RealTime IT News

Study: Wireless Device Use is Blossoming

Is there any more doubt that wireless plays are here to stay? According to a study conducted by internet.com's new Technology Advisory Panel, if there are any doubts about the ever-increasing mobility of communications people might want to reconsider.

According to the Wireless Services survey, people are tuning in to wireless access with the same frequency as they did for cell phones and the Internet. While most of the wireless Net device use is based in the office, the study found that 87 percent of the nearly 5,000 IT professionals surveyed already have or will head for personal digital assistants of some type in the next year.

It perhaps comes as no surprise then that sales for cell phones and PDA's have seen a boost, which analysts have attributed to a true settling price range in the market. Remember when basic DVD cost $300 two years ago? Now, people can purchase them for about $200 is they shop around.

This, too, applies to wireless devices and services, which have become price-stabilized. As the demand for PDAs increases, so will the technology evolve, becoming more sophisticated. And shoppers will experience what the study calls a "perceived need" to go out and grab a wireless device.

What's more, the explosion in cell phones and wireless devices may spell doom for the pager, a device that anyone who reads the newspaper on a regular basis may regard as a tool for drug dealers. Not only does a pager have negative connotations, but only 6 percent of the respondents to the survey owned up to having one, with 5 percent saying they would buy one in the next year.

Why would people need Internet access on the go? In the past few years, many people have engaged in online stock trading, banking and shopping. So, supposing that people are walking around with say, a Palm Pilot, they may make these transactions at the spur of the moment without having to rush home to their PC.

Take the case of your average investor for which this could prove incredibly important for tracking a stock's performance. They could buy or sell a stock at a moment's notice on the train, in a mall, or anywhere else. But on the safer, much more secure side of the fence, some people just like accessing e-mail on the run.

Still, the study shows that the IT professionals are grossly ahead on the wireless curve as three-quarters of domestic, non-IT professionals aren't quite comfortable with such transactions or applications over their cell phone. Like the widespread adoption of cell phones for communication, this will take some more time.

Ultimately, the study concluded the wireless sector has quite a way to go. The wireless user is embracing mobility gently, with the same caution it reserved for wired Internet use some four or five years ago.

But one can bet that as the security of wireless appliances and technology gains ground, users will be less hesitant to go and make that purchase, bank deposit, or stock trade from their Palm device. How soon this happens is anyone's guess, but where PDAs were considered secure earlier this year, hackers have spawned some evil entities that have brought the safety of wireless devices into question.

The wireless analysis is the first study published by the IT Technology Panel, which teamed with researcher Survey.com and Follow-up.net last year to build the panel from more than 2 million internet.com viewers each month.