UK firms lack wireless strategy

Businesses are aware that there are significant advantages to going wireless but many are blundering in with their eyes closed, latest research as found

British businesses risk wasting money on wireless equipment and services because they haven't got a proper strategy for wireless deployment, according to Toshiba and the Institute of Directors (IOD).

Research published on Thursday by the two organisations has found that Britain's wireless market is at a critical stage. Most companies interviewed either said they planned to invest in technologies such as Wi-Fi and GPRS in the near future, or that they had already done so. Fifty percent plan to buy wireless equipment or services in the next 12 months.

Many said they believed wireless would help them to compete better or be more productive.

But, just 21 percent of firms say they have a strategy that defines how wireless should be deployed in their business. Companies without such a strategy risk missing out on the opportunities offered by wireless, according to the IoD and Toshiba.

They could even find themselves in big trouble. A poorly executed wireless deployment can result in employees overworking -- actually harming productivity in the long term. There's also a serious danger of data loss if wireless access points are not secure.

"The business case for wireless technology is there for all to see, but the key to its success is implementing it in the right way," said Neil Bramley, Toshiba's small and medium-sized business manager. "Failure to take account of these considerations could lead businesses to blindly invest money in wireless, only to fall down at the first hurdle."

The Institute of Directors says that its members are becoming increasingly interested in technologies such as wireless. It's keen to ensure that the right information is available to businesses to prevent them blundering.

"Wireless working might not be right for every company," warned Jonathan Cummings, IoD marketing director, adding that different firms will benefit in different ways.

"It might be enhanced customer service, streamlined logistics, remote access to real-time data, more flexible working practices, or any combination of these along with other advantages."

"Whichever is the case, we would encourage all businesses to take a step back and think laterally about how they might derive value from wireless working," Cummings added.