More and more workers in the next few years will be shortening their morning commute as they make the move from an office building to their home office.  According to a new report by global market intelligence and advisory service firm International Data Corp., the mobile work force will surpass 1.3 billion people by 2015 – representing 37.2 percent of the world's overall work force.

Stacy Crook, senior research analyst for IDC's Mobile Enterprise Research program, said the worldwide mobile worker population was just over 1 billion in 2010.

"Despite recent market turmoil, mobility continues to be a critical part of the global work force, and we expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers," Crook said.

 The biggest growth is expected to occur in Asia, driven by India and China. According to the IDC report:

·        Asia had 601.7 million mobile workers in 2010, but that number is expected to reach 838.7 million in 2015. Those figures do not include Japan, which the report measured separately. 

·        Japan is expected to hit 38.6 million mobile workers in 2015, or 64.8 percent of the country's overall work force. 

·        The Americas are expected to see a growth from 182.5 million mobile workers in 2010 to 212.1 million in 2015.

·        Europe, the Middle East and Africa will see a growth from 186.2 million mobile workers in 2010 to 244.6 million in 2015.

The main reasons behind this expected growth come from the increased popularity of products such as smartphones and apps that allow workers to be productive from anywherewith an Internet connection.

The growing popularity of tablets in coming years will be another factor. According to a new report by the NDP Group, a global provider of consumer and retail market research, tablet sales are expected to grow in businesses of all sizes within the next year. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of surveyed businesses said they plan on purchasing a tablet within the next year, while 90 percent plan on maintaining or increasing current spending on tablets in the next year. The average investment for these companies will be $21,000, ranging from less than $2,000 in small businesses to more than $38,000 in companies with 500-plus employees.

According to the NDP report:

·        54 percent of small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) plan on purchasing a tablet within the next year. 

·        70 percent of businesses with 50 to 200 employees plan on purchasing a tablet within the next year. 

·        81 percent of businesses with 201 to 500 employees plan on purchasing a tablet within the next year. 

·        89 percent of businesses with 501 to 999 employees plan on purchasing a tablet within the next year. 

"Businesses of all sizes appear to be determined to capitalize on the tablet phenomenon," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "The iPad, just as it is in the consumer market, is synonymous for 'tablet' in the business market, leaving Apple poised to take advantage of the increased spending intentions of these SMBs. NPD’s research shows that iPad purchase preference is higher among larger firms than smaller ones, which is an important indicator that Apple is gaining traction far outside its typical consumer space."