Almost 10% of
Australia’s working population is now using a mobile device to access
company email, according to a new Optus survey charting the ever upward
trend of wireless connectivity. In less than 12 months the use of
handheld mobile devices to access work email has tripled from 3% to 9%,
according to the Optus survey. Over the same period wireless access to
email on a laptop with Wi-Fi at hotspots and on a laptop with mobile
connectivity has more than doubled. The survey found 15% of workers
currently use Wi-Fi hotspots to access work email and 13% use a laptop
with a mobile connectivity. The figures compare to 6% in 2005.

“We’re
seeing acceleration in the take-up of mobile email services,” said
Optus Business Marketing Director Paul Kitchin. “Last year mobile email
was just scratching the surface, now we’re seeing real traction in the
market.” The Optus survey also showed that users see mobile email as a
valuable business tool. 47% of people who access work email via a
handheld device describe it as extremely useful or essential to their
work, 61% described email access via a laptop with mobile connectivity
as extremely useful or essential and 55% describe access using a laptop
with Wi-Fi at hotspots as extremely useful or essential.

Kitchin says that email in general is now used by the majority of
Australian workers. The survey found that 72% of full-time workers now
use email as part of their job. While women are more likely to use
email for work, men are twice as likely to have wireless or mobile
email access. Males make up 71% of users that access email at Wi-Fi
hotspots, 67% that use mobile data cards and 77% that use handheld
mobile devices such as BlackBerry. “Email is intrinsic to the way we
work. While this has traditionally meant being tied to a desk, network
improvements and wider range of services mean mobile email is now more
attractive to employers and employees,” Kitchin said. He added that
Optus was responding to new demands for mobile connectivity with
combined 3G/ GPRS/Wi-Fi connectivity cards as well as Microsoft and
BlackBerry push email solutions. “We’re giving businesses choice in
terms of device and supported technology platforms when considering a
push email solution,” he said.

Peter Fray

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