40% of Enterprises Will Go "Wi-Fi First" by 2020

Ethernet cabling remains the mainstay for enterprise data connections, but Wi-Fi is becoming a “first choice” of employees, for a number of reasons.

By 2018, 40 percent of enterprises will specify Wi-Fi as the default connection for non-mobile devices, such as desktops, desk phones, projectors, conference room, Gartner analysts now predict.

User reliance on mobility is key. In the emerging economies, users are adopting smartphones as their exclusive mobile devices while in developed economies, multi-device households are becoming the norm, with tablets growing at the fastest rate of any computing device, Gartner says.

Gartner predicts that, by 2018, more than 50 percent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities.

“The use pattern that has emerged for nearly all consumers, based on device accessibility, is the smartphone first as a device that is carried when mobile, followed by the tablet that is used for longer sessions, with the PC increasingly reserved for more-complex tasks,” said Van Baker, research vice president.

Given that consumer shift to untethered and mobile devices, Wi-Fi makes more sense.

“Ethernet cabling has been the mainstay of the business workspace connectivity since the beginning of networking. However, as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other consumer devices have multiplied, the consumer space has largely converted to a wireless-first world," said Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “we expect many organizations to shift to a wireless-by-default and a wired-by-exception model.”

Globally, the “mobile first” trend will be fueled by the ability to buy a smartphone for less than US$100, by about 2020.

By 2018, 78 percent of global smartphone sales will come from developing economies, as well.

By 2018, Gartner expects a $78 average selling price for a “basic phone” to be $78, while a simpler “utility phone” costs $25.

Some low-cost smartphones are expected to reach approximately $35 (unsubsidized) by the end of  2014, compared with the $50 entry-level smartphones seen in 2013.
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