Wi-Fi, mobile data, BYOD and tablets -- our conclusions

Today we wrap up our series on how Wi-Fi, mobile data and mobile devices are evolving with a summary and some predictions. When we started this discussion, we expressed our surprise at the low take rate (1%) among AT&T mobility users who employ AT&T hotspots as a way to offload their mobile data plans.

We also observed that the growing number of public Wi-Fi hotspots like those provided by CableWiFi in tandem with "share everything" mobile data plans continue to have a defining effect on BYOD and tablet adoption, encouraging users to increasingly rely on mobile devices for data-centric applications.

REVIEW: Wi-Fi, mobile data, BYOD and tablets -- an interesting puzzle: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Then we asserted that the BYOD (bring your own data) trend is evolving into BYOT (bring your own tablet), with BYOT effecting mobile UC in a way that is at least as profound as today's trend for employees to use their own personal smartphones as a business tool.

Next, we surmised tablets will be especially useful for mobile video and collaboration when users are away from the desktop, although most voice calls will still rely on a desktop phone or smartphone.

And in our last newsletter, we pointed out some obvious roadblocks with public Wi-Fi access that could slow the usefulness of mobile devices for unified communications.

So now we must ask three questions: When will users abandon laptops for tablet computers? When will users rely entirely on mobile devices for all their unified communications needs --including voice, video and collaboration? When will secure and easily managed handoffs occur between Wi-Fi and Mobile data networks?

The answer to all of three questions: Not anytime soon. However, we do see the day when each of these three things will become a reality. We also continue to assert that improved security and management of mobile data networks and Wi-Fi are synergistic to making each of these a reality. And we think the throttle on all of this is the capacity for collaborative effort between mobile device manufacturers, network service providers and private IT managers.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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