Is Wireless The Next Big Thing?

by Ivor Soans    Oct 18, 2004

At CXOtoday.com, we’re constantly endeavoring to cross new frontiers—we’ve just made a foray into research and as a beginning, we’ve undertaken a Â’Study on Adoption of Wireless Solutions Among Enterprise Users in India & Emerging Trends’.

If you even have a passing interest in wireless you should download the study—it provides an excellent perspective of where wireless usage stands in India today, the pain areas, and what the industry needs to do to get Indian enterprises to adopt wireless faster.

While wireless adoption in India is nowhere close to the West, it seems that Indian enterprise users are not to blame. It’s amply clear that Indian enterprises are actively considering using wireless, despite the fears they have on the security and cost fronts. While many are understandably cagey about revealing investment figures, they’re sure that if they see a value proposition in wireless, they’ll go for it.

However, helping users understand the value proposition is a task for the IT industry and from the study, it seems that IT vendors have failed on this front. For instance, while security and cost will be on the list of parameters that any CXO in the world will use to evaluate a solution, they needn’t assume monstrous proportions. Vendors don’t seem to have communicated the fact that even small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can seriously consider wireless LAN solutions today.

As one CIO mentioned in the survey, they want solution providers to clearly define the benefits and the limitations of their products—greater transparency is the key demand. Hopefully, the vendors are listening.

And then of course, there’s the government. Just one wireless LAN standard (802.11b) does not require a license for indoor operation. That our government and government-run agencies can be plain stupid sometimes is well known. Take the recent announcements by BSNL, bringing down the price of ISDN connectivity. When ISDN should have been widely encouraged in the early 90s, they raised entry barriers so high that very few could use it; today, when ISDN doesn’t have much of a future thanks to broadband over cable, DSL and even wireless becoming a reality, BSNL wants to encourage ISDN!

Similarly, the government has much to do on the wireless deregulation front—both in terms of spectrum allocations as well as wireless LAN standards. Hopefully, the mandarins won’t wake up to the opportunities deregulation presents to improving Indian industry competitiveness long after the world has gone far ahead.

So, the writing is on the wall: India Inc. is very enthusiastic about wireless, but there are hurdles that could trip up even the ones who are gung-ho about wireless. Hopefully, vendors will do their bit and the government will wake up and lend a helping hand too.