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Mobile to beat PC, TV for consumer affection

Posted: 04 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile cellphone? TV PC? electronic device?

One of the most heated battles for control of people's lives is about to take place, pitting the cellphone, TV, and computer against one another. Although all three have big roles to play, mobile devices will potentially replace TVs and computers as the electronic devices most central to people's lives.

We have identified eight mobile device trends likely to have a major industry and end-user impact within the next few years. They are:

1. Unified-memory-as-a service
Wireless broadband and Web 2.0 will be significant drivers of mobile usage. Simultaneously, rich multimedia experiences enabled by wireless broadband will put a huge strain on memory capabilities of a typical mobile phone. In a world where consumers of content also create it, unified-memory-as-a-service will become more widely used.

This will provide remote memory capacity accessed over the wireless Internet. Users can create and use remote memory from the device of their choice.

2. Mobile surface computing
Surface computing enables users to interact with objects or content, manipulating information via natural and intuitive hand movements without a keypad or stylus.

This new technology promises to revolutionize mobile phones. The screens of today's devices are already electronic. But with surface computing, all surfaces will become electronic and interactive.

For example, a user can take a picture using the phone camera. Then, with two fingers, the user can drag two corners of that image outward to zoom in on it.

The user places the phone on the computing table-top. And all recent pictures pour out of the mobile phone onto the table-top screen. This creates a more intuitive, visual user experience.

3. Widgets as user interface
Widgets are self-contained, portable chunks of software that users can install and use quickly and easily on their desktops, set-top boxes or mobile phones.

Widgets will evolve into an end-to-end framework that enables mobile device users to define and personalize their Internet data.

4. Application-driven connectivity
In the current wireless world, many different technologyfrom 2G to 3G to 3.5G to 4Gcoexist. Currently, Unlicensed Mobile Access is the communications standard that makes these technologies work together.

Internet protocol connectivity will span multiple access technologies, and applications will make real-time decisions, driven by quality-of-service (QoS) considerations about which access technology to use and for what purpose.

This technology will also choose the route that data should travel over difficult pathways to deliver a compelling Internet experience to the user.

Users can launch a video conferencing session with chat, document sharing, and a white board, for example. Each application can decide the radio channel best suited for it. And multiple radio channels will be active and result in parallel data processing for the user, creating enhanced quality of service.

5. Mobile Content Management
Advanced mobile content management systems would have end-to-end frameworks that embed rules and regulations about content and usage at different control points in mobile computing systems. These frameworks will help to tame the "Wild West" environment of content generation among mobile users, while also helping protect them.

The control points can be a mobile phone, base stations, routers, switches or gateways. Rules will be enforced through technology depending on context.

6. Unified user profiles
Profile management services, aided by biometric technologies such as fingerprint, iris scan or voice print identification, will become available in products. These services will let users create a single profile on a mobile device that can be used across various subscriptions and devices. Users can retain personal data, while shifting services easily from one device or service provider to another.

7. Mobile security gets serious
As the world of mobile computing expands, security will encompass infrastructure and corporate data, with mechanisms and services in place to detect and recover from attacks. Mobile security will also extend to end-user devices and user data. Such security will become a key aspect of quality of service for which users will pay.

In real time, new security systems will assess threats and risks and adopt security mechanisms to counter such threats. The anti-virus and vaccines industry will also get into this business activity.

8. Mobile goes green
The mobile industry is highly proactive in its efforts to reduce the carbon footprint. As such, design and development of sustainable mobile devices will become increasingly essential. Driven by governments and end users, this ecosystem-friendly design will become obligatory to conform to norms. And it will also make good business sense.

- Abhijit Kabra is with the software group at Accenture.

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