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Hotspot Use To Triple This Year, Report Claims

Because wireless hotspots can significantly increase the productivity of traveling workers, the number of hotspot users will triple in 2004 compared to 2003, research firm Gartner, Inc. predicted in a report released Wednesday.
However, the report also warned IT managers that they must closely manage hotspot security and be careful as they enter into contracts with hotspot providers.

"Beware of entering into subscription contracts with service providers that cannot supply roaming agreements to meet the enterprise's needs," Ian Keene, a Gartner vice president said in a statement. "Organizations should avoid long-term contracts because this service sector is changing. Companies should also put in place a mechanism to monitor hotspot usage so that the company will know what to contract for when the market matures further."

In addition, enterprises should deploy personal firewalls on all devices that access hotspots and require use of a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure security.

The report claimed that traveling knowledge workers can gain 30 minutes of productive time a day using hotspots. However, unless enterprises enter into contracts for access and monitor usage, expenses could get out of hand as individuals acquire hotspot access on their own and then expense that access.

"Enterprises must begin tracking hot spot expenses immediately," Phil Redman, another research vice president at Gartner said in a statement. "Mobile network operators must cultivate business models that are aimed at how mobile professionals buy and use wireless services."