The number of small-medium businesses in the world is expected to reach 330 million in 2014. Outside North America these smaller enterprises (98% of which employ fewer than 100 people) account for more than 90% of all businesses. Many of these firms are candidates for Wi-Fi networking; but according to a recent study from ABI Research, vendors addressing these markets must take regional conditions and tastes into account.
“When it comes to opportunities in wireless LAN equipment markets, these international SMBs represent the greenest of remaining green fields,” commented Stan Schatt, VP of ABI Research. “The winning vendors will be those that develop equipment that meets the particular needs of those companies, at acceptable price points. Small businesses demand products that are designed specifically for them. You can't just repackage enterprise products.”
In Europe, the best SMB opportunities for WLAN equipment vendors are services companies with 20-99 employees. Eastern Europe is particularly attractive: Russia and Poland have very high PC penetration but their wired infrastructure is not as developed as in Western Europe.
The most intriguing SMB WLAN equipment opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region is India. In particular, there is a predominance of very small manufacturing companies that are green field targets for WLANs as their only network, since Ethernet cabling is not widespread.
In Latin America, where ABI Research believes the Wi-Fi penetration rate is still only around 25% in mid-sized businesses, the opportunity is found not just in the services sector, but in industrial settings as well.