Canadian firms won’t part with current technology

One was the darling of consumer electronics a couple of years ago, the other is a 141-year-old communications technology that is tenaciously hanging onto relevance despite the onslaught on more flexible and sexier mobile alternatives.

Netbooks and traditional landline phones are getting the boot from Canadian small and medium sized businesses (SMB) seeking to upgrade their tech equipment, according to a survey conducted by ITBusiness.ca. The survey queried almost 300 SMB tech decision makers from across the country on their company’s technology buying habits and IT strategies. Survey results also indicated that SMBs are not ready to push aside laptops and desktops in favour of tablet devices.

With the increasing adoption for business use of smartphones and tablet devices, ITBusiness.ca asked SMB operators what computing technologies they don’t see themselves using in the next five years. Their answer was:

Landline telephones – 27.99 per cent
Netbooks – 25.94 per cent
PDAs – 21.16 per cent
PCs – 11.95 per cent
Laptops – 6.14 per cent

As much as 48.81 per cent of respondents said they don’t plan to stop using any current technology.

Despite story headlines like How to replace your office PC with an iPad  and the growing momentum for the BYOD (bring your own device) trend, for many businesses laptops and desktops are still the computing device of choice, according to Toronto-based analyst firm IDC Canada. IDC though, forecasts that there will be no less than 1.5 million tablet devices in Canada by the end of the year.

This year was a banner year for laptops, according to Tim Brunt, senior analyst for personal computing at IDC Canada. “Q2 is significant because this is the first quarter in years that portables or laptops overtook desktop computers,” said Brunt who is the lead analyst for IDC’s Canadian Quarterly PC Tracker program.

In Q2 of 2009 for instance, laptops accounted for 38.7 per cent of the market for computer equipment. For the same period this year, that share rocketed to 51 per cent, said Brunt.

The total PC shipment in Canada for Q2 reached 1,534,171 units. The portable PC market posted a strong 10.6 per cent year over year (YoY) growth on 1,010,482 units while desktop YoY growth was only eight per cent with 523,689 units.

He attributes this growth to competitive pricing, a growing demand for mobility and the BYOD trend.

Speaking of BYOD, the ITBusiness.ca survey found that SMBs are very open to having employees use their own tech devices in the workplace.

When ITBusiness.ca asked small businesses about policies around bringing personal devices to work, it found:

Employees are encouraged to bring their own devices – 32.42 per cent
Employees are not allowed to bring own devices to work – 22.53 per cent
No policy and no plans to develop one in next 12 months – 32.08 per cent
No policy but we are looking at developing one in the next 12 months – 12.97 per cent

Krista Napier, senior analyst for competitive intelligence and emerging technologies at IDC Canada says tablets are still in the early stage of adoption but “they are far from being a fad.”

“They appear to be a trend that will stay for quite a while,” said Napier who is a member of the ITBusiness.ca editorial advisory board and is also an ITB blogger.

An avid iPad user, Napier said, the key to tablet success in not in how it can takeover traditional computing functions but in offering alternative ways to access and work with Web-based content.

She foresees laptops taking over the duties of desktops and people turning to tablets for “light computing tasks.”

Nestor ArellanoNestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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