Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mobile weds Cloud - The perfect marriage?

Everyone in technology world is talking about Cloud & it’s perfect marriage with Mobile. Cloud computing has grown from a pie-in-the-sky vision to a major IT movement and is surely having an enormous impact across industries, changing the way we access and store data. But it holds special promise for smart phones & tablets, which serve as the gateway to our most important content.

The wants of Consumers, Enterprises, and Application Enablers!!
Today consumers & enterprises are looking for information to be available anytime, anywhere and without any restrictions on the devices being used. In such a scenario it was not the “Need being the mother of invention” but “Need being the motivation behind the marriage between Mobile & Cloud”.

From consumer’s perspective, they would like the ability to store and access unlimited media irrespective of the device limitations. Enterprises want to enable wide range of IT functions to enhance employee productivity and to keep them connected across regions thereby enabling seamless sharing of information, delivering services & effective collaboration. With regards to service providers & application enablers, they would want to build apps which are platform agnostic and which can be supported on multiple devices.

Lot of enterprises are moving on to hosted solutions over “The Cloud” and are deriving significant cost advantages. A typical example of such offering is “Enterprise mobile cloud device management tool”. The solutions assists the IT teams at large enterprises in remotely managing the mobile devices by setting policies, performing security verifications, creating enterprise level sandboxes as well in securing virtual areas within the device to segregate personal and enterprise data.

This reflects “Mobility + Cloud” is changing the way mobile applications are developed, acquired and used within the enterprise, or utilized by the consumers for accessing enterprise & personal information. Research from Gartner & IDC further support this fact wherein Gartner estimated “Cloud Software as a Service” to be a $9.2 billion market in 2010, set to reach $10.7 billion in 2011. Another analyst firm, IDC, predicted a $72.9 billion cloud services market by 2015, with SaaS offerings composing roughly 75 percent of that amount.

Are the Current Trends Interesting?
Cloud services utilized by enterprises make mobile devices such as Smartphone & tablets more productive with reduced cost, enabling enterprise employees to access data centre resources that previously were only accessible via desktops, laptops and notebooks. Mobile devices with their ubiquitous, non-stop wireless access make cloud-delivered applications, data, and services more relevant and more instantly available anywhere.

App stores have seen a terrific surge in sheer number of the applications available for. Thereby some of the recent app stores such as HiSpace have moved on to the Cloud which makes it easier to seamlessly maintain, access and synchronize the applications across the range of devices owned by the typical user or household: TVs, PCs, phones, tablets, gaming devices, etc. The developer community is also challenged with developing and constantly updating for multiple OSs, and numerous flavours of phones and tablets. The Cloud enables some consolidation of this work stream.
Leapdrive” is a typical example of the way Cloud Providers are enabling content from the Cloud across various channels. The appication allows the users to remotely access, view, manage and share all their digital content as soon as it is uploaded to user’s cloud storage. All the multimedia – music, photos and videos – are available to the user while they are on the go. The solution supports streaming music and videos, access to photographs, files directly from the cloud space to the mobile device turning your mobile into a bottomless phone with access to “gigabytes” of space!!

Are we missing the iCloud?
Looking at the future, cloud will work its way even deeper into the consumer sphere beginning next year. The launch of iClould by Apple with iOS5 or better known as the iOS 4S , is essentially an admittance to the fact that iTunes/local storage/sync model is not acceptable in todays multiple device/content everywhere/web services world. After Apple’s iCloud, few other manufacturers are also warming up to the cloud storage and services. HTC was the first to kick of the cloud debate and Huawei is taking it a step further. Huawei provides cloud solution with a free storage of 10 GB in its new devices such as Huawei Vision & Mediapad.

Though application developers & service providers are considering the cloud as a much more compelling place to host one's applications with each passing day, Enterprises are evaluating Cloud with regards to few key challenges such as security & lock-in.
A number of open-source projects and products are now attempting to resolve the lock-in problem, but there's still a long way to go. Security, too, is the focus of much talk and a fair amount of activity from industry organizations, but it looks as if it might take a damaging breach to kick-start an industry-wide approach to resolving some core issues.

What lies in the future?
Consumerization of Cloud Services isn’t something that’s coming. It’s something that’s here.
As the mobility experts we foresee that very soon the browser will become “An Appstore” in itself and most of the consumer as well as enterprise applications will directly operate through the cloud. The advancements in network speeds and low cost Cloud Storage options will drive the integration of cloud and mobile applications thereby evolving cloud computing as the key. We’ll have people accessing social media and corporate apps from smart phones and tablets.

The Mobile Cloud will pave the way for the “Internet of Things.”!!

Our “10 Cents” on the prediction for the future of cloud & mobile’s marriage, is that they are going to live through this time of evolution and make it a “perfect” story. 

Endeavour is a specialist Mobility Company, providing strategic consulting and product development for Mobile enabling businesses in the Manufacturing, Media, Print, Healthcare, Consumer solutions, Telecom and Business Intelligence verticals. Endeavour has a strong mobile application development team on all mobile platforms in the market today, including, RIM, Apple, Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile, Palm Pre, micro Linux, Brew. Endeavour is based out of Austin, Texas, Bangalore India and London, UK. 

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