastructure.

5. Ofcom proposes analogue spectrum for mobile broadband devices in rural areas

Ofcom has proposed using radio spectrum freed up from the switchover from analogue to digital to deliver mobile broadband to sparsely populated areas. Radio stations will migrate to digital broadcast as part of the switchover and this will free up 50% of the frequency spectrum currently used to deliver FM radio, claimed Ofcom.

6. Government announces £363m investment in broadband

The government has announced £363m in investment to improve broadband speeds in homes and businesses in England and Scotland.

Counties in England are set to receive £294.8m, and those in Scotland £68.8m, as part of the £530m intended to provide 90% of UK homes with superfast broadband by 2015 and for everyone to have access to a minimum of 2Mbps.

7. Mobile data traffic increased 40-fold in three years, says Ofcom report

With over a quarter (27%) of adults and almost half (47%) of teenagers owning a smartphone, the use of mobile data services has accelerated, Ofcom has said in a report. A report by Ofcom, titled "Communications Market Report", said the use of mobile data services has increased "40-fold" over a three-year period.

8. Google launches Google Wallet for NFC mobile payments

Google has announced an application that turns mobile phones into a virtual wallet in partnership with Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint. Google Wallet uses near field communication (NFC) to make secure payments simply tapping the phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal.

9. Majority of CIOs support bring-your-own-device policy

The majority of CIOs and CTOs believe bring-your-own device policies will improve IT departments, according to exclusive research. The Technology Industry Survey 2012of 650 IT professionals conducted by IT recruitment firm Mortimer Spinks, a subsidiary of Harvey Nash, and Computer Weekly showed 60% of CIOs and CTOs think employees owning and operating their own IT equipment would be a good thing for the IT department.

10. Android doubles its smartphone market share

Google has doubled market share of smartphones running on its Android operating system since last year, according to research from Gartner. In the third quarter of this year, 60,490 mobile phones running on Google’s Android operating systems were shipped, increasing Android’s market share to 52.5%, from 25.3% in the third quarter of last year.

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