Number crunchers Juniper and other research firms estimate big numbers as Internet use switches from the desktop to the smartphone.
Mobile Commerce is the Place to Be
It would appear logical that a lot of desktop activity is switching to the mobile space as smartphones become evermore capable. So the estimates by Juniper that demand for mobile access to Web 2.0 applications and services will hit US$ 18.9 billion in 2014 sound pretty reasonable. That figure was followed by a US$ 17 billion estimate from Getjar on the value of mobile apps in just 2012.
With workers and consumers both heading mobile, Juniper reckons that presence and location features and mobile Voice-over-IP (VoIP), will be the primary market driver. In fact, a second piece of Juniper research, published today, reckons that the presence segment will be worth US$ 6 billion alone, covering geolocation and social web services.
On the consumer side, app stores and social gaming-gone-mobile will eat up staggering amounts of cash. Such is the drive towards mobile, that a third report, from Canalys, reckons that some 65 million smartphones will be sold in the U.S. this year. This will bring the smartphone from vocal, but significant, minority to a market leader over the majority of feature phones currently in use.
Who Will Be In the Money?
With all these statistics flying around, the big question is, who will be raking in most of this revenue? On the hardware side, clearly BlackBerry from RIM and Apple's iPhone, but the reports expect Android to start claiming some of the share. On the software side, those making a major presence in the major app stores will gain.
Joomla Admin Mobile and Squarespace have an early start in the mobile CMS space (on Apple's store at any rate), but there is room for a lot more action and major players will be revving up their services in the near future. Certainly it will take some creativity and effort to produce a slick method of managing sites from a 4" screen.
Trouble in Store
Among all the hype and big numbers, it is important to consider the downside. As users and enterprises are finding that 99.9% uptime for a funky cloud service isn't the same as 100% uptime, they will find themselves struggling to connect and having to revert to old-fashioned laptops and networks, as backup plans for areas where service is patchy, or signal quality is poor.
Perhaps the major drive to mobile services won't start for a few years when LTE and other 4G mobile networks are up and running. This does give larger enterprises and developers the time to come up with the right solution. At the same time this will allow smaller, agile, developers to make their mark. All developments we will follow with interest.