By 2014, Social Networking Services Will Replace E-Mail as the Primary Vehicle for Interpersonal Communications for 20 Percent of Business Users Standardization, interoperability and growing competition from e-mail servers and services are accelerating the commoditization of wireless e-mail, according to Gartner Inc. Vendors are responding by pursuing differentiation in the areas of collaboration, applications and the cloud.
Gartner predicts that 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.
"Productivity gains with wireless e-mail are driving adoption beyond executives," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner. "In 2010, enterprise wireless e-mail is still a priority for organizations, whose mobile workforces are up to 40 percent of the total employee base. Most midsize and large organizations in North America and Europe have deployed enterprise wireless e-mail already, but on average, for less than 5 percent of the workforce."
Wireless e-mail makes an individual's e-mail account accessible and usable via mobile networks on mobile devices, within a local client application or through a Web browser, through a software gateway connected to (or part of) the e-mail server.
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.
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.
"People increasingly want to use mobile devices for collaboration to share content, information, and experiences with their communities," Ms. Basso said. "Social paradigms are converging with e-mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and presence, creating new collaboration styles."
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.
"Thanks to ease of access, the cloud will generate indirect competition in the wireless e-mail software market and will transform it in the long term," Ms. Basso said. "Cloud e-mail offerings from software and service players, such as Google's Gmail, will begin to be adopted, pulling wireless e-mail implementations into the cloud as well. Research In Motion and other wireless e-mail vendors will build partnerships with cloud providers to address their customers' cloud strategies. Through 2012, wireless e-mail products and services will be interchangeable, shipping in large volumes at reduced prices. 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."
Additional information regarding the wireless e-mail market is available in the Gartner reports "Collaboration and the Cloud Will Transform the Wireless E-Mail Market" on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1366945, "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Wireless E-Mail Software Market" at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1384349, and "Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Wireless E-Mail Software at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1384335.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 8,100 associates, including more than 1,700 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.