Collaboration will boost wireless e-mail

Wireless e-mail user numbers are set to rocket to 1 billion in the next three years, as services become standardized and commoditized, research firm Gartner predicts. 
User numbers will grow from 80 million in early 2010 to 1 billion by end 2014, as the number of mobile devices capable of accessing e-mail grows, while the cost of supplying services falls due to standardization, interoperability, and increased competition from e-mail servers, the firm forecasts. 
Analyst Monica Basso is confident user numbers will begin to ramp from 2012, despite the fact less than 5% of field workers at mid and large-size US companies currently have access to enterprise-standard wireless e-mail services. 
“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,” Basso states. 
However, wireless e-mail faces a challenge from social networking sites, which Basso predicts will become the principal means of communication among 20% of business users by 2014. 
Basso said use of social networking sites is evidence that new collaborations are emerging in the wireless messaging space. 
Cloud services are another area of collaboration, and could transform the wireless e-mail software market in the long term, Basso said.  
The research firm predicts 10% of e-mail accounts will be in the cloud by end 2012, compared to 3% in 2009, noting that e-mail services from Microsoft, IBM and Google already offer some cloud compatibility.