When it comes to technology, small businesses continue to ratchet up their use of emerging wireless solutions, including tablet computers, 4G devices, and GPS navigation mobile apps.
The 2012 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll measured the how many small businesses incorporate wireless technology into their day-to-day operations, which types of wireless technology are most prevalent in small business and how important the technology is to the businesses' survival.
Ninety-six percent of the businesses surveyed use wireless technologies in their operations, with about 63 percent indicating that they could not survive — or it would be a major challenge to survive — without wireless technologies.
It is also becoming increasingly common for employees to use wireless technologies to work away from the office. Forty-three percent of small businesses surveyed report all of their employees use wireless technologies to take their work home with them, nearly an 80 percent jump from three years ago.
Despite being a relatively new technology, 67 percent of small businesses surveyed indicate that they use tablet computers, which is 10 percent more than last year. By the end of 2012, about half of small businesses surveyed expect to have all of their employees using wireless technologies to work away from the office.
Smartphones are the most widely used wireless technologies in the small businesses surveyed. Eighty-five percent of small businesses reported using smartphones for their operations, up from 80 percent last year. One third of smartphones used by small businesses for business purposes are 4G.
Half of the businesses reported that touchscreen keypads are the predominant type of keypad in their operations, with 21 percent using the traditional QWERTY keypads and another 21 percent using both types of smartphone keypads.
Mobile applications are also gaining ground in this space. About 30 percent of small businesses surveyed use mobile apps for their business, stating that saving time, increasing productivity and reducing costs are the main incentives.
Of the 12 markets surveyed, Dallas had the highest WiQ, or "Wireless Quotient," and Cleveland had the lowest. The WiQ was calculated based on their perceived importance of wireless, use of wireless technology, use of mobile apps and percentage of employees using wireless to work remotely.