Demand for mobile middleware, the critical component that links back-office systems with remote and roaming devices, is expected to surge over the next four years.
Research group IDC reports that the market for mobile middleware will grow by a compound annual rate of 24.4% between now and 2008, when sales will reach $1.3 billion. That prediction follows a boom year in 2003, when revenues jumped 27.4% from $333 million to $424 million.
In terms of revenue share, IDC identifies the market leader as Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere, whose broad portfolio of enterprise and consumer database, management and synchronisation technologies for supporting mobile environments pushed BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion into second place.
As the success of the BlackBerry underscores, email remains the most deployed mobile application, with all the wireless carriers now geared up to deliver corporate mobile email on a wide scale. The next two to three years will bring broader adoption opportunities for mobile email in the mass market, says IDC.
The market is maturing as organisations make greater efforts to add mobility as a means of improving employee productivity. In fact, many now mandate the use of mobile computing within their workforces. "It is no longer a question of if, but a question of when and how many workers will be mobilised over a period of time," says Stephen Drake, IDC analyst.