Time to create a holistic mobile ecosystem

By Sunil Dutt
January 9, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

Mobile phones have transcended various phases of evolution since the time they began their journey. They have come a long way from being simple feature phones, which were meant for making calls and sending text messages.

phone32Today, mobile phones have evolved to become smartphones — more intelligent, interactive and capable of doing just about anything and everything that was earlier possible only on a computer.

However, this process of evolution doesn’t stop here. As the juggernaut of innovation marches on, it’s time for yet another quantum leap in the field of mobile phones. Much has been said and done about powerful processors and hardware specifications, versatile operating systems and killer apps.

Now it’s time to emphasize on consolidation of all these and build the most powerful, holistic, all-in-all mobile ecosystem. The idea is to seamlessly integrate all the features to provide an end-to-end environment for the ultimate user experience.

Today, the driving force behind the innovation is the need for an expanded and holistic ecosystem. Technology providers are putting in a chunk of their investment on R&D to amalgamate their products, solutions and services and ensure relevancy in their target market. Further, the cloud, undeniably, is one of the largest tech-paradigms of this decade and there has been a growing demand for platform-independent cloud services from users.

This is why we have witnessed large-scale technology consolidation over cloud, leading to the empowerment of users who have started operating on the cloud from computers, tablets and smartphones. From being just a storage medium, the cloud has evolved into a much more sophisticated and complex unit which supports large scale applications and solutions. This is a huge opportunity for mobile phone manufacturers and mobility solution providers and they need to capitalize on the full potential of the cloud to build their mobile ecosystem.

One of the most crucial aspects of a mobile ecosystem should be highly efficient and versatile applications. The present phase of mobility depends a lot on the functionality of platform-agnostic applications. Users are expecting nothing less than cutting edge innovation when it comes to usability of applications and have developed a natural proclivity of opting for those mobile phone brands which can satisfy them on this front.

The key to developing a huge and relevant application bank is winning the trust of app developers and a mobile phone manufacturing company needs to build and nurture a community of such developers or in other words, evangelists. Developer evangelism is all about personal contact, listening, responding, and educating. It is imperative to work very closely with the developer community, expand on support and programs that make it easy and rewarding for developers to create apps, be in the midst of developers to understand their needs and secure a great developer experience, and identify and remove the barriers that they face in supporting the mobile operating systems.

One of the most exciting stories in the industry today is the rise of HTML5 for mobile applications. Developers everywhere are looking for a solution to the cross-platform problem, and they seem to be landing on HTML5.

Beyond cloud and applications, the trump card for successfully building a mobile ecosystem in industry is the ability of devices to integrate and synchronise with enterprise-class email system that works with corporate email solutions; a factor which greatly influences the choice made by a tech-savvy prosumer while purchasing the device. Managing mails, calendars, appointments, editing documents and presentations with the ability to share the files with ease is a primary requirement of any professional user and it is expected from a good ecosystem that it will cater to these requirements.

But while doing so, tech-savvy prosumers and their respective employers need to ensure that access to this corporate data is not compromised in any way, even on a user’s personal device. Similarly, access to personal data is the prerogative of the individual user only, and needs to be logically and securely partitioned from corporate data.

In addition, a strong tie-up with service providers ensures that users get the maximum output from their smartphones in terms of performance and efficiency. Lucrative data plans, ability to access personal and professional data on a ‘whenever and wherever’ basis, seamless and end-to-end connectivity along with a healthy dosage of fun and entertainment in the form of games, music and videos; all of these consolidated under one unified smartphone ‘umbrella’ is what will be termed a complete mobile ecosystem.

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