Wireless and Mobile email going mainstream

I remember during the early days of the internet, the most widely used application those day is email. People are scrambling to have their own email address and starts sending emails to their friends and in business, to their customers. Sending messages have never been easy and fast. Now that mobile and wireless devices are increasing, I can’t help but think if mobile email dominate the wireless world?

I will not be surprised if mobile email will be one of the killer application for wireless devices. Getting message as they arrived (push email) I am sure will be appreciated by many especially those who use email for work. Receiving emails from wherever you are is great but of course it also comes with some disadvantages – spams and viruses comes with this innovation as well.

According to a report released by Gartner Inc., worldwide wireless e-mail users will reach 1 billion by year-end 2014. Worldwide business wireless e-mail accounts were estimated at more than 80 million in early 2010, including large, midsize and small organizations, as well as individual professionals — corresponding to about 60 million active users.

Wireless email is the ability to send and receive email over wireless devices. As GPRS and 3G networks give users constant connectivity access to their email, wireless email services are recently becoming increasingly popular. Push refers to technologies that allow a central system, for example the mobile phone network, to send – or push – information to an end-user without any action on their part or on the part of the mobile device. With push email, emails are sent directly to the mobile device as soon as the email server receives them rather than waiting for the user or email client to request the email.

If we are going to talk about the recent devices that are being released – Samsung, Apple, HTC, Nokia, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson, LG, and the rest of the gang are coming out with devices called smartphones. Phones that has internet connectivity and PC capabilities, and more often than not most of them include email functions. So can you just imagine the number of handsets being sold worldwide in a day? The chance of these users having an email account is very high. And if user can access their emails via their phone, I am sure it’s a matter of time for them to do so.

Look at other devices like gaming consoles, TV, refrigerators, etc, a lot of them now also are internet capable. They may not be mobile but email applications definitely will be included in these devices as well.

On the software side, an enterprise wireless e-mail deployment has a software gateway that is behind the corporate firewall, possibly connected through a network operations center (NOC) to a mobile client. Most products support Microsoft Exchange Server. IT administration, security and remote device management are supported to a different extent. A consumer wireless e-mail deployment has a software gateway that is deployed by carriers and service providers. The offline e-mail client on the device can be native or downloaded separately. Alternatively, a mobile browser connects to Internet e-mail accounts.

Gartner also added that as wireless e-mail begins to integrate with social networking and collaboration, social networking is increasingly complementing e-mail for interpersonal business communications. Gartner predicts that by 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.

Cloud e-mail and collaboration services by Microsoft, IBM, Google and other players already include mobile support, but are very early in adoption. However, Gartner predicts that adoption will grow significantly in the next three to five years. In 2009, only 3 percent of e-mail accounts were in the cloud but by the end of 2012, that number will increase to 10 percent.

In case you’re wondering why email? It’s because email is communication. People need to communicate and email is one fast way to do it, especially in business.

On the other hand, Pew Internet surveyed 2,252 adults in May 2010, found that 38 percent of cell phone owners use the internet on their phones, up from 25 percent a year ago. 34 percent use their phones for email, up from 25 percent in 2009, and 76 percent use camera-phones to take pictures, up from 66 percent in April. The study also looked at the total number of adults using any kind of wireless device – including tablets and laptops – and found that 59 percent of adults used wireless internet of some kind, up from only 51 percent last year.

No doubt wireless email will be big, but the challenges that comes with it will also be big especially in the are of security. If one company fails to address the security issue that comes with wireless solutions, then problem starts and may cause the unpopularity of mobile email in the end. One thing is for certain, wireless e-mail will be highly commoditized and on any device. This commoditization will, in turn, drive standardization and price reductions on service bundles from mobile carriers.

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