Mobility – IT Paradigm

In the second series of my trilogy, m-bytes, let’s look at the current mobile scenario.

Let me start with a small introspection. Recently, I was discussing memories and ways of capturing them with one of my colleagues. It suddenly struck me that it had been years since I carried a separate camera.

Today, cameras are replaced by mobile devices. The picture quality on the mobile devices has improved so much that most of us today use our own phones to capture our memories. Hold on, not just this, we quickly share them with our friends on Facebook and Twitter. A true mobile power!

One of the significant changes that can be observed in the telecom industry, is that the industry is currently reeling under the pressure with network technologies moving towards higher bandwidth, increasing operating costs, advances in internet and mobile computing, and more importantly, the need for application developers with technology demands. The biggest of all the challenges would be to rethink on everything from how they design, build and operate services. Product strategy is the need of the hour with effective service delivery platform that can facilitate M2M applications and services. I found it very interesting that Bharathi Airtel, which is one of the biggest telecommunications service providers in India, had to first introduce the controversial VoIP tariff plan that would have made voice calls on services such has Skype and Viber more expensive, and then pull back the plan in the face of a public outcry.

The healthcare industry has seen tremendous advancements in the adoption of mobility. It started with simple tracker applications that relied on the user inputs. Most of these were standalone applications. The mHealth application framework helps cut down on medical equipment costs, and from the patient’s point of view, it reduces the use of medical facilities by implementing novel methods that provide accurate diagnosis and targeted therapy. Today, connected devices and machine-to-machine technology, as well as mobile network advancements and emergence of low-cost smartphones spur the mobile healthcare market growth, as provider and payer organizations seek new ways to streamline costs and improve patient care. Mobile devices are playing a key role in transforming the efficiency, delivery, and access to the healthcare system. The current trend extends to mHealth, self-service kiosks, telemedicine, remote monitoring tools and wearable technology.

Another industry that I found absolutely fascinating is the retail industry, and the way it has embraced the mobile revolution is worth appreciating. Most shoppers today, treat the mobile device as their best friend. It allows one to get more product details, especially making it social. Positive feedback, ratings, reviews and videos are likely to tilt the decision in favor of product purchase. Imagine your application reminding you that you have a gift coupon that you can redeem at a certain shop, when you are actually shopping there! This is typically achieved as a store hub that stores all coupons, gift cards, loyalty points and much more. Retailers have realized the power of indoor location marketing which is enhancing customer experience. Wouldn’t one love to have a personnel shopper, a store associate assistance, in-store pick up, and connect online activity to in-store activity? The UK retailer House of Fraser announced in August that it will introduce Beacon-equipped mannequins in its Aberdeen store to provide customers with a more engaging retail experience. Macy’s is expected to roll out the Beacon technology for their in-store experience by 2014.

Mobility, not just mobile, is poised to become the next major IT paradigm.  It is anticipated that this, together with a unified communication strategy, will bring an array of opportunities and challenges for chief information officers in most organizations.

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