Mobile Usage Higher at Home than at Work

16th Sep 2003

Mobile users continue to take advantage of wireless network capabilities, but more so in their personal lives than in their professional lives. According to a recent survey of more than 2,500 members of IDC’s Mobile Advisory Council, 34% of respondents use a wireless 802.11 (Wi-Fi) LAN at home compared to 27% at work. These results confirm IDC’s position that although Wi-Fi is being utilized more frequently by highly mobile individuals, business use of Wi-Fi, especially within the enterprise, is lagging behind home use.

“In lean economic times, providing a wireless LAN is a low priority for many IT organizations, while lower price points on wireless access points has spurred increased use of WLAN in the home,” said IDC’s Randy Giusto, Vice President, Personal Technologies and Services. “Even if an employer does not offer wireless on campus, the rise of affordable wireless-enabled computing devices, coupled with low-cost wireless home networking solutions and increasing hot spot availability, is driving the use of wireless beyond the office, and especially at home.”

As mobile workers become increasingly dependent on electronic forms of communication, user demand and potential increases in productivity will drive businesses to implement wireless networks. In addition, as consumers become more accustomed to the benefits of wireless solutions in the home, information and entertainment applications will drive higher demand for home-based solutions.

Key findings of the IDC report are:

*Personal “hot spots” are proliferating as people share their WLANs at home with friends and family.


*Public hot spot interest remains high, but users’ price expectations and payment preference is mixed.

*The top hot spot locations among mobile users are in key travel locations and coffee shops; universities represent the highest degree of daily use; and laptops remain the device platform of choice.

*Mobile office applications such as email, PIM, Internet and Intranet access remain strong among business users, while entertainment and messaging applications are strong among home users.

This study, Mobile Usage Patterns 2003, reviews the latest survey findings from IDC’s Mobile User panel on the usage patterns of a variety of mobile users and consumers. The survey findings reveal insights related to use of mobile devices within a variety of locations, and the applications used by location and by device, including within the home, within the office, and in a hot spot.

IDC’s Mobile Advisory Council, a panel of over 12,000 consumers, business users, and buyers of mobile devices (e.g., mobile phones, PDAs, notebook PCs), is surveyed each quarter on a variety of topics. As of September 2003, residents of 87 countries are panel members, with approximately 84% of the panel based in the United States.


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