People use technology to gain immediate access to information. The evolution from the telegraph, telephone, radio, and television gave way to the Internet and now mobile computing. As a result, people and organizations can easily share ideas and information, complete tasks, and be more effective. Given the emergence of the mobile cloud, I’ve put together 10 essential things that anyone interested in this space should consider.

#1 - Mobile is poised to surpass PC for primary data access

  Mobile devices accounted for almost 55 percent of Internet usage in the United States in January 2014. Apps made up 47 percent of Internet traffic, and 8 percent of traffic came from mobile browsers, according to data from comScore.  More and more enterprises are moving towards mobile computing options that offer cost benefits and the ability to leverage voice over IP technologies.

#2 - Smartphones are driving the movement of business applications to the mobile cloud

  The rise of the smartphone is a major factor in the increased popularity of mobile technology. As phones add functionality that previously existed only in computers, the benefits of computing on-the-go are enabled. Once the smartphone invaded the enterprise, users clamored for additional features, more power, and the ability to do work on their mobile device that was previously only done on their computers. The smartphone then began appearing in consumers’ hands, and the mobile revolution had begun.

#3 - Generation Y is leading the shift to mobile

  Generation Y, those of us born between 1983 and 1997, is the biggest generation since the baby boomers. Gen Y'ers are referred to as “digital natives” because they grew up around computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. According to Forrester, nearly all Gen Y consumers owned a mobile phone of some kind and 72% owned smartphones, adding to the mobile data deluge. As a result, we are seeing some big changes as this group enters the workforce.

#4 - Robust competition between providers is driving innovation

  Healthy competition in any market drives innovation. Major providers have introduced features in the last few years that have revolutionized the mobile experience. A feature-rich device has become the norm. Some of these features include augmented reality, mobile projection capability, access to a PC from a smartphone, server administration from a phone, and location-based services.

#5 - The center of power is moving away from the Telcos

 

You would think that the mobile market would make telecommunication companies even more powerful, but it essentially marks drastic changes to the model. For example, vendors are now offering vendor agnostic devices that can connect to any network. The number of Wi-Fi connected devices continues to exponentially increase along with the amount of mobile data being transacted on a daily basis. Carriers are under continual threat of commoditization. They need and want a marketplace where transactions occur and they already have a billing relationship with the subscriber. The mobile cloud will introduce shorter, less meaningful relationships between the user and the carrier.

#6 - Where you are is just as important as who you are

  Users want local search and local community information. These features are now commonplace in the mobile ecosystem. Navigation functionalities are capable of giving turn-by-turn directions and valuable location information. Enterprises can use location-based technologies and services to track vehicles or assets. Augmented reality (AR) applications can deliver location-based statistical data about the objects, streets, and buildings in the proximity of a user. AR presents a lot more opportunities for the developers and designers, who were constrained by traditional technological barriers, to innovate new user interface frameworks.

#7 - Technology professionals need to design and architect with mobile in mind

  The mobile web is becoming ubiquitous. In 2014, more than 4.55 billion people will carry devices capable of rich, mobile communication that provides an environment for the convergence of mobility and the web. It is essential that your design can reach these users. HTML5 and other technologies will set the stage for a common design that works across devices. The mobile web will be a leading technology factor in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications and should be part of every organization’s technology portfolio.

#8 - Application adoption will be largely based on user experience

  Mobile users have very high expectations for mobile web performance. Mobile web users do not have much patience for retrying a website that is slow or non-functioning. The same holds true for enterprise applications. If users do not have a positive mobile experience, they will abandon the application and resort to alternative channels, starving the opportunity for increased revenue or marketing.

#9 - The mobile cloud will introduce new business opportunities

  Mobile payment services enable people to send money to others from their mobile devices. It lowers costs and is more convenient than traditional transfer services, particularly in developing markets. Organizations are finding new ways to extend their reach and lower costs by using cloud-based services delivered on intelligent devices.

#10 - First mover opportunities exist
The real money in mobile is yet to be made. Think about when the PC first became popular and the subsequent tidal wave of applications, services, and completely new business models that followed.

The mobile cloud platform offers new opportunities for both consumer and enterprise users alike to connect to and provide information in a fashion that they’ve never experienced before. 

 

Maurice Becan is a Principal Enterprise Strategist at Microsoft. Maurice helps customers drive innovative strategies and technologies from design and proof-of-concept to production. He has more than 15 years of experience providing thought leadership on emerging technologies, business trends, and process paradigms that impact the long-term strategies of the enterprise. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife Anita and can be reached at maurice.becan@microsoft.com or @mauricebecan on Twitter.