Is this the shape of things to come here in Australia?

One-fifth of small businesses “could not survive” without mobile

Mobile and wireless technologies such as smartphones, Wi-Fi hotspots and laptop data cards are becoming more important for small-business owners, according to the “Small Business Technology Poll” from AT&T.

More than one-fifth of respondents said they could not be in business at all without wireless technologies, and a further 43% claimed it would be a major challenge. That makes mobile and wireless critical for about two-thirds of small businesses.

Graph showing small business dependency on mobile technology

small business dependency on mobile technology

This reflects the increase in use of mobile and wireless tech among small businesses over the past two years. AT&T found that while one-quarter of respondents reported the same usage as in 2007, 74% of small businesses relied on wireless at least somewhat more.

That dependence is set to increase, according to small-business owners’ plans for the next two years. Nearly three-quarters of respondents plan to up their use of mobile and wireless technologies, including 37% who say they will use the services “much more.”

Graph showing Small Business Usage of Mobile Technology

Small Business Usage of Mobile Technology

Small businesses’ top uses of laptop data cards and Wi-Fi hotspots were for checking e-mail (done by more than eight in 10 respondents) and surfing the Web (57%) on the go. Smartphones were used slightly less for those purposes but were of course vital as mobile phones (91%).

“Wireless technology is a critical business tool that allows mobile workers to stay in touch with colleagues and customers, and to access company data on the move,” said Timothy Doherty, associate research analyst for SMB Mobility, IDC, in a statement. “Reliance on wireless technology will only increase, as growing adoption of mobile business applications among small businesses drives the need for fast, reliable connectivity.”

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