Mobile Cloud Computing

These are exciting times in the wireless industry. The innovation in technology, services, and business models is driving the global industry to new heights. While the global markets were feeling the pain of a brutal recession, the wireless industry for the most part sidestepped the crisis, especially in the North American and Asian markets. Mobile data revenues around the world have been growing at a steady pace. Given the lucrative nature of the market, there are more developers focused on the mobile ecosystem than ever before.

The mobile industry is going through significant transition from being voice-centric to data-centric, from consumers spending 90% of their time talking to being engaged on mobile data services 80% of the time. In Japan, Softbank became the first major operator to have more revenues come from data than voice. Others will follow. In the US, over 35% of the revenues are coming from data services and the data revenues will account for over 50% of the revenues by early 2013.

Mobility is also getting ingrained in the everyday objects, which make up for a fundamental reassessment of how things are done across industries in almost every region of the world. It is not just the phones and the data cards that are being enabled by the broadband connectivity but also the electronic devices such as the tablets, eReaders, automobiles, picture frames, and cameras.

Anything that can be connected will be connected making access omnipresent.

In such a multi-device world, the role of cloud computing becomes central to the content access and sharing. Consumers won’t like to store and upload by device type but would want the same level of functionality available across all their devices necessitating the need for mobile cloud computing. In a mobile environment, one has to contend with the limitations of screen size, the variability of devices, and the network latency. Therefore, the cloud requirements will vary by context.

With the emergence of the smartphones, the mobile operators are being gradually cut out of the value added services space with most of the revenues shifting to rest of the ecosystem. Mobile cloud computing provides an opportunity to leverage their network infrastructure assets and their consumer relationships to open up new revenue streams.

This paper will explore the mobile cloud computing market, its drivers, the opportunities and the key elements of success in this space. Further, the paper discusses why operators should take a more active role in this space. Mobile cloud computing is here to stay. The winners and losers will be decided based on how players will adapt to empower consumers.