Moving Through the Mobile Cloud

Carl Weinschenk

There are some concepts that just make so much sense that they seem likely to succeed even before too much verifying data is collected. The marriage of cloud computing and mobility is one such idea.


This Datamation post, which was written in reaction to an ABI Research report released in early September, suggests that mobility and the cloud are a perfect match. The idea is gradually finding acceptance already. Writer Jeff Vance says that much of what consumers already access on their portable devices, such as application stores and iTunes, is in essence being delivered from the cloud. The experts say that the trend will grow from this trickle to a flood.


The ABI study referred to in the Datamation piece indeed predicts great things for the mobile/cloud partnership. The firm says that last year, about 42.8 million subscribers used these services. That number will rise to more than 998 million in 2014. The percentage rise between the two dates will be almost 18 percent of all mobile users (1.1 percent to 19 percent). The report's author is quoted in the release as saying that location services will enable 60 percent of subscribers who use cloud services.


The driver of the cloud for mobility overlaps but differs to some extent from its use in a desktop scenario. In a stationary environment, the great attractiveness of the cloud is that it centralizes applications and equipment and reduces the complexity of what must be deployed at each location.


These benefits still exist in a mobile environment. The emphasis is a bit different, however. In a mobile environment, the processing and storage capabilities of even the most advanced devices are far less than what is found in the home and, certainly, in the office. Thus, the ability to do most of the computing and storage heavy lifting off the device is even more important.


The thrust is that the cloud can aid in confronting the amazing challenges that mobility poses to IT. Different departments, or even people at different levels in the same department, tend not to use the same device. Using an array of devices is troublesome to IT. Conversely, if the organization standardizes, some of the benefits offered by the devices not chosen are lost. The best idea is to find a way to use a variety of devices without the managerial chaos that this can mean. It seems likely that a cloud component can go a long way toward addressing the notoriously chaotic world of mobile device management and security.


The use of the cloud for mobile purposes is about to get hotter, according to this Chicago Tribune story posted at The writer notes that some mobile cloud computing has emerged organically through things such as Facebook and Google Docs. The effort is becoming far more directed. For instance, Best Buy has just announced a cloud based service called mIQ. Motorola will use the cloud as a key element of efforts to rally its mobile phone business. Clearwire, perhaps the most aggressive company early in the rollout of powerful 4G technology, thinks that cloud computing will be a key architecture going forward.


The mobile landscape will be unpredictable for the foreseeable future. The cloud will be a valuable tool, both in managing devices and allowing subscribers to access information more easily from a greater variety of places.

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