You are hereMobility


A differentiated wearable strategy

Collage by New York Times

In CES 2014, people found wearables to be a new hot trend. Many companies including biggies like Apple, Google and several other startups want to fit sensors on various parts of the human body and collect data. I have recently read about the t-shirt that can tell an athelete about her willpower or the bra (seemingly in development by Microsoft) that senses emotional triggers for overeating.

A Simple Mobile Application

A mobile application many a time is lot more than just the part of it that runs on the phone. We saw earlier that the central processor and memory need to be optimally utilized. This is because they are less able components compared to their counterparts on the desktop or a server. They need to work very optimally so that the battery on the mobile device needs less frequent recharge. Therefore the software that runs on the phone needs to have a much smaller memory footprint and perform only the most critical number crunching that needs to be done on the mobile phone.

This brings up the realization that the mobile application is probably something that has three parts. A front end that deals with the user interaction at the point of presence, a mobile service delivery platform (we talked about it in an earlier post) and a backend application or a suite of them providing the lions share of application functionality.

Convergence Explained - With Practical Examples

If we search for the meaning of the word Convergence using Wikipedia, we get pretty serious stuff like

Convergence can refer to previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video that now share resources and interact with each other, synergistically creating new efficiencies.

Sometimes formal definitions have the potential to send us in a tailspin. Here is my attempt to explain convergence with practical examples. We can write a whole book on convergence. The examples here are indicative and fundamental (not exhaustive).

The Smart (Mobile) Phone

We almost went through the anatomy of a mobile phone in the earlier post. To understand mobility applications better, it is important to first understand the infrastructure on which such applications run.

 The smartness of a mobile device is directly related to its hardware and software capabilities. As a simple example, a phone that has an in built data modem (hardware which is similar in functionality to the broadband router most of us have at our home for internet connectivity) is a little more smarter than one that can do only SMS.

Inside A Mobile Device

Mobile phones are categorized by their capabilities. The initial ones provided just voice communication capabilities along with very limited data communication (SMS) capabilities. Mobile phones obviously use wireless radio frequency to enable any communication. The ubiquitous availability of such radio channels combined with the ability of technology to pack more data within those channels have always limited the data communication capabilities of cellphones till date. Fortunately, these two resources continue to evolve.

The difference between a desktop phone and the mobile phone is the simple fact that the mobile phone has a small computer built inside. This is required because cellphones need to be lot more intelligent compared to their tethered desktop counterparts.

Mobile Service Delivery Platform

To deliver mobility applications, we need an SDP . An SDP is a mechanism which

  1. helps configure policies, customizations, service level assurance, security, etc., depending on the stakeholders of the service,

  2. deliver those services appropriately,

  3. help measure service levels, and

  4. facilitate invoicing and collecting money for the services delivered

History Of Wireless Mobility

Not so long ago, almost every two way communication device was tethered to a wall socket. This statement will not apply to those roadside payphones. Nevertheless those phones were also anchored firmly in their position and were connected by a cable to the phone network. One always needed to find and reach a device tethered by an electic cable to the network to be able to make a call.

Only people delivering mission critical functions were using technology that did not need a wire for voice communication and hence had the ability to make contact when they needed it and where they needed it.

What is Mobility

Mobile PhoneThis is a technology blog. Therefore, in our posts on mobility, we are not going to talk about all things that make people acquire the ability to move around . We will rather focus on wireless mobility technology here and focus on how this technology provides people greater ability to be productive while they are moving around and therefore are able to lead a more balanced life. We are talking about wireless mobility in the context of Information Technology.

Let us say you are in a shop. A product in display looks attractive. You want to buy it. However, you do not remember if there is enough money to spare in the bank account. You would like to check first. It is already 8pm in the evening and the bank will be closed.

Growth of the Mobile Phone

See video