What’s the near future look like for mobile?

Look around. Everyone is carrying a mobile device, from the texting zombies in the supermarket and mall to the men and women conducting their business from a table at the local Starbucks or Panera Bread. Work doesn’t always have to be done at the office or from home. Sure, you can’t normally print documents or take advantage of a large display, but you can interact with clients on websites and through email and social media wherever you are. Mobile devices and ubiquitous connectivity have enabled users to bring the workplace and data to them. This is only the tip of the iceberg. What can we expect to see in the very near future?

  • More and more will work from home, from mobile offices or locations.
  • Work will more often be done at off-hours while workers juggle work-family balance.
  • Wireless broadband connectivity will continue to be intermittent and have spotty coverage so devices will need to have intelligent caching of business data and knowledge.
  • Users will prefer to carry one device that provides access to all of their services.
  • Small form-factor devices will require that software be more intelligent to minimize interactions with small screens and keyboards.
  • Business processes will be streamlined to minimize required user interaction
  • Security will be paramount as malware and trojan vendors shift their focus to the larger attack surface provided mobile devices.
  • Management of the mobile devices including auto wipe, tracking, disaster recovery will become more important as businesses rely more on mobile devices. This is extremely important in an enterprise environment where users often carry sensitive data on their devices.
  • Collaboration between mobile devices will become more important as more workers rely on mobile devices as their primary communications device. This includes instant messaging, video chat, and meeting collaboration services. These services must be secure.
  • Integration with social media sites will become more important as workers become more and more connected with other mobile workers.
  • Mobile workers will likely elect to carry one (and at the most two) mobile devices to do their tasks. Notebook systems are still too large and heavy. Netbooks are better but are still too large to be practical.
  • Despite advances in battery technology, battery life will continue to be an issue. Devices will need to make more efficient use of battery power using intelligent transfer, replication, and caching.
  • Customers and users will depend on the ability to access their data securely and privately from any location. The data should be available across multiple device types, connectivity, and form factors.
  • Mobile devices must support accessibility to enable their use by the disabled as well as to comply with government regulations.
  • Accurate location information will be important to provide location-based services. All devices will provide location information accurate to within a few feet.
  • A global workforce will require all mobile devices to have built-in translation for written and spoken language.

Healthcare

  • Healthcare costs will continue to increase and further strain funding sources such as Medicare. Mobile devices and applications that collect clinical data, share treatment therapies, schedule procedures and order prescriptions will help reduce costs and minimize errors.
  • In the Third World and emerging states, mobile caregivers like Doctors without Borders will rely heavily on mobile wireless devices that leverage the wireless infrastructure. Copper connections will only exist in heavily populated areas because of the high cost of deploying those connections.
  • Mobile devices will be routinely used to gather patient data, perform diagnostic procedures, and share data and therapies with other physicians.
  • Mobile devices woven into the fabric of clothing will allow patient data to be monitored and shared with physicians. The physician will be able to interact with the device to change how and what is being monitored without physically seeing the patient.

Manufacturing

  • Business will use mobile devices as a way to place orders, create and execute contracts, and to provide customer support. Back-end processes will be streamlined to permit easy interaction with users to minimize physical interactions with the device.
  • Mobile devices can improve supply chain management by providing spot pricing and availability as well as ordering in commodity and futures markets.
  • Tracking and identification of products on the factory floor as well as work in progress, inventories, and location of items will be easy to locate with a handheld device.
  • Shop floor management will use mobile devices to provide real time status of production against requirements and deliverables.

Transportation

  • Transportation companies will continue to use mobile wireless devices as a way to track deliveries. Inexpensive wireless transceivers will be attached to packages to allow their position to be easily located. Airlines will never again lose a customer’s bag.

Finance

  • Customers and mobile users will rely on their mobile devices to perform trades, check stock prices, place orders, etc. Because of the nature of the data, security will continue to drive the adoption of mobile devices. The ability to remotely locate and/or wipe a device is absolutely imperative.

Retail

  • Retail will provide a substantial opportunity for wireless mobile devices. Security will continue to be important as customers will be able to order goods and services using their mobile device. Position information will be important to drive location-based services.
  • Collaboration among retail customers will help drive sales.
  • Collaboration among retailers may allow real time sharing of customer information, buying habits and trends, based on participation and privacy agreements.
  • Integration with social media will continue to drive mobile use among consumers. Applications such as Facebook and Pheed, will continue to provide peer-influenced purchase recommendations. Younger users will rely heavily on these recommendations to make a purchase.

Military

  • Military use of mobile devices will increase exponentially with increased bandwidth. The ability to provide real time displays of troop and vehicle movement as well as the ability to control unmanned devices at a low cost will substantially increase mobile usage.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety

  • While law enforcement vehicles are equipped with notebooks, these devices are not often available while out of the vehicle. Mobile devices will provide real time voice recognition, fingerprint and identity checks, and DNA type matching for suspects and individuals without the need to return to the vehicle.
  •  Mobile devices will provide real time video, audio, and crime scene information including location and type of evidence including matching of blood samples, DNA, and firearms information linked to NCIS and similar databases.
  • Wireless devices will allow users to locate public resources such as shelters, and provide the information based on current conditions such as weather and road conditions, with the ability to specify safest routes to those locations.

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