The Mobile Cloud is a crucial and inevitable development that will have a massive effect on mobile communications and the entire information technology industry. There are at least six key factors, that are driving the inexorable development of the Mobile Cloud.
1. Mobile Broadband. When the authors forecast in 2006 that mobile would overwhelm fixed (landline) communications in the Broadband sphere more rapidly than it had in the voice market – this was considered a radical notion. However, in five short years it happened, with mobile users accounting for 67% of broadband access and the disparity growing every day. Broadband is a mobile phenomenon.
2. Traffic Deluge. Mobile traffic growth is being wildly underestimated by industry forecasts, most prominently, the widely discussed Cisco Visual Networking Index. In our previous study, “The Mobile Traffic DELUGE” we examined the stunning dis-connect in the telecom/wireless industry consensus – that the forthcoming demand for Mobile Data Services was clearly going to be at least ten X the prevailing industry forecasts and estimates over the next five years and beyond. The industry is in a state of denial about the level of traffic that is coming in the next five years – 10X the Cisco forecast, which itself is being heavily discounted by the industry as excessive.
3. Mobile Device Evolution. Mobile devices are evolving – rapidly – in ways that make them into “Cloud devices.” Over the past five years these devices have been revamped, from being “phones” with some limited additional data capabilities to handy computers with a mounting number of ancillary capabilities – cameras, video screens. This involves a paradigm shift from the “single device” concept to the “small number of devices” – all of which will be synced through the cloud. These devices, with multi-cores, high resolution screens, ancillary capabilities such as dual cameras, are not devised as standalone devices. They presume the existence of a Cloud to reach their full potential and utilize the ever more complex and demanding range of mobile apps.
4. Advanced Mobile Networks. Networks are rapidly advancing towards “4G” status which will enable a multiplicity of Cloud functions to be performed efficiently. Verizon Wireless LTE covers about 300 million POPs, AT&T about 150 million. By year-end 2013 AT&T plans to cover 270 million POPs, T-Mobile 200 million and Sprint about 200 million.
5. Applications. The world of mobile applications is the most vibrant area of the entire information technology universe. Increasingly these apps are being designed to rely on the Cloud.
6. User Empowerment. The sudden rise of social networking is empowering users, changing the relationship between users and providers. With the Mobile Cloud, we expect this train of events to reach a new level of proactive communities that change the dynamics of areas such as Search, but also profoundly affect marketing practices. This will be accelerated by the Mobile Cloud because of the factor of Personalization.