The rise of the mobile cloud

In many ways, the headline used above is misleading. Imagine if I replaced the words “mobile cloud” with “laptop cloud” or “Ipad cloud”? The implication is that the term cloud computing is somehow tied into the user device accessing cloud services whether it be Software-as-a-Service (Saas) or Platform-as-a-Service (Paas).

However, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality the reason a number of leading UK hosting providers like VI.Net or Software companies like Microsoft are championing the power of cloud computing is that it’s largely device-agnostic.

It allows consumers or companies the ability to seamlessly access (or build) software, operating systems and web applications off a remote server without sucking up local resources on a computer, laptop, mobile device or Smartphone.

Model Metrics has released the world’s first cloud-based enterprise mobile platform. Read about it further below.

It also just so happens that the cloud computing model is set to be become one of the biggest drivers of growth and development for the I.T. industry in ways not seen since the Internet made its appearance in the latter part of the 20th Century.

This “on-demand” approach is now reaching critical mass with I.T. research firm Gartner predicting that worldwide cloud-service revenue is forecast to exceed $68.3 billion by the end of 2010, a 16.6 percent increase from 2009 revenue of $58.6 billion.

Continued strong growth through 2014 could take worldwide revenue for cloud services past $148.8 billion. You can read a recent white paper on the benefits of cloud computing to E-commerce sector previously published on our blog.

But, even as cloud computing looks to change the face of the software and hosting industry it may be dwarfed by the frenetic pace in both consumer and business user adoption of mobile and Smartphone devices that interact with the Internet.

According to a study from Juniper Research from earlier this year, the market for mobile apps will grow 88% from 2009 to 2014 (to $9.5 billion). ABI Research forecasts that applications and services will migrate and be provisioned from the mobile cloud, instead of being downloaded and installed on mobile Smartphone and tablets/netbooks.

If this is not enough to pique your interest consider Gartner’s prediction that By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. According to Gartner’s PC installed base forecast, the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013.

By 2013, the combined installed base of Smartphone and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units and will be greater than the installed base for PCs thereafter.

Thus, while cloud computing does not distinguish between which device accesses it, the reality is that within the next decade the SmartPhone will become the principle user method of interacting with cloud Saas, IaaS or PaaS services on a daily basis.

We recently reported that had transformed its application development process by migrating to SaaS and cloud-based data storage services. It’s also gone further by launching a new cloud catalog system that can be managed from a smart phone using hybrid online and offline back-office approaches.

At an enterprise level, Model Metrics announced in August the introduction of the world’s first cloud-based platform for mobile workforces. In a nutshell, this will allow employees to take critical business functionality with them, wherever they go using similar hybrid online/offline functionality rolled out by

Both of these examples point to the Smartphone becoming the dominant communication platform at both the consumer and enterprise level within the next five to ten years.

Thus, the rise of the mobile cloud and cloud computing are really two sides of the same coin. They will be two areas any business must critically consider before rolling out new products, selecting hosting providers or considering user access to their online stores in the years to come.

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