Ready for another cross industry consortium? This time it's mobile and telecommunications companies banding together to persuade European businesses to use more mobile and wireless solutions. The Mobile Data Initiative has set itself the task of persuading European business to use the GSM network to provide mobile PC users with wireless access to corporate data networks and the Internet. The initiative was formed by Intel, and members include Ericsson, Nokia, Compaq, IBM, Toshiba, Microsoft, Cellnet, Mannesmann Mobilfunk, T-Mobil, Telia and Vodafone.
Representing the initiative at the recent Etre conference in Berlin, Hans Geyer of Intel said: "Europe has established the world's most advanced digital cellular network, and it is here that the mobile PC and telecommunications industries have joined for the first time to combine our respective technologies for business. Our members will remove the technical and market barriers to wireless computing over the GSM network, and will help European business to deploy mobile data solutions for global competitive advantage."
He pointed to Dataquest figures showing that Europe leads the world in wireless digital voice communications, with a subscriber base of 19 million in 1996, growing to a prospective 66 million by 2000. However, the current climate of corporate networks and the Internet is not taking advantage of GSM for wireless computing.
Only one in 50 European GSM phone users has an adaptor for connecting a mobile computing device to the GSM network. Data represented only 0.5 per cent of traffic over the GSM network in 1995, and while Europe has 1.1 million more mobile professionals than the US, European business will deploy only two mobile PCs for every five shipped in the US in 1996.
The Mobile Data Initiative is painting a picture of European mobile professionals using mobile PCs and GSM data services on a daily basis to connect to the Internet, send messages, faxes and email, exchange presentations and reports, access and update corporate databases and monitor news events.
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