Choice drives surge in mobile email

05 Mar 2007

Mobile email use is on the rise, with as many of 70% of mobile professionals expected to use it by year's end, according to a study released during the GSM World Congress last month by Visto Corp.

Almost 60% of those surveyed admitted that one year ago they regarded mobile email as the domain of the elite within an organization, or too expensive, or limited to a few special devices. However, now those attitudes have changed, with 70% saying such service had become less exclusive, more affordable and offers far greater device choice.

The survey polled mobile business professionals who rely on email at their desk in the UK, Spain and the US.

The study also found that the rate of uptake is increasing. While only 40% of survey respondents currently use mobile email, half of those had begun to in the last year, and a further 30% believed they would begin to use the service in the next three to 12 months.

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'The research confirms what we've seen at Visto and in the market over the last 12 months,' says Doug Brackbill, Visto's executive VP. 'We have reached the point where all the right elements are finally in place: the devices, compelling carrier offerings and a mobile email service that is as easy to use as the handset itself.'

The research also showed evidence that choice was the overriding factor behind the surge in uptake. Only 15% currently using mobile email were doing so because they had been instructed by their company, a further endorsement of earlier research that showed mobile executives welcomed the chance to use technology, and specifically mobile email, to increase their ability to manage both work and personal commitments.

While the study findings certainly indicate mobile email is growing more popular in the business segment, it also underscores the growing security challenges that vendors and service providers will face in the near future. With mobile email becoming more common on smarter and more sophisticated mobile phones, security will become a greater concern. Viruses, malware and threats from hackers are on the rise, with security experts warning the devices could become a vulnerable entry point into the corporate network.

So far, users, service providers, ISPs and vendors are divided about where the primary responsibility for security lies. The Visto survey illustrates, however, that the time for resolving that debate is rapidly approaching.

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