3G wireless not just for big shots anymore

EV-DO, other advanced mobile-data technologies getting widespread corporate adoption

Baker says Sprint's mobile data cards have performed well for e-mail and for accessing client information stored at branch offices and the firm's time-and-expense and Web-based conference-call scheduling systems.

Connectivity has been "very, very good," Baker says. "I was one of the pilot users, and I was doing a lot of traveling. I even used it in Canada. We have yet to find an area where it hasn't worked well."

Baker says the reaction from users has been overwhelmingly positive. "I wish I could slow down the adoption rate," he says. "The issue now is figuring out who needs it."

Baker expects 100 of OPI's 1,600 employees to have EV-DO service by year-end. As the technology gets faster, he foresees using mobile data for the company's training videos rather than running them over LANs.

Baker's advice to other CIOs is to test EV-DO at company and customer sites before buying it -- and make sure to train users. "Have a good, solid telecommuting policy," he recommends. "Once one person has it, someone else will say they want it also. You need to have a solid foundation for deciding who gets it and you need to allocate costs."

EV-DO and other 3G technologies have picked up momentum in 2007 as carriers have rolled out coverage to all major U.S. metropolitan areas.

"From the evidence we've seen and the research we've done, there is absolutely a pent-up demand for 3G from enterprises," says Mike O'Malley, director of eternal marketing for Tellabs, which sells mobile wireless equipment to carriers. "That's because it offers Wi-Fi speeds or better, but unlimited roaming. People don't want to walk from Starbucks to Starbucks for connectivity."

Power users have been taking advantage of EV-DO and 3G for a few years, but it's only in the last six months that enterprises have decided to buy mobile data cards in volume and roll them out to large blocks of employees. With these purchases, CIOs are trying to integrate mobile data back into their network resources in a standard, secure way.

"It used to be that companies were rolling out Wi-Fi globally and 3G to their top 50 executives to get them connected," says Jim Szafranski, vice president of product management and marketing at Fiberlink. "Now it's grown from an executive or departmental solution to the point where IT executives are saying they want to turn it on for all 20,000 of their users."

At Adidas, "anybody in the organization who has a use for a BlackBerry, can have it," Oligmueller says. "The sales people want BlackBerries. They don't want to carry laptops because they are too heavy."

One of the biggest benefits for companies is the improved productivity of employees. "There are two great things about a BlackBerry: It allows you to recapture nonproductive time, and it allows you to turn an eight-hour employee into a 10- or 15-hour employee. And the employee is happier than they were at eight hours," Oligmueller says. "The wheel turns a lot smoother because everyone is available all of the time."

"CFOs are saying they see 30 percent more work out of their employees when they give them a laptop," Fiberlink's Szafranski says. "It's also good for business continuity. If you give people a laptop, they can keep working if there's a snowstorm or a real disaster."

Carriers are gearing up for continued growth in enterprise use of mobile data in 2008 and beyond. "There's probably around three million EV-DO cards out there today, and there's somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 million users of wireless," says Tim Donahue, vice president of business marketing at Sprint. "There's a great opportunity to proliferate this at a much higher level to other wireless users. . . . I don't see any reason for this to slow down. We are still on the front end of this curve."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?