Technology has opened the world up to mobile and remote users. In the US, Latin America and Western Europe the number of users is set to leap from 39 million in 2000 to 55 million in 2004.
“As adoption of handheld devices increases, as wireless and broadband technologies for business travelers improve, and as solutions to deliver applications to home workers are enhanced, mobile and remote user growth will skyrocket,” said Stephen Drake, senior research analyst for IDC.
Latin America will experience the largest mobile and remote population growth, from 5.1 million in 1999 to 17.4 million in 2004. Western Europe’s share will increase nearly 28%, from 8 million to 27 million during the same time.
IDC says the number of US mobile professionals will surpass that of work extenders – employees who require irregular access to their corporate office after-hours and at weekends – in 2003. By 2004, mobile professionals will make up 34% of the US mobile and remote population, followed by work extenders (31%), telecommuters (21%), and mobile data collectors (14%).
In Latin America, the increasing number of portable PCs will drive growth. In Western Europe, a combination of telecom liberalization, governmental support, and intense investment in IT-related technology will power expansion, and the number of telecommuters will increase from 3.7 million in 1999 to 9.4 million in 2004.
“The availability of anytime, anywhere connectivity continues to alter the workforce landscape,” said Drake. “In the United States, the technology is in place for businesses to ensure that their employees have ubiquitous access to these resources. Outside the United States, cultural, political, and technological inhibitors will need to be overcome for the mobile and remote user environment to reach its full potential.”