Gartner predicts social networking to overtake email

Commoditisation of wireless email is increasing, according to Gartner which attributes the reason to standardisation, interoperability and growing competition from email servers and services.

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Commoditisation of wireless email is increasing, according to Gartner which attributes the reason to standardisation, interoperability and growing competition from email servers and services. Social networking is increasingly complementing email for interpersonal business communications as wireless email integrates with social networking and collaboration.

The research firm says this increase in demand is addressed by vendors by pursuing differentiation in the areas of collaboration, applications and the cloud.

80 million business users

Worldwide wireless email users are increasing in number and by year-end 2014, they will reach one billion. Gartner estimates that global business wireless email accounts were more than 80 million in early 2010.

These accounts included large, mid-sized and small organisations, as well as individual professionals. Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner, noted that the primary reason for the increase in the adoption of wireless email is the resulting gains in productivity.

Today, enterprise wireless email is still a priority for organisations, whose mobile workforce are up to 40 per cent of the total employee base. Basso added that although most mid-sized and large organisations in North America and Europe are using enterprise wireless email already, on average, they are for less than five per cent of the workforce.

Converging social paradigms

What makes wireless email attractive to users is its ability to make their email account accessible and usable via mobile networks on mobile devices. Because social networking is increasing in popularity, by 2014, such services will replace email as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 per cent of business users.

Commenting on the cloud, Basso said that due to the ease of access, the cloud will generate indirect competition in the wireless email software market and will transform it in the long term.

"Cloud email offerings from software and service players, such as Google's Gmail, will begin to be adopted, pulling wireless email implementations into the cloud as well," said Basso. "Research In Motion and other wireless email vendors will build partnerships with cloud providers to address their customers' cloud strategies."

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