In April 2005, an online poll for the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) conducted by revealed that 69 per cent of the 345 businesses surveyed believe mobile technology is helping them better compete, and 55 per cent are using mobile technology either in key departments like sales or across the entire company. The poll indicated that another 38 per cent of respondents were either evaluating mobile technology or in the process of deploying it in certain departments or across their organization.

The increase in the use of mobile technology is being spurred on by new speed capabilities. A Bell/Nortel announcement this spring of rates six times what is currently available was topped by an even more recent news flash: Japan’s BB Mobile, a Softbank Group company, and Nortel completed a ‘supercharged’ wireless data transmission of 14.4 million bits per second (Mbps) — 30 times faster than today’s commercially deployed wireless networks.Even if the mobile business case is not there for your company now, have no doubts that it will be to some degree.Text Of course convenience plays a major part in the adoption of mobile devices. For example, Action Engine claims its platform on your PocketPC lets you book a flight, find a restaurant near the airport and get driving directions to the airport in under three minutes. Certainly IP telephony ‘Find Me’ capabilities enhance worker mobility and access. Instead of always returning to the office for messages, mobile workers can now respond to emails and voice messages while in a coffee shop between appointments.

Yet, even in these relatively early days, mobile devices are already posing a challenge to manage. Security and the management of mobile devices and IT infrastructure are now top concerns for businesses. Of the canvassed businesses, 50 per cent of respondents felt that mobile devices are a headache for IT departments to manage, track and secure, and 82 per cent were most concerned about security and viruses. Another 38 per cent were most concerned about IT infrastructure.

The good news is that for once the financial services sector is not on the IT bleeding edge, creating solutions to problems no one had ever faced before. But don’t be fooled. Even if the mobile business case is not there for your company now, have no doubts that it will be to some degree. Just look at how today’s teens use mobile devices as an essential lifestyle accessory — and consider their impact when it comes time to attract them as your customers and employees.

Susan Maclean,

Related links:

Crafting a mobile device security policy

Battle against mobile viruses heats up