|By Roy Mitchell||
|April 22, 2006 03:00 PM EDT||
In the enterprise building mobile applications is as much about integration and the corresponding challenges as it is about pure application development.
Recent industry reports reveal that more than 70% of mission-critical data and most of the pivotal business logic that runs worldwide commerce still resides on existing host systems. Based on this dependency, as well as their speed and power, host systems are unquestionably here to stay for most large organizations and will continue to be a foundation for business success as organizations design and implement new business initiatives.
However, many of those same organizations have also invested in packaged applications (SAP, Siebel, Oracle Applications, PeopleSoft, etc.) to manage their businesses. When building mobile solutions that leverage these systems, enterprise developers want to use the existing business logic of these applications (to ensure data integrity, security, etc.) and not have to recreate this logic in new systems.
For many organizations a mobile enterprise solution will need to expose business functions from numerous core business systems in a single, seamless, easy-to-use interface, delivering real business value.
That core business functionality is housed on multiple platforms, including structured data such as databases and unstructured data such as host, ERP, CRM applications and middleware. Without a comprehensive mobile platform with built-in connectivity to these core systems, delivering mobile solutions becomes very difficult.
Therefore, in the enterprise, mobile applications are an extension of the company's existing systems and processes and are very rarely standalone applications in their own right. They are about allowing a mobile workforce to have real-time and continuous access to corporate business processes and information.
Many mobile enterprise applications require real-time access to multiple existing business systems. For example, to provide the sales team with a complete view of the customer, the mobile application might need to interact with the corporate SAP system for sales information, the Siebel system for customer care issues and the mainframe for customer records. To be practical, (limited real estate, data bandwidth, etc.) the mobile enterprise solution should only provide the specific data required for the task and not try to be general-purpose.
As such, mobile integration follows the same principles and tenets as any other integration issue in the corporation. Today's guiding principle for integration is Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and its major delivery mechanisms XML and Web Services. SOA promises to decouple the end devices and their operating environments from the integration of mobile services with corporate applications. The adoption of XML and Web Services will help this come about.
Today, the consensus supports the adoption of mobile middleware. It's clear that off-the-shelf integrated application adapters combined with the capability to define and coordinate transactions across multiple back-end corporate applications (with process management) is the recipe for delivering corporate business processes and applications to mobile devices.
The spike in laptop, notebook, and tablet-type devices over the last few years underscores the demand for information that travels with people as they move around. These devices have become essential tools for many different types of mobile workers, from sales people to service technicians, who need to access and enter data electronically.
In recent years, the market for small handheld computers such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) has grown rapidly and trends are pointing toward exploiting mobile technology even more. Research shows that while laptops are still the mobile device of companies, smaller handheld devices are being used to deliver mobile e-mail to field personnel. The RIM Blackberry has been at the forefront of this new age of mobile communication, but other vendors are able to deliver mobile e-mail on other handheld devices such as those using the Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms. In addition, many employees have purchased handheld devices and are looking to leverage these devices in their business lives. Many companies now face the challenge of coming up with a strategy that turns PDAs into useful productivity and communications devices. These companies face an equal challenge due to the rapid evolution of PDA technology - much faster than conventional PCs and laptops.
Nowadays most of these devices come loaded with more than one wireless option for data communications including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and other 3G network technologies such as EDGE. All of these devices come with browser support, which in most cases, goes beyond support for Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to support standard HTML-based Web sites. Most of these modern devices also support development frameworks, such as J2ME and the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, which creates new opportunities to develop solutions beyond mobile e-mail. With this, the availability of literally thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots has meant that a combination of 3G GPRS and Wi-Fi can realistically be used to deliver the mobile infrastructure needed by the enterprise.
The real opportunity for companies is to move beyond mobile e-mail and begin to leverage the millions of mobile devices already in the hands of salespeople, service representatives, and customers, delivering corporate information directly to the point where it's needed.
The Mobile Internet - Reality versus Hype
In the past the media - with plenty of eager help from overzealous marketing campaigns - has generated a massive amount of hyperbole about the potential of the mobile Internet. By confusing "Internet-capable" with "can do everything that the wired Internet can do," the mobile Internet has been over-sold. Many companies' inflated expectations have been dashed by the realities of yesterday's first-generation implementation of the mobile Internet.
If we look back to the year 2000, it was estimated that by 2004 the number of Internet-capable cell phones being shipped and used would outstrip - by a large margin - those that didn't have a data communications capability. That milestone was reached in half the time.
According to Forrester Research in 2005 mobile networks covered 80% of the world's population, which means that more than five billion people are within range of a cellular network. And a quarter of the world's population - some one-and-a-half billion people - use mobile services. In addition, 78% of those users are connected to GSM networks, with the greatest penetration of mobile use in Europe followed by the United States.
IDC has estimated that more than 55 million mobile devices were sold in 2005, a boost of 165% over 2004. In other surveys IDC has said that approximately 40% of these devices will possibly require middleware in an enterprise environment. It's estimated that there are tens of millions of phones capable of running J2ME applications - all of which can integrate with the enterprise through their HTTP and Web capabilities.
Gartner, the research company, estimates that mobile terminal sales is likely to reach 848 million by 2008. Gartner also estimate that in the third quarter of 2005 shipments of Smartphones exceeded 12 million units. World Smartphone shipments surpassed those of PDAs for the first time in 3Q04 by 1.2 million units, and in 3Q05 this gap widened to nine million units.
Mobile Internet pioneers have learned some important lessons:
- The mobile Internet is not suitable for all of the same applications you find on the wired Internet. The key is choosing applications that fit in the screen space and speed constraints of today's mobile devices. Applications that provide on-the-spot order entry, sales force automation, customer lookups, and equipment service are all excellent candidates for mobile Internet use.
- Mobile Internet technology, at all levels, is moving very fast - handsets, network speeds, interoperability standards, and protocols are all evolving rapidly. Mobile phone manufacturers, network infrastructure players, and mobile network providers are investing massive amounts of resources in developing and deploying the next-generation networks. Today's devices have bigger full-color screens as well as faster networks that enable even more types of applications and services to go mobile.
- Mobile network technology is not a North American technology, or European, or is it GSM-specific or tied to any transport network or technology. Mobile applications mask all the local differences and enable worldwide deployment of mobile applications using virtually any handset and wireless network.
When it comes to the benefits of mobile technology in the enterprise, most companies cite better employee productivity as the major gain, with the advantages of real-time access to corporate information a close second. The more information people have at their disposal, the better decisions they will make.
Forrester defined mobile enterprise technology as a set of technologies - including networks, infrastructure, and portable devices - that enable employees and systems to use applications in a mobile environment. Key deliverables from mobile-enabling corporate applications include a boost in customer service, an increase in productivity, and a reduction in costs.
The concept of multi-channel and multi-modal applications means that corporate applications should inherently be able to support access from any device. Of course, in reality this is not the case and won't be for quite some while. In the meantime, mobile application middleware will deliver solutions that allow both legacy custom-developed applications and contemporary packaged applications to be accessed from handheld devices from a multiplicity of vendors. Obviously, any mobile middleware solution should have built-in support for as many enterprise applications, old and new, as possible.
Back in 2004 Gartner said that companies should plan for a widening range of mobile application platforms to become available. It advised companies to plan on mobile applications becoming a strategic part of their IT portfolio and not just tactical solutions.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 5, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 976
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
May. 5, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,544
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
May. 5, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,443
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
May. 5, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,450
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
May. 5, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,247
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
May. 5, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,372
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
May. 5, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 712
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
May. 5, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,347
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
May. 5, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,305
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
May. 5, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,394
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
May. 5, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,219
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
May. 4, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,280
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
May. 4, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 503
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
May. 4, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 720
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,463
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
May. 4, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 636
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
May. 4, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,286
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
May. 4, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,033
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
May. 4, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,313
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,637