Gartner Predicts: Mobile and Wireless

For 2015, Gartner predicts changes in network infrastructure, smartphone pricing, rapid mobile development and end-user devices. IT leaders should plan to make Wi-Fi a strategic initiative, deploying it with at least 802.11n technology and evaluate it for network device connectivity, including telephony.

By 2018, 40 percent of enterprises will specify Wi-Fi as the default connection for non-mobile devices, such as desktops, desk phones, projectors, conference room.

Ethernet cabling has been the mainstay of the business workspace connectivity since the beginning of networking. However, as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other consumer devices have proliferated, the consumer space has largely converted to a wireless-first world. As bring your own device (BYOD) has increased in many organizations, the collision of the business and consumer worlds has changed workers’ demands.

As the first connection to the enterprise infrastructure, Wi-Fi brings workers the ability to choose any device and move anywhere without worry. Security measures such as 802.1X were first broadly introduced in Wi-Fi, and there have been no reports of any serious break-ins during the long history of the technology, once Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption was introduced. Furthermore, cabling systems or even peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless solutions using ZigBee or other technologies that offer cable replacement have had to deal with a variety of different connectors challenges, such as USB and micro-USB, as video systems move beyond Video Graphics Array (VGA).

Adds, moves and changes are costly inconveniences that waste time for enterprise IT organizations. A move can sometimes involve cabling changes that can cost as much as $1,000 to route and configure a connector to the right place. With Wi-Fi printers, desktops and other devices, all that is required is a cable to the power source, leaving workers free to move themselves making reconfigurations of offices easier. Because of these many benefits, we expect many organizations to shift to a wireless-by-default and a wired-by-exception model.

By 2018, more than 50 percent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities.

Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the first go-to device for communications and content consumption. In the emerging economies, users are adopting smartphones as their exclusive mobile devices while in developed economies, multi-device households are becoming the norm, with tablets growing at the fastest rate of any computing device. As such, Gartner predicts that, by 2018, more than 50 percent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities.

The use pattern that has emerged for nearly all consumers, based on device accessibility, is the smartphone first as a device that is carried when mobile, followed by the tablet that is used for longer sessions, with the PC increasingly reserved for more-complex tasks. This behavior will adapt to incorporate wearables as they become widely available for users. As voice, gesture and other modalities grow in popularity with consumers, and as content consumption tasks outweigh content creation tasks, this will further move users away from the PC.

By 2020, 75 percent of smartphone buyers will pay less than $100 for a device.

By 2018, 78 percent of global smartphone sales will come from developing economies. New buyers in these regions are rapidly transitioning to utility and basic smartphones, helped by declining average selling prices (ASPs). By contrast, the premium smartphone category has reached saturation levels as demand is mainly driven by replacement users and has begun to slow down.

By 2018, Gartner expects the ASP for a basic and a utility phone to be $78 and $25, respectively. Some low-cost smartphones are expected to reach approximately $35 unsubsidized by year-end 2014 (compared with the $50 lowest entry-level smartphones seen in 2013). This is having an effect on the competitive landscape of smartphone vendors, as Chinese brands rapidly grow share, putting pressure on the Tier 1 smartphone vendors.

As feature phones decline, and data use expands in the developing economies, smartphone needs will expand, but only as prices permit. Furthermore, in the developing markets, high-end smartphone shipments are expected to slow down, as the enhanced features of those phones have less and less mainstream value to most buyers.

The other factor at work is subsidies or sponsorships that reduce the cost of the devices. As the mobile phone becomes more and more of the “on-ramp” for purchases and the mainstream method for making payments, subsidies and sponsorships should increase.

By 2018, more than half of all B2E mobile apps will be created by enterprise business analysts using codeless tools.

Conventional mobile application development platforms (MADPs) are rapidly introducing graphical tools for the design of screens, workflow and data sources to reduce the scope of possible projects. The use of codeless tools for the rapid development of straightforward projects by IT and enterprise business analysts will become an alternative to outsourcing, limiting the use of development partners to more-advanced projects. IT departments that provide clean APIs for internal applications and also support codeless tools will create a framework that enables and accelerates the growth of reliable digital business. Those thatresist will be bypassed and promote shadow IT.

Ken Dulaney is a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, Inc. His research areas include smartphones, tablet computers, notebook computers, industrial handhelds, wireless communications, mobile software and device management strategies.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit

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