Instant messaging, which already has a strong foothold in the wired world, will be getting more and more popular in the wireless world, according to a new survey of wireless software developers by Evans Data Corp. What’s more, businesses will see more wireless applications developed specifically for their use.
America Online, Yahoo and Microsoft may have led the world into the world of IM, Evans Data officials said. But when it comes to wireless IM, the new study finds that handset makers, wireless technology developers and wireless carriers are increasingly developing instant messaging applications.
Results from its Winter 2002 study show that messaging has overtaken e-mail as the most popular application being developed, with 47.7% saying they were working on messaging programs. Just over 41%, meantime, said they were developing e-mail applications.
Evans Data surveys wireless professionals every six months for its Wireless Developers survey, said Jay Dixit, the company’s wireless analyst, in an interview. This time, it queried more than 600 such developers on their plans.
The pace at which wireless development will grow continues to accelerate as well, Evans Data said. The number of respondents saying they will devote 50% or more of their time to wireless applications increased from 19% to 24% since Evans’ last survey.
Enterprise IM development is growing as well. “The majority of developers who are targeting instant-messaging applications, who are either developing instant-messaging applications themselves or are developing applications that are going to work with instant messaging, the majority are developing for business.” Of those surveyed, 57.3% indicated they were working on some kind of enterprise development, he said.
Of that 57.3%, 23.3% are developing corporate-wide applications for use inside the enterprise, 24.3% are developing custom applications for clients outside the company, and 9.7% are developing applications for individuals or small workgroups inside the company, he also said.
About 39% of developers are working on applications for the consumer side of the market, Dixit said, with 32.3% of applications being developed for commercial applications outside of the company.
“We’ve seen a boom in messaging among teenagers, who have developed an entire culture around wireless messaging, but the study also strongly suggests that businesses want to use messaging to promote teamwork and increase efficiency,” Dixit also said.
The developers interviewed also said they would also develop applications involving e-mail, consumer e-commerce, wireless portal development and mobile positioning/location-based services.
Finally, of all wireless applications being developed, 68.8% said they were working on programs for personal digital-assistants (PDAs). Fifty-nine percent, meantime, said they were developing applications for mobile phones. Six months ago, those figures were virtually tied, Dixit said.
In other wireless areas, the survey found that 802.11b wireless local-area network (WLAN) technology is continuing to gain ground, as almost one in four developers are currently working with the “Wi Fi” technology, compared to less than one in five in the last study.
The Bluetooth and HomeRF technologies, meantime, didn’t see any change in adoption levels over the last six months, Evans Data also said.
Among security protocols, HTTPS — the standard Web protocol for accessing a secure Web server by encrypting and decrypting both page requests and Web pages — was the most popular wireless security protocol, with 39% of respondents saying they will target it first.
The Wireless Developers Survey has been around for 2 years, Dixit said, adding that Evans Data counts more than 10,000 developers in its various panels.
Bob Woods is the managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet, where this article first appeared.