You’re probably familiar with the concept of cloud computing (unless you’ve been living under a rock :)). But have you heard about mobile cloud computing? The mobile cloud sector is expected to reach a smashing $118.7 billion by 2026.
What is mobile cloud, and how can you use it to benefit your business? How does it differ from the cloud as we know it?
Keep on reading this article to find out everything you need to know about mobile computing.
Table of contents:
- What is mobile cloud computing in general?
- Mobile cloud – why should you use it?
- Mobile cloud computing solutions – an overview
- Mobile cloud computing – final thoughts
What is mobile cloud computing in general?
Understanding the concept of the mobile cloud is essential for grasping its value.
The mobile cloud is a cloud-based data, services, and application that are designed specifically for mobile devices.
It brings together mobile development technologies with cloud-based services. As a result, software development teams can easily deliver cloud services and applications to mobile users.
It’s safe to say that the mobile cloud app is the next step in mobile and cloud computing technology advancements. When used like this on devices, the cloud is a real game-changer.
Cloud computing vs. mobile cloud – what’s the difference?
At first glance, mobile cloud computing seems to be just regular cloud computing only delivered on devices. The two technologies share some common traits, but once you take a closer look, you’ll discover some important differences between them.
In cloud computing, services are delivered over the Internet. That’s why the cloud offers such scalable and cost-effective services, removing the hassle of setting up in-house software, analytics, data storage, and databases. Offerings like Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service are all incredibly valuable to organizations looking to accelerate their digital transformations.
Mobile cloud also takes advantage of the cloud – but takes it to the next level by bringing it to the mobile scene. In the mobile cloud, users can access data regardless of their location, as long as they have access to a mobile network.
Mobile cloud computing offers incredibly rich computational resources to mobile users and mobile network operators. They can carry out data-intensive processes that require incredible computing power mobile devices simply don’t have.
As a result, the mobile cloud gives users access to applications they otherwise didn’t have because of device limitations such as storage or processing power.
Many organizations are now integrating their business applications and processes with mobile systems to enable their employees to carry out duties on the go and work from anywhere, saving time and money.
Mobile cloud – why should you use it?
There are at least 4 solid reasons for considering the mobile cloud:
1. Speed and flexibility
Mobile cloud computing technologies help software companies to create and share mobile app resources with end-users. This, in turn, allows developers to build and update applications much faster, addressing the rapidly changing requirements of users.
2. Shared resources
Mobile apps running on the cloud aren’t constrained by any processing or storage limitations of the mobile device. That’s why even a data-intensive process can now run on the mobile device because it's based in the cloud. Any mobile device that can access the network can use mobile cloud applications regardless of its operating system, so cloud computing opens the doors for both Android and iOS users.
3. Data integration
Mobile cloud computing takes advantage of integrated data to help users collect and integrate data from many sources quickly and securely.
4. Better digital products
Applications built with mobile cloud architectures have better processing power and data storage capacity. They generally run more efficiently and extend the battery life. Moreover, they’re developed with modern technologies that are more user-friendly and easier to integrate.
Like other cloud-based applications, mobile apps built for and in the cloud are more scalable and reliable. They’re easier to keep updated and require fewer resources from user devices, benefiting from cloud computing providers' incredible level of data security measures.
Key challenges to expect in mobile cloud
The benefits of the mobile cloud are undeniable. But does this technology also pose some challenges to development teams? Of course, it does!
Here are the most important challenges to keep in mind before investing in the mobile cloud:
1. Connectivity and performance issues
Mobile apps are hosted on remote servers that need to be accessed across public networks. And network connectivity could become a problem in certain locations. As a result, the application may deliver a slow response and reduce its speed.
Increased mobile data traffic could be another problem straining the communication between mobile and cloud endpoints.
2. Battery life
Mobile devices are equipped with batteries that are quite easy to drain. And high network usage has a huge impact on battery life. Sure, it’s the cloud that handles the major processing effort, but the device still needs a solid battery to access applications and perform other tasks.
3. Device platform compatibility
Each mobile platform comes with its own network connection requirements, and given the variety of mobile platforms the cloud infrastructure needs to support, the integration support could turn out costly to build. Supporting multiple platforms is important because this is what customers expect on the market today.
Since mobile apps often transmit sensitive information through the network, user data needs to be protected really well. Storing data remotely also raises the question of data ownership. When an audio file is stored in a data center rather than locally on the device, who is the real owner of this data?
Data privacy is an important issue as well.
Consider this example:
An application that finds nearby restaurants is a very useful digital product. But will the company running that application sell information about user searches to other businesses?
That’s why it’s essential that mobile cloud applications are fully secured to provide excellent performance.
Mobile cloud computing solutions – an overview
Mobile cloud computing uses different methods and techniques to deliver applications, but we can roughly divide them into two types: general-purpose and application-specific mobile cloud solutions.
How do they differ from each other?
Here’s a short overview:
General-purpose mobile cloud solutions
The idea in general-purpose mobile cloud solutions is to outsource the tasks that are generally performed locally on a mobile device to the cloud. As a result, these solutions help to eliminate issues like computational power or data storage constraints, and that’s why they are used for increasing the performance of devices. Examples include speech recognition or video indexing – they both require a computer to process a lot of data.
Application-specific mobile cloud solutions
Many apps on your smartphone use cloud computing. But in the case of app-specific mobile cloud solutions, we talk about specific applications for devices that can’t work without access to the cloud.
Both approaches focus on creating apps that can perform data- and compute-intensive operations. In this case, cloud computing can be used more for just computational power. Many chats or email clients use this type of solution.
Bonus: Mobile cloud apps in real-life examples
Here are a few products we all use today to take advantage of mobile cloud computing.
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all examples of mobile social networking platforms based on real-time data sharing. When users share a story, it’s displayed instantly on Instagram. Cloud computing is essential for that to work smoothly.
- Email apps – Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook are mobile email apps that most of the time store the actual emails in the cloud. So, every time you check your email on your smartphone, you’re, in fact, accessing cloud-based resources.
- Mobile commerce – If you’re using a banking app or e-commerce application on your smartphone, you’re also using the mobile cloud. Thanks to scalable processing power, these applications can deliver a fantastic experience.
- Healthcare apps – Mobile healthcare opens the door to many innovations, and many of them are based on data processing or storage. All of this data needs to be accessible from a mobile device, and this is where the mobile cloud comes in. For example, doctors can use an app on a tablet to access patient records on the go easily.
Mobile cloud – final thoughts
Cloud-based mobile apps are their way to becoming one of the most powerful tools in organizations. Mobile devices gain in value when enabled with mobile cloud technology. The technology accelerates processes, streamlines operations, and helps employees access data on the go.
Have you already experimented with the mobile cloud? Are you planning to implement it in your next project? If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with us. We have all the expertise on board to take you through your mobile cloud journey step-by-step.