Mobile Market in Government Picks Up Steam


As more departments move to a mobile driven device platform, the mobility market is heating up. BYOD and other initiatives are also pushing growth in areas like tablets and smartphones. Security and functionality in the field will be critical issues for any device management plan, according to a new forecast from IDC.

Growth of wireless devices, services and applications is reaching a critical mass in government. According to IDC Government Insights, 2013 to 2015 should be the highest growth years overall for this market segment. Tablet computers will see double-digit growth through 2016, as will wireless data services, while pure airless voice traffic is expected to slow. This growth is driven by both employee and citizen demand. While government offices are helping to accelerate the mobile migration (via things like the federal government’s “Digital Government Strategy” document, which sets specific goals and timetables), the end users are truly stoking the expansion.

According to the report, Smartphones, tablets and eReaders make up just 5% of the government IT market. This gives them substantial growth potential. Tablets in particular will grow at double-digit rates for the next three years. CivSource has reported on the growth of tablet and mobile applications for public sector work done in the field like site inspections or case management. This will also be a key growth area for civic startups looking to disrupt.

Government smartphone growth is expected to peak in 2016, and will see slight negative growth beyond that. This trend slightly lags the consumer market which is already starting to see growth slowdown. To expand their role in the mobile marketplace, many vendors are looking to expertise, consultation, and best practices to help government agencies understand the best way to deploy mobile solutions, including the operation of app stores and access control.

“Over the past few years, mobile hardware and associated mobile solutions have been some of the fastest growing areas within government computing. However, mobile growth is starting to level out,” continued McCarthy. “The one bright spot by 2017 will be state governments, where we expect to see growth of near 8% for eReaders in 2017, thanks to revived tax bases, planned equipment replacement cycles and more workers who conduct their job functions out of the office.”