Enterprise tablets to reach 83M in Asia by 2016

Bring-your-own-device trend, expanding wireless coverage, and tablet availability key factors in driving growth of tablet adoption among companies in Asia-Pacific and Japan for next four years.

Asia-Pacific and Japan can expect to see more workers utilizing tablet devices in their organizations, given the expanding wireless coverage in key markets and widespread availability of such devices. This will drive enterprise tablet sales in the region to reach 83 million units by 2016, according to Forrester Research.

Released Thursday, the research firm stated the number of tablets used for office work in Asia-Pacific and Japan will reach 19 million by end of 2012. This figure is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44 percent to bring it to more than 83 million sold by 2016, it forecasted.

This spike in sales will be driven by bring-your-own (BYO) tablets , which Forrester defines as those which employees buy on their own but use for both work and personal purposes. The enterprise IT team is only responsible for extending corporate data and applications to the device and supporting them, it added.

These BYO tablets will increase at a CAGR of 34 percent between 2012 and 2016 on the back of strong consumer demand, variety of device options, and affordable price points. For 2012 alone, these devices will account for more than 75 percent of all tablets supported by enterprises.

This percentage will fall as more companies invest on procuring tablets for their employees, but in absolute terms, employee-purchased tablets will grow to reach 47 million in 2016, it added. Business-owned tablets, are those that enterprises purchased, and will be provisioned with software and applications by its IT team. This category includes tablets that employees buy on their own but for which the organization partly or completely reimburses them, the report noted.

Expanding connectivity, device availability
Besides the impact of BYO trend, Katyayan Gupta, a Forrester analyst and co-author of the research paper, said widening cellular and wireless coverage in Asia will ensure more connectivity and spur adoption of tablets.

He noted that in addition to existing 2G and 3G networks, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and India have launched commercial 4G services.

Operators in these countries have also increased their W-Fi coverage, Gupta stated. For instance, India's O-Zone Networks will expand their hotspots to 20,000 location by end-2012, while China Telecom and China Mobile will deploy one million Wi-Fi hotspot locations in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

"Ubiquitous internal and external Wi-Fi will facilitate fast, bandwidth-heavy file transfer. This will further promote the use of tablets for communicating and collaborating with remote workers," the analyst said.

The fact that the region, particularly China and Taiwan, is the global hub of electronics manufacturing helps make tablets easily available to consumers here. International brands such as Apple, Samsung , and Lenovo, as well as local manufacturers such as Eben in China and Olive Telecom in India, has flooded the market with their devices, Gupta pointed out.

"Given the greater choice of tablet brands, features, and price points in Asia-Pacific and Japan, tablet uptake will be rapid--boosting the BYO tablet trend in the region," he said.