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The (5.2 Billion-Dollar) Future of the Mobile Cloud

by on September 1, 2010

Mobile devices will be playing a major role in the expansion of cloud computing in the coming years, according to ABI Research, a technology analysis and forecasting firm based in New York City. In a report released earlier this year, the trend spotters predicted more than 240 million business customers will be leveraging cloud computer services through mobile devices by 2015, a market it estimates will reach $5.2 billion by that time.

Cloud_dollar_sign The key to that growth will be the expansion of what devices can be connected to the cellular networks. The dominant existing platforms—smartphones, like iPhones and Android-based products, as well as notebook computers—will be supplemented by an array of new devices such as Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), netbooks and smartbooks, according to ABI Practice Director Dan Shey. “The longer term opportunity is in mobile devices accessing IT services from the cloud and paying for access on a per-use basis,” he observed in a statement. “With the economics of cloud services expanding IT services access to the SMB market, and more cellular connected devices in the market for business customers, enterprise mobile cloud computing services will experience tremendous growth.”

AMI-Partners, a New York analyst firm, released a report in August that shows that one of the biggest markets for the mobile cloud may be small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Their research showed that 84% of medium-sized businesses (MBs) and 39% of small businesses (SBs) have a mobile workforce. It also showed 77% of MBs use smart-phones while SBs are at 31% (but growing).

The appeal of the mobile cloud is easy to understand. Mobile devices have limited processing capabilities as well as limited disk space to host an application. This makes them a prime target for cloud applications. The mobile cloud also offers the ability to better manager and protect data. After all, you can’t protect data that is stored on your phone if you misplace or destroy your mobile device. In fact, as more businesses start leveraging mobile apps, from CRM apps to apps that can access a company’s online databases, the importance of managing and safeguarding that mobile data will become more important than ever.

But data management of the mobile cloud is for another post.

The bottom line is that the future of the mobile cloud looks very bright indeed. As business of all size 9and consumers in gerneal) adopt mobile technologies, handheld devices are going to become portals to access the enterprise’s data and the logical extension of the desktop cloud services offered today.

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