IDC: Wireless has untapped potential in the enterprise

Wireless technologies may be growing, but vendors still have a ways to go to meet the potential demand from business users, according to an IDC analyst.

"Content aimed at business users is still an underdeveloped market opportunity," says Scott Ellison, who made his remarks Tuesday in a teleconference conducted by the analyst firm on what it sees as the top issues in the wireless market for 2005.

Business users want location-based services the most, Ellison noted, and with every passing year, the vendors go in another direction. "The wireless subscriber market understands what {location-based services} are," giving vendors an opportunity to create "an entirely new market."

Keith Waryas, an IDC research manager, said vendors had been "somewhat hesitant" to offer LBS on a wide scale. But going forward, he added, it will play a vital role in their product strategies.

IDC also cites security as a top issue in the wireless world this year with broadband networks becoming "tempting targets" for attack. "It really seems as if it's only a matter of time before there's a major security issue," Ellison said. And, more standards could make things worse instead of better, the analyst firm contends. If wireless providers work on a handful of technologies and just a handful of standards, hackers know they can take out many users.

Another issue to watch: enterprise reaction to 3G wireless technologies, which have been "living up to {their} promises so far," Ellison said. IDC particularly noted a rise in the adoption of EV-DO, fast wireless broadband access without the need for a WiFi hotspot. If enterprises warm up to 3G, IDC noted, that could accelerate deployments.

Taking a broad look at market developments last year, IDC said wireless data emerged as a market force and the wireless content market is "exploding." The firm also cited key carrier dynamics, such as the mergers between Sprint and Nextel, and Cingular-AT&T Wireless, as something to watch in 2005.