Mobile cloud computing
New opportunities and challenges for operators
Mobile cloud computing (mCC) represents a relatively new and fast growing segment of cloud computing. mCC is about provisioning mobile applications and services in the cloud, enabled through cloud service providers and delivered to end-users’ mobile handsets over the Internet. In a recent study by Juniper Research, annual revenues from cloud-based mobile applications are expected to reach $9.5 billion in 2014, from $400 million in 2009. The numbers of mCC subscribers worldwide are forecasted to grow to almost 1 billion in 2014, about 20% of total mobile subscribers, according to a study by ABI Research.
Growth of mobile cloud computing
Contrarily, in mCC both the data
processing and storage is primarily being transferred from the handset
itself to the cloud provider, i.e. the handset will be used as a network
device to display apps in a mobile browser or through a thin-client
interface. Numerous services and apps are already being provisioned in this
manner, including Gmail and Facebook for mobile users. The aforementioned
ABI Research study forecasts that by 2014, mCC will become the leading
mobile application development and deployment strategy, displacing today‘s
native and downloadable mobile applications. Even new versions of
smartphones, called mobile cloud phones, that are specifically designed for
mCC applications and services will soon start to emerge.
Mobile cloud computing issues and
How will MNOs manage in the
Most current mCC applications and services are provisioned by global players like Google, Facebook and Dropbox and mostly bypass the MNO value-chain. Relying primarily on revenues from surge in data traffic seems unsustainable in the long term, especially as data revenues do not increase proportionally with data traffic. In fact, according to an ABI Research, while data traffic is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42% until 2015, data revenues will only grow at a CAGR of about 15-18%, in sharp contrast to the increase in usage. Several ideas have emerged that might benefit MNOs for assuming a greater role in the mCC domain in addition to providing network connectivity and access. These include various mash-up services by integrating network-centric data, such as identity and location data, with third-party applications and to provide cloud intermediation, aggregation and arbitration through cloud brokerage.The aim of an ongoing Eurescom study (P2051) on „Opportunities and challenges for MNOs in the mobile cloud“ is to understand how the mobile cloud is developing and to determine MNOs position and opportunities in the value-chain of mobile cloud service provisioning and, finally, to provide recommendations to participating MNOs as a starting point for further analysis and strategic decision making. Further information about P2051 is available at www.eurescom.eu/public/projects/P2000-series/P2051
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