Four out of five (82 per cent) of Canadian IT executives believe that mobile computing is the “wave of the future,” with improvements in efficiency (90 per cent) and greater staff productivity (71 per cent) being the most commonly cited reasons behind the movement toward mobility.

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81 per cent of IT decision makers plan to invest in new laptop computers over the next 18 to 24 months, with 32 per cent of decision-makers planning to increase overall budget expenditure on laptop computers during this period.

Employee satisfaction is also cited as a leading factor in the charge towards a mobile workforce. Seventy per cent of Canadian business leaders believe employee satisfaction should be a much higher priority for the IT department, with 64 per cent believing that having a laptop computer leads to better work/home life balance for employees. Similarly, over half of those surveyed believe that workers who have laptop computers tend to be happier than those who remain tethered to a desktop PC.

Although industry experts believe that it’s the increasing popularity of wireless networking that is leading the fundamental shift towards mobile computing, Canadian businesses still have a long way to go to develop the necessary wireless infrastructure to truly take advantage of the benefits of mobility.

More than 65 per cent of Canadian IT decision makers, surveyed by Northstar Research, believe that wireless is the wave of the future. To date, only one-third (36 per cent) of businesses currently have a wireless network (e.g. wireless LAN) installed and are ready to embrace mobile computing on wireless networks.

The trend towards wireless networks is growing, however, with over 42 per cent of Canadian businesses surveyed expecting to invest in wireless networks during the next 18 to 24 months.

Of those businesses planning to purchase laptop computers in the next while, 79 per cent will distribute them among their executives, with top-tier management also accounting for 67 per cent of wireless devices (e.g. PDAs and Blackberries). The sales force is also set to benefit from life-enhancing mobile devices, with 67 per cent of businesses expecting to purchase laptop computers for their road warrior sales team and 61 per cent expecting to outfit sales representatives with mobile devices.

And while security is an issue, six out of 10 IT executives believe their existing network security is adequate to handle the security demands posed by remote access from mobile employees.

Note: The Northstar Research Partners survey was conducted on behave of Intel Canada Ltd. The survey was conducted during the period of April 3 to 19, 2002. One hundred telephone interviews were completed with senior IT decision makers (e.g. CIO, VP or senior VP technology/IT, director IT/technical services) from a range of industry sectors and businesses across Canada. The sample was representative of Canadian businesses in terms of size, geography and industry sector. A sample of 100 has an error of plus or minus eight per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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