Most see wireless technology and the US market as an unlikely match. This is often a fair view – but recent trends show that there is room for expansion in the enterprise space. Some vertical industries, in particular insurance, are among the early-adopters; big vendors are already preparing themselves for the take-off of enterprise wireless technology.
US companies, particularly insurers, are increasingly adopting enterprise wireless solutions.
The US is still regarded as the ugly duckling of wireless. Bluetooth and even SMS are still considered novelties; fragmented networks, antiquated handsets and poor reliability continue plaguing the sector. However, there are signs that despite this lag, the US will be where B2E wireless finally grows up. It leads the way in 802.1, the enterprise wireless technology.
Financial services institutions, the big technology spenders, have made severe budget cuts – making it hard for vendors to justify wireless spending even when there is a demonstrable ROI case. However, one exception is the US insurance sector.
So why are insurance companies, not traditionally the most innovative enterprises, equipping their work forces with cutting edge data-capable wireless devices? There are significant productivity gains to be made from speeding up paper-based processes – and wireless is the best enabling technology in insurance agents and claims adjustors’ highly mobile work environment.
If claims can be efficiently routed to the appropriate adjuster and processed on-site, the claims cycle can close up to 25% faster than previously. Since overhead functions consume over 40% of time spent in the claims handling process, automating them can free up more for those segments that really impact speed and accuracy, such as investigation, evaluation and recovery.
As a result, US insurers Progressive, State Farm, Travelers, Country Insurance and ACC/Windsor have all wireless-enabled parts of their work forces – and more are certain to follow. Many people believe insurers deliberately drag out claims to delay payment, but this is a misconception. Indeed, part of the driver of the shift to wireless is to avoid the litigation that can occur when claims take a long time to settle.
Gaining critical mass is easier in US enterprise segments than the smaller-scale ones in Europe. Small niche vendors currently dominate the US market, but the big name integrators are quietly positioning themselves ready for the wireless take off. When pilots turn into 1000+ implementations, they will take the lion’s share.
Related research: Datamonitor, Mobile Enterprise Solutions, a vertical challenge (DMTC0766)
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