If a survey will be conducted on the most glorified technology trends of the year, there are only two answers most people will say; it’s either cloud computing or smartphones and tablets. It’s everywhere on wall discussions of most IT forums and communities. While some vendors are busy slapping these products, the trend is still up for these two giants. And millions of dollars on investment continue to flood into cloud computing and mobile applications. Major companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and IBM are only a few of the major investors who are willing to empty their pockets for it.
What is so interesting is the intersection happening between cloud computing and mobile computing, giving rise to the new trend in the “Mobile Cloud”. Although mobile cloud and the Cloud may seem to be interchanged and viewed as one and the same, they are actually different with regard to security, platform infrastructure, design and many others. Other differences will be noticeable as the new “mobile cloud” continues to evolve.
Mobile cloud in its infancy has very strong major trends to look out for:
1. Acceleration in the “Consumerization” of IT through Mobile Computing
The increase in demand from workers to access non-PC devices and be able to work everywhere on smartphones and tablet PC’s speeds up the consumerization of mobile computing.
David Link, CEO and co-founder of ScienceLogic says about IT operations and cloud solutions, “IT can’t think about things on a node-by-node basis anymore. They must think of resources as aggregate services that they must make securely available to a number of devices, including phones and tablets.”
As social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin continues to be popular and convenient for users, they have now become a place to do business and work using mobile gadgets. The tremendous increase in demand for smartphones and tablets has a parallel demand for IT solutions to speed up applications development for mobile computing while ensuring security is in place.
2. Risk Challenges are Evolving
The issue of security vulnerability in mobile computing increases the risk more than double and has caught the attention of hackers to invade smartphones and tablets. This has been examined and authentication verification was strengthened. Certain security protocols have also been established like limitations to access and data modification from end-users. However, this may only work for awhile because IT people will either find a way to work around these restrictions that are often a less secure platform.
Custie Crampton, VP of Mobile Device Management Technology at Tangoe, said, “There is risk with everything. The risks are double edged, you run the risk of having your system hacked or you also run the risk of losing key and talented people for not putting up with the technology demands.” Crampton believes that there is no way, but to move forward with mobile computing, “If you create different categories of data, you can then define what each level means and how to control it,” he said.
3. Mobile Computing will Revolutionize How Work is Done
When mobile computing entered the cloud, one of the first applications that got the highest demand was email access; whether it was for personal or business use. That is why Microsoft, Google and Salesforce.com laid out immediately their cloud – based email platforms.
A recent Frost & Sullivan report summarized in this statement the company demand for email to be on the cloud:
“After years of uncertainty, the North American hosted enterprise email markets have finally taken off. As businesses perceive email as mission-critical, they were skeptical about email applications residing outside the enterprise in a third-party data center in the past. However, the entry of large cloud-based providers and on-premise email vendors has lent credibility to the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model. In addition, technology maturity and cost advantages have helped spur the growth of hosted email services among enterprise users.”
Mobile cloud computing will change and speed up how work is done especially for those in sales and marketing. This trend is a welcome paradigm shift for mobile users, but will put a tremendous pressure with IT solutions providers.
4. Mobile Computing will Become the “Internet of Things”
Joy Weiss, President and CEO of Dust Networks says about Internet getting everywhere, “If you can put a sensor and a network anywhere, then think of all of the places you might want to monitor and all of the data you’d like to collect. Today, with sensors running on batteries or harvested energy, you already have the ability to get information from anywhere or connect to anything – anywhere.”
This is where mobile computing will cross the threshold; while everyone else are busy managing and building the cloud platform and infrastructure, network servicing companies are getting their devices ready to mix everything together, making it the “Internet of Things.”
Projections made by IBM, Cisco and Ericsson that there will be 1 trillion Internets connected to mobile phones by 2015 was moved up by IBM to 2013. Network companies and mobile computing will be the cornerstone for end users and service providers such as: sensor networks, smart grids and smart buildings.
5. Mobile Computing is Here to Stay Whether People or IT are Prepared or Not
David Link of ScienceLogic who tagged mobile computing as the “Internet of Things” and “Device-aggedon,” referred to this even in the early adoption of cloud computing. In fact, many people are unaware that smart grid and smart parking meters they now use are all cloud-based applications.
Even business owners who are firm about their stand not to move their core applications to the cloud, are also unaware that while they are using Salesforce.com, OpenAir and other SaaS applications, they are already in the cloud.