Cloud and Mobile - All change!

Clouds and Sun rays by Prashanth dotcompals

Who would like to be in a market whose device base is larger than the currently installed base of PCs and is set to grow by 4.5 times in the next 3 years?

I attended the Mobile Cloud Computing Forum last week thanks to Chinwag (apologies for the delay in posting this - Ed), and these predictions, based on a
Gartner paper made me sit up and listen.

There are currently close to 5 billion mobile phones in the world, this is going to rise to 6 billion in 2013. In 2013 there will be 1.82 billion smartphones on the planet, up from 400 million today, and surpassing the 1.78 billion PCs predicted for then.

Advertising globally is worth some $368 billion with $1 billion being spent on mobile. This is set to rise to $30 billion in 2013. Machine to machine communication has a potential for up to 60 billion devices. This market is yet to take off but does have some interesting applications within vending, gaming and smart monitoring, so one to watch for the future.

The rise of portable devices has given the cloud a new purpose. If we want to be able to view content on our mobile, desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet in the office, at home, at work and in a remote office it makes sense to put the data into a secure cloud environment along with some of the tools to work with it.

The economics of cloud based computing are already well known. The cloud offers the base IT infrastructure needed by most consumers and businesses to reside in secure, scalable, backed up environments that are managed by engineers who only focus on keeping the infrastructure running. The cost associated with managing
the centres is significantly lower than running your own servers and the model is a pay as you use per person, thus removing capital expenditure need from many businesses.

Currently up to 80% of the IT budget is spent on infrastructure, money that would be better spent delivery flexible, collaborative environments for business and their
partners to share and work smarter.

Connection and security were a recurring theme. If you lose connection, can you still function? If you keep local copies of data, are they secure? How much data should be allowed on each machine? Can you remotely wipe data from lost devices? How is the data stored on the device? Is it encrypted?

My take was that a local copy is important to allow you to work where you have lost connection, developing countries were mentioned here, but in London we can’t get a signal on the tube or in many offices and houses, so it is as relevant in the “developed” world as the third world. It is also important to have apps that allow you to work on the device, it may be a limited client, but it should allow basic editing and saving.

The final need is to be able to remove sensitive data from devices, both corporate and personal, when they get stolen or the employee leaves the company.

Mobile carriers are upping their game by opening up their systems through secure APIs that will offer developers the chance to use the carrier’s information and systems within their applications. This offers a huge opportunity within the location based space. Develop once, run on many was another recurring theme, with HTML5 placed as the way forward for this type of work. It offers geo-location services, canvas graphics capabilities for games, and data caching up to 5mb per page.

These three items offer a potential for some very clever, fast, multi-platform applications that will start to change the way we use information on and offline.
In summary, there is an inflection point happening caused by advancing technology, external financial pressure and consumer uptake of new devices that will save companies and individuals money whilst increasing their access to information and entertainment which in turn boosts their personal and professional productivity. In order to deliver on this promise, companies need to develop and aggregate these services to allow business people to get on with their business.

The Mobile World Computing Forum 2011 takes place this June in London - Ed.

Photo (cc) Prashanth dotcompals.