TMCnet Feature
September 19, 2012

The Future of Mobility and Cloud Computing - Are You Prepared?

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Trends throughout the telecommunications and technology markets have centered on mobility and multimedia experiences. At the same time, the cloud and the benefits of cloud computing continue to garner significant attention. As companies prepare for the future, it’s critical that they understand these trends and how they impact their business model both today and tomorrow.

These topics will be front of mind for many attending the ITEXPO West 2012 event in Austin next month. In anticipation of the event, TMC (News - Alert) spoke with Arnulf Hsu, CTO with Central Desktop, Inc., to get his take on the latest trends and happenings in the industry and how they are affecting business decisions.

Purchasing is one area that is certainly shifting its focus, moving from the CAPEX model to the OPEX (News - Alert) model as the migration to cloud computing becomes less daunting and the benefits outweigh the risks. Hsu points to the shift to the cloud as the most important trend impacting business purchasing decisions. Companies are not only experiencing the financial benefits, they are also enjoying the freed up resources available for expanding key differentiation elements and boosting a competitive advantage. 

Image via Shutterstock

This trend toward the cloud is certainly dominating the attention of many an IT manager, but it shouldn’t be the only topic on their radar if they hope to support their organization to effectively compete in the next few years. Interoperability will be key to future success and IT managers must focus on the elimination of silos. This focus should be a warning for vendors as the promotion of proprietary systems without clean integration could render them obsolete in a new market. Hsu believes such systems will be nothing but short lived.

The opportunities in cloud and mobility are drawing in new and proven manufacturers and providers. In fact, the competition is heating up to the point that patent wars and lawsuits are becoming more commonplace between market dominators. The Apple-Samsung (News - Alert) patent case, for instance, is the perfect example of one intelligent asset owner vying to protect its core platform from the threat of a competitor. This could be a good thing as Hsu suggests that the outcome of the case will spur innovation that will benefit consumers.

The outcome of the patent war between Samsung and Apple (News - Alert) did raise quite a few conversations surrounding the effectiveness of the patent system. What was once a program designed to protect unique innovations, some believe has expanded to invite too many broad applications to cover generic use cases and then attack productive companies to extract revenue. Large companies have no choice but to amass a great number of patents, according to Hsu, in order to protect their innovations and fight back against what he refers to as “Patent Trolls”. The result is a viscous cycle that appears to have no end.

As video continues to gain more momentum in the market, many are wondering how it blends with cloud and mobile strategies. Consumers are increasingly investing in smartphones to access multimedia entertainment and information on the go and video is an important element in the mix. At the same time, mobile employees are increasingly bringing their mobile devices to work, spurring the arrival of the BYOD phenomenon.

Video is also an important tool in business communications. According to Hsu, “It’s an excellent and very efficient medium for expressing yourself either one-on-one (video calls and such) or for broadcasts, especially now that high definition video cameras have become standard and incredibly inexpensive. Since more than 50 percent of communication is done non-verbally, video really helps bridge this gap and engage your audience so much more than with just the written word.”

While that gives great insight into what video means for the user, it’s also important to understand its power and impact for the company or organization using it to promote a message or provide entertainment. NBC, for instance, was the primary source for all coverage of the Olympic Games. At the same time, fans throughout the world were streaming the events on their mobile devices. The result was two sources with very different results.

Hsu pointed to the negative for NBC – their broadcasts, for the most part, were not in real-time. With streaming access, fans knew the results before the event was even available through the network. This is an important point as we enter the final weeks of the presidential election. Consumers are expected to use a number of different tools to access information on the candidates, share their knowledge, voice their opinions and more. Parties hoping to win the white house will have to leverage the same tools to push out the message they want voters to hear.

To that end, there are a number of different technology items that can make creating and using multimedia content more exciting. Those that can keep pace with current trends are more likely to dominate, and the user will certainly dictate the winners. For Hsu, the ideal item is a large-scale, multi-touch display. After all, Hsu says he can never have enough screen real estate. But, will he jump on board with mobile wallet capabilities when they become available? “If it’s easy and secure, absolutely,” he says. The same is likely to be true for many a consumer – will the industry be able to deliver on these expectations?

At the upcoming ITEXPO 2012 West event, Hsu is looking forward to seeing the convergence of synchronous communications tools that are supporting the shift in communications. He is excited to be in heart of the excitement.

For attendees who decide to meet Hsu at the event, he says, “They will learn how businesses are getting deeper engagement within their enterprise to lead to better decision-making and improve the quality of their output, as well as forge stronger ties with their customers and partners using turnkey collaboration platforms and tools. The consumer web has shown us how we can be more engaged with our friends and colleagues. These tools are starting to make their way into the enterprise, so we will show you how you can do this safely and securely with meaningful ROI.”Finally, in the world of technology, many a business leader and innovator will set out to make bold predictions concerning the future of the industry. When Hsu was asked to do the same, he pointed to the possibility of knowledge workers becoming more mobile, the BYOD movement becoming more mainstream and IT departments will determine how to secure content. At the same time, the browser will be the new operating system. Are these things on the horizon? We’ll have to wait and see.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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