The meteoric rise of wireless will further accelerate in the new year, with expanded adoption of 4G, tablets, smartphones, and other technology in the consumer and enterprise markets.
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6. WiMax Falters
Though it has a lot of support from Sprint and Clearwire (and handful of other network operators around the globe), WiMax is on uneven footing. The bulk of the world's wireless network operators have sided with LTE as their eventual 4G technology of choice. In the United States, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS, Leap Wireless, U.S. Cellular, Cellular South, and others have already begun work on building out LTE.
Even Sprint and Clearwire's support of its own network has wavered in recent months. Both companies' CEOs have independently said that they are evaluating a switch from WiMax to LTE. The companies have conducted trials, and will make a change if that's the way the market goes. Given the general direction the industry is taking towards LTE, it's a wonder Sprint and Clearwire have stuck to their WiMax guns as long as they have. If Clearwire survives the first half of the year financially, perhaps WiMax will live on, but I wouldn't bank on it.
7. Enterprise Adopts BYOD Model
IT managers don't have it easy when it comes to provisioning and deploying smartphones. More and more, mobile professionals want to have a say in the type of device they carry, whether it be the brand of the hardware or the operating system. That's why BYOD -- bring your own device -- is taking off at businesses.
Rather than pay for, flash, and ship a smartphone to remote workers, companies are letting their workforce purchase the devices on their own. With the devices in hand, employees then install enterprise mobile device management software from companies such as Tangoe, which gives IT the control it needs to protect corporate data, but still leaves room for employee choice.
Other tactics include virtualization. LG recently announced a virtualization tool that allows companies to segregate the "work" and "play" modes of Android smartphones. This lets IT sandbox the enterprise features needed by the employee, who still has access to his or her personal apps and data.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
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