In a recent survey conducted by AT&T, 65% of small businesses surveyed said they could not survive — or it would be a major challenge to survive — without wireless technology.
The respondents felt that wireless technology helped them be more flexible and it allowed them to keep in constant touch even when they were away from the office. In fact, they found wireless to be so essential that even when faced with budgetary issues, 80% of owners said they wouldn’t cut back on wireless. 49% (versus only 16% in 2007) said that wireless was key to staying competitive.
A large part of the reason for the rise in wireless use is the proliferation of easily affordable devices. More than 80% of those surveyed said they used a smartphone for business including:
- Checking e-mail (78%)
- Viewing data (53%)
- Surfing the Web (43%)
- Updating social networking sites (18%)
Coinciding with the rise in device usage, is the increase in Wi-Fi hotspots and 4G technology. With the right equipment and service plan, wireless users can access applications and the web from almost anywhere in the US. That’s very important because we’re not a 9 to 5 world anymore. Small business owners in particular are on the clock 24 / 7 and that means being able to access their email, calendars, files, social media etc at any time of the day and from anywhere.
AT&T surveyed 2000 small business owners in ten cities across the US and they did find regional variations. They ranked the cities based on their Wireless Quotient which was derived from answers to questions about the importance of this technology in business.
Atlanta and Dallas came out on top beating out San Francisco, Kansas City, and Chicago. New York and Los Angeles were not included in the sampling.
The downside to portability is security. 58% of those surveyed said they were very concerned (chose an 8 or above) about security when using wireless technology. 24% chose 10 as their level of concern.
The study also found that newer businesses were more likely to use newer technology. They felt this could be attributed to the fact that much of today’s tech wasn’t even available to businesses who started up more than ten years ago.
If you’d like to know more, AT&T has put together a lovely PDF full of stats, graphs and charts which you can access free of charge. Just click here and let your wireless service do the rest.