Plenty of Room for Growth in Enterprise Data
By Eric Lin, Sun Aug 15 23:30:00 GMT 2004

Despite the growing acceptance of data among mobile users in Europe, uptake of mobile business applications is still weak.

A new study from Frost and Sullivan is disappointed with the uptake of mobile data among business users in Europe. Consumer data uptake is steadily increasing, however business use lags behind -- primarily due to a lack of vertical applications. Little has been available to corporate users outside access to email, however recent innovations have been increasing awareness and demand for enterprise focused applications.

Successful implementations of fleet management and transportation applications in the past year have set the tone for other industries which are looking to mobilize employees. Software vendors and wireless operators have both been slow to offer corporate-level applications (other than access to corporate email servers), leaving the field to third party systems integrators. Frost and Sullivan expect the large software vendors who are not mobile systems specialists to acquire systems integrators as demand for mobile data increases.

Mobilizing vertical applications clearly benefits to both the users and the software companies, but the benefits to carriers seem indirect at best. Most carriers charge corporate users a flat-rate data tariff, so an increase in data use will not directly increase ARPU. Instead carriers will hope that increased dependance on mobilized applications will also increase mobile usage in general or be forced to change their price schemes.

Operators currently offer few vertical solutions, nor is it feasible for them to offer integrated applications for all industries. However carriers that have a strong market in one industry or another may want to partner with the dominant software player in that industry or a powerful systems integrator to offer solutions for those customers. By offering industry-standard solutions directly to customers, carriers will be to charge for these services, and possibly even create an additional subscription fee allowing them to create more data revenue from business without raising or changing tariffs.