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Business In An Unplugged World
Wireless networks have slowly but steadily evolved over the years, and so have the business processes that take advantage of their anywhere, anytime connectivity.
The number of wirelessly enabled PCs and peripherals is growing. According to market research firm In-Stat/MDR, in 2003 there were about 47 million wireless chipsets sold; that number is expected to reach 390 million by 2008. In-Stat/MDR is forecasting that by the end of this year, more than 79% of new laptops purchased will come with some kind of integrated wireless LAN support.
These unwired systems are finding their way into critical business-technology initiatives at a variety of companies. With 25 offices in three states in the Pacific Northwest and a sales staff that has to complete transactions in locations ranging from golf courses to farms and recreational parks, United Pipe & Supply Co. knew wireless connectivity was the best way to improve information flow throughout the company.
As United Pipe executives traveled to the company's various facilities, they often had trouble finding available wired connections to its private network, CIO Mike Green says.
United Pipe's wireless notebooks let traveling executives use public Wi-Fi networks, CIO Green says.
Photo by Sacha Lecca
"Due to the various ages of the building[s], they didn't know what the status of the wiring would be as they traveled," Green says. "You could imagine the expense that would be involved in trying to get the infrastructure up to par, just beginning with bringing in a wiring contractor to various buildings."
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