IT managers: We want smartphones

According to a recent survey, enterprise IT managers are positive about integrating smartphones into their businesses

Over half of the biggest companies in the UK are preparing to deploy applications on smartphones used by their employees, with just 8 percent against the move. The positive response towards smartphones -- handsets resembling standard mobile phones rather than PDAs, yet featuring always-on wireless access to IP networks and significant computing power -- came in a survey carried out by Vanson Bourne of IT and telecoms managers at companies with over £250m in annual revenues. Mark Terry, director of enterprise sales at Intuwave, the mobile middleware vendor that commissioned the poll, told "As soon as you start saying to [IT managers] that the devices will be part of their IP network, it sets off all sorts of plus and minus factors for them." IT departments, said Terry, are mostly optimistic about extending out corporate applications and data to smartphones, though at the same time they want to stay in control, tracking device IP addresses for example, even though phones may be owned by employees. The market for smartphones is set to take off, according to experts. Cambridge-based Analysys has forecast over 278 million smartphones in use in Europe by 2007, increasing mobile data revenues from 14bn euros in 2002 to 45bn euros in 2007. Intuwave's Terry said the definition of a smartphone for the latest survey was of an open platform that a significant number of application developers use. He sees the Symbian and Microsoft smartphone products as the key platforms, as opposed to Palm OS-based devices, or proprietary or Linux-based handsets appearing in some markets, especially China and Japan. The downside of the survey was that when put to companies with turnovers of between £50m and £250m, only 35 percent of respondents were bullish about smartphones, with 28 percent against deploying mobile applications using them.

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