Mobile Enterprise Increasingly Blue Collar
By Carlo Longino, Thu Apr 28 00:00:00 GMT 2005

There's a tendency to think of how mobile business applications in terms of e-mail and corporate database applications, one study says blue-collar workers are adapting mobile technology faster than their white-collar colleagues.

While a number of factors conspire against companies looking to go mobile, it would appear that blue-collar workers are having no such trouble. A UK survey by O2 found that blue-collar workers are adopting mobile services more quickly than white-collar employees, with more than 30% of companies already using them and 20% more planning significant products for this year.

While the market's hung up on e-mail, these workers are after applications to make work in the field quicker and easier, and to improve customer service. These are apps for things like scheduling, field service automation, logistics, inventory and so on; not CRM or BlackBerry email. It makes sense, really, when you consider there are lots of blue-collar workers that are out in the field all the time, more so than many white-collar workers. Techdirt speculates it may have taken white-collar bosses some experience with mobile data themselves before they delved into it for their blue-collar employees.

The lesson is there's money in this market, and it's not necessarily from BlackBerries. US carrier Nextel has focused on these types of workers for a long time, most significantly with push-to-talk, and it enjoys the highest ARPU among American carriers because of it. This market is looking for useful vertical applications that can deliver solid value and ROI, and operators would do well to divert some attention from Java games and wallpapers to addressing its needs.