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A new survey of mobile cloud computing does a good job in defining
mobile cloud computing and how it is going to impact cloud computing in general.
mobile cloud computing is defined as cloud computing extended by mobility and a new ad-hoc infrastructure based on mobile
In essence, mobile users are provided with data storage and processing services on a cloud
computing platform rather than on the mobile devices themselves.
A branch of cloud computing
According to the survey, mobile
cloud computing is emerging as one of the most important branches of cloud computing, and is still in its infancy.
it‘s highly relevant to clarify the confusion that has arisen around mobile cloud computing.
From a simple perspective, mobile cloud computing can be thought of as infrastructure where
data and processing could happen outside of the mobile device, enabling new types of applications such as context-aware mobile
As a result, many mobile cloud applications are not restricted to powerful smartphones,
but to a broad range of less advanced mobile phones and, therefore, to a much larger subscriber segment.
smartphone perspective in particular, mobile cloud computing opens up possibilities for a new class of applications by leveraging
handset centric features and network related information, such as GPS and/or cell-based location information, etc.
characteristics of mobile cloud computing
The survey recognizes the potential opportunities from utilizing available mobile handset
features and “to harness collective sensing, storage, and computational capabilities of multiple networked wireless
devices to create a distributed infrastructure that supports a wealth of new applications.”
Furthermore, mobile cloud computing
extends cloud computing by providing enhanced service availability and by exploiting information about a user’s location,
context and network intelligence, thereby considerably improving user experience.
Leveraging the mobile device storage, sensing and processing resources for optimizing cloud-based
application also adds to better user experience.
Measures to address bandwidth limitations
The obstacles facing mobile cloud computing include limitation of wireless bandwidth capacity
and fluctuations in network service delivery. Mobile technology assumes a shared bandwidth capacity, so that users within
any particular mobile cell share the available bandwidth while accessing the data network, e.g. the Internet.
To overcome this intrinsic limitation, and to address the increasing bandwidth demand, wireless
networks are continuously being upgraded – with the IP-based 4G wireless broadband network technology as the ultimate
long term goal.
However, other means are also being developed and implemented. One interesting alternative
involves instantiating resource-intensive applications on distributed cloudlets, or cloud servers, and then using that service
over a wireless LAN.
Also, HTML5 data caching capabilities enable applications to work offline, bringing mobile
Web applications closer to parity with native applications. By offering offline data caching, cloud-based applications can
operate much the same as their device-based counterparts, i.e. if the Internet connection goes down, the application keeps
HMTL5 also presents a host of other features that can be deployed in mobile applications
making them platform independent.
In summary, mobile cloud computing has emerged as a new paradigm and extension of cloud
computing and will undoubtedly grow very quickly in the coming months and years.
It is not easy to be a cloud service
provider (CSP) today.
Emerging web services and nimble competitors are exerting strong price pressures. Their
extra stress on network infrastructures is combined to give CSPs growing competitive pressure to maintain average revenue
per user (ARPU), increase margins and create new sources of revenue. ARPU is trending down as existing markets become saturated
with basic services.
that have focused primarily on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) aspects of Cloud Services are now beginning to look for
better ways to make use of their existing network infrastructure and data centers.
CSPs are refocusing from infrastructure aspects to Software as
a Service (SaaS) utility model where all of the applications and associated technology are also in the "cloud".
But today, SaaS providers are not their traditional competitors. The value-added services are sold over the top, with possible
revenue share for the CSPs. As penetration increases, there is further price pressure on ARPU from limited set of services.
CSPs can combat that by further differentiating, creating attractive bundles, and adding innovative services.
On the positive side, CSPs increasingly play an important
and vital role in the Internet-on-the-go that enables a mobile user to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi hotspots, from Internet
Cafes, tethered to a cell phone as a modem, or with built in 3G or now 4G access. This can be leveraged by the CSPs.
What is working for an CSP advantage, is the complexity
of today's fast-paced technology innovation that is driving business users towards cloud adoption. This is partly due to the
proliferation of smart devices and the wireless ubiquity and mobility that are creating a troubling environment in which businesses
need to deal with increasingly sophisticated licensing, data synchronization, content security, device management, rapid evolution
of software, and support issues.
SaaS offers a lower-cost means for businesses to use software as needed rather than license every application for
every device. SaaS yields economies of scale and access to a vast wealth of experience. SaaS providers already manage large
data centers that service all of their customers.
As SaaS providers learn more and more about how to improve their businesses from all their client experiences, those
benefits are passed on to all their customers.
Cloud computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization, service-oriented architecture
and utility computing. But, simply putting these items together, and calling it a cloud, isn't enough.
Mobile cloud challenges include enabling the rapid
deployment of new services on multiple devices. Through open platforms and leveraging Web 2.0 technologies, the ability to
attract developers and retain them to build applications for the mobile increases the adoption of mobile SaaS, as shown by
the rapid growth of mobile app stores.
The mobility aspects of the cloud need the ability to work across multiple devices and quickly adapt to new ones.
Last but not least, a proven business model that enables developers and service providers to make money is paramount!
As CSPs adapt to these changes and look for new revenue
streams, they may find that the Small Medium Business (SMB) opportunity is one way to fill that bill. The SMB market has been
traditionally under-served in a unified way. This is mainly due to a fragmentation of the SMB markets both geographically
Even with segmentation issues, the SMB market presents
significant opportunities. SMBs (approximately 5 to 250 employee companies) require enterprise level reliability and security
along with business level service and support.
But to address this SMB opportunity, CSPs need to additionally be logically partitioned and provisioned with application
delivery platforms that are capable of rapid bundling and deployment of software on any device.
telecom segments of SMB markets primarily include connectivity and communications, which offer SMB users mobile devices with
Voice, Data and Messaging Plans connected via mobile broadband. Other services usually offered include Mobile E-mail, GPS
and Mobile Applications. Billing options with individual billing that includes company discounts.
is simply not enough for today's rapidly moving SMB market! The fastest SMB growth segments are seen in value-added services
around SaaS solutions, which include Custom Enterprise Application Stores with a targeted selection of office applications
for smart devices.
As CSPs move from selling networks and access to IaaS to focusing on SaaS, the challenges
increase dramatically. One difficult challenge is the requirement that the SMB end user is not expected to be a technical
expert; the solutions must be user friendly and intuitive. Another is to include IP-PBX/IP-Centrex, office applications, conferencing
(audio and video), cloud servers, and cloud storage options. CSP billing provides for a single SMB bill but with options to
charge by month, scalable by number of employees, by one location or across multiple locations.
greater opportunities become available to the CSPs. A one-stop SMB solution, including bundled value-added software packages
that are part of a thriving Eco-system can be successfully created.
Enterprise software applications typically
include address books, calendars, communication software, collaboration applications, business productivity tools, messaging,
and web and voice conferencing hosted on cloud servers.
The main challenge here is for CSPs to create an
effective SaaS enabling platform that offers programmatic access to value-added services and facilitates innovation by
third party developers to host and deploy innovative mobile applications through branded stores (also offered by the
The platform could then drive new technologies that enable new markets.
The platform, running as a utility
computing cloud, should be per-SaaS configurable with bundled components such as VoIP (SIP Servlets/Media Gateways), IPBX
(voice messages, call forwarding), Universal Address Books(UAB), Universal Calendars and Digests(UCD), Persistent Content
Storage, Email, and other functionality needed for SMB market solutions.
Mobile Cloud Adoption Challenges in the Enterprise
The Cloud computing bandwagon continues to gain acceptance in the enterprise segment.
Whether it’s SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service),
solutions built on the cloud have proven to be effective across multiple verticals in the enterprise.
Given the rapid explosive growth
of mobile devices led by the Apple iPhone and an army of Android devices, the mobile cloud is widely being projected as the
next big opportunity for the enterprise. Most employees in any enterprise are BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) followers.
While that facilitates the notion
of anytime anywhere cloud access, it poses the following key challenges for the enterprise.
Since enterprises deal with sensitive
data, security is of paramount importance. Most cloud platforms offer robust built-in security measures as well as provide
the option to enable external security via SSL and digital certificates. As for mobile devices, security remains a key concern
for users as well as enterprises alike. If a device gets stolen or misplaced, crucial data may be compromised.
Thankfully, most mobile manufacturers
and wireless carriers offer the option to remotely wipe mobile devices to prevent data misuse for stolen/ misplaced devices.
Enterprises which allow the BYOD policy typically need to deal with interoperability challenges.
It’s reasonable to expect an assorted mix of
mobile devices including iPhone, Android phones, BlackBerry and others being used by employees in an organization. Depending
on the nature of cloud applications being used, interoperability can prove to be a major challenge in pulling/ pushing data
across multiple devices.
Irrespective of whether it’s private, public or hybrid, a cloud-based offering facilitates collaboration among
the key stakeholders in an enterprise. Whether it’s the engineering and sales teams updating a document hosted on the
Cloud (such as Google Docs) or the development and IT teams coordinating deployments, the cloud’s inherent architecture
is tailor made for collaboration. However, when it comes to accessing the cloud via mobile devices, collaboration can be a
example, several mobile platforms lack sophisticated document editing tools. Similarly, there are limited platform specific
options to do multi-party video conferencing with document sharing over the cloud.
Enterprise users typically need to sync their devices
with the cloud to maintain data integrity.
While this is a routine task for small operations, it can be cumbersome for complex workflows
and large datasets.
If a user pulls off a document of the cloud, updates it and fails to sync it back to the cloud, it creates a discrepancy
and other users who retrieve the document from the cloud will get an older version, thereby creating inconsistencies and causing
a data integrity risk for the enterprise as a whole.
It’s challenging to provide multi-platform access to private cloud networks, especially
if it’s dependent on native mobile platform features.
While enterprises can add a security shield to public and hybrid networks using firewalls
and VPNs, providing access across complex private cloud architectures can often be daunting task.
None the less, despite those challenges,
the mobile cloud paradigm is gaining momentum in the enterprise segment.
Q: What is Mobile Cloud Messaging?
A: MCM is a core network solution
and white label mobile app for operators to launch rich messaging services and compete against OTT players.
Q: How does this integrate with
my existing SMS infrastructure?
A: It's easy.. MCM provides a practical and elegant solution to introduce an operator branded
OTT service that can later be integrated with RCS/RCS-e services at the network infrastructure level.
Q: Why haven't operators done this
No one has packaged it quite so nicely. The MCM solution utilizes the mobile operators’ key network assets and customer
relationships by providing a seamless user experience based on a single phone number and inter-working between the MCM-based
service and the global SMS network.
MCM has the ability to add value to operator service bundles, increase data penetration,
target mobile advertisements and up-sell value added services, such as cloud storage and business packages.