The second wave of mobile applications

From the banking crisis to rising unemployment levels, the downturn has had a number of damaging effects.

Losing your job and struggling to repay your mortgage is an all too visible sign of the recession. But some affects are more underlying.

Businesses – and IT leaders, more specifically – are continually being told of the need to innovate their way out of the downturn. Attend any conference at the moment and the message is the same: those that continue to invest will be best prepared for an upturn.

So much for the rhetoric – while it is one thing aiming for innovation, it is quite another investing in new areas of business IT. Having to account closely for all areas of spending means some projects are being delayed or shelved.

The consequential affects on innovation are clear. And mobile device development is one outlying area of development that has been affected by the recession. In particular, the downturn has helped apply the breaks on the quicker emergence of a second wave of mobile devices.

User spending on mobile entertainment services will slow dramatically, increasing by nearly $13bn during the next five years, according to Juniper Research. The analyst previously predicted pre-downturn growth of $26bn (see further reading, below).

The new figure represents a significant drop. But $13bn still represents a considerable increase when other areas of IT and telecom development are stalling.

And while spending on high cost content is slower than might have been anticipated, businesses are continuing to invest is in the area of mobile services.

Take Apple’s iPhone, with its excellent web-browser rendering and billion-selling, or freely downloaded, apps (see further reading). The success of the iPhone shows how users are already benefiting from a second wave of mobility, where individuals can stay connected and create knowledge through an easy-to-use interface.

Reports suggest the level of mobile and online activity is increasing in importance, with people today spending more than 20% of their time consuming ‘new media’ (see further reading).

The message is clear. When times are tight, businesses are unlikely to spend on expensive content that has an indeterminate value. At the same time, they will continue to invest on usable mobile technologies that help boost collaboration and provide access to information.

So when the green shoots of recovery sprout, make sure your business users already have access to a desktop in the pocket.

Further reading

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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