Posted by: Christian Verstraete | May 11, 2010

Is Mobility the next Holy Grail?

For the last 18 months, Cloud has been at the centre of discussions worldwide. I cannot tell with how many manufacturing companies I discussed the subject. Being it private or public cloud, the subject kept popping up in discussions. Interestingly over the last couple weeks I have seen the emphasis change slightly and mobility becoming a hot topic.

Is this due to the release of the iPAD, to the acquisition of Palm by HP, I don’t know, but I have had a number of unrelated conversations around the use of devices to access the cloud. Often the arrival of GEN Y on the job market is associated with the debate. Their habit of using a variety of devices to be always connected seems to get manufacturing CIO’s thinking on what to do to adapt company policies to such demand.

At a conference this week, I was lucky to hear Marc Andreessen talk, and surprisingly, he also mentioned mobility and its importance in integrating with the Cloud.

It seems the vision is that many services will host in the cloud over time, and that simple, but powerful devices will be used to access that content from any place on the planet.

So, are we done with carrying our big laptops on business trips? Maybe not just yet, but there is definitely a trend towards simpler devices, with better user experience, to access data where-ever that one is located. Now, that starts from one assumption, we can get internet access from anywhere. In most public places, the internet is accessible, although  often at a quite expensive price. But what about access outside such locations? If I have to refer to my latest US experience with my 3G phone, I can tell you the service is still scattered. Voice service is sort of getting there, but data services are not acceptable if I need to rely on them to do my business. That will probably be the biggest barrier to the vision. It is actually interesting to see way better coverage in countries like India than in the US these days.

The second element is that users will want to have the same user experience on multiple devices. I had the opportunity to see the beta version of a couple of such user interfaces. They are based on a concept that is close to the iPhone one, with an application store where specific services can be downloaded. One implementation I saw runs on Flash, which makes it incompatible with Apple, the other on HTML5, which is still  not widespread. One interesting related information that hit my radarscreen earlier this week is that, for the first time, more Android powered phones were sold in the US than iPhones.

But it is refreshing to see such approaches to be tested. Cloud service providers should really take a moment and look at them to identify how it could help them take full advantage of what is coming.

So, will we be able to monitor our supply chains from anywhere in the world. Probably one day, but it’s a couple years out still,

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by christianve. christianve said: For the last 18 months, Cloud has been at the centre of discussions worldwide. I cannot tell with how … #supplychain […]

  2. Nice Writeup.
    With Mobile Enterprise Mobility getting more & more attention, cloud would be its best friend in the coming future.
    I can bet on it 🙂

  3. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, Satellite Direct Tv

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