Mobile computing is a generic term that refers to the various devices that allow users to access information and data from wherever they are. Mobile computing involves the use of mobile devices to display, collect and transfer information (Taniar, 2009).
The recent advancement in the information technology has seen a rapid sprout of various mobile technology based application. This advancement has seen the mobile technology shift from simple applications like text based system to more sophisticated systems like funds transfer and online banking.
The amazing part of these developments is that, the once elusive and expensive applications can now be accessed and performed from a mobile phone. These developments require mobile phones that are able to function like a computer, hence, leading to development of mobile phones that function like computers (Kamal, 2007).
Some examples of such mobile phone devices include such devices as iPhones, ipad’s and androids phones. The development of such sophisticated devices caused businessmen to redesign their business services and solutions in order to allow them run on such devices.
The following term paper analyzes the various advancements that have been made in the mobile technology. It also addresses the advantages of such technologies, as well as the challenges facing these technologies. This term paper will also give a recommendation on appropriate strategies that can be used to enhance efficient use of such technologies.
There are many new emerging technologies that are being experienced all over the world. The mobile and telecommunication industries are have been on the vanguard to embrace these technologies. They are experiencing rapid technological advances. These advances have led to the development of modernized and sophisticated mobile devices.
The development of these mobile devices has led to the need for developing and redesigning business process and solutions so that they can be supported by these devices (Upadhyaya, 2002). For example, Nationwide Mobile Company developed a mobile application that allows its insurance policy holders to file and report a claim whenever an accident occurs. Also, another business sector that has developed due to mobile computing is the quick response codes which are now replacing the traditional bar codes.
Mobile computing technologies and the associated mobile applications have a number of advantages, disadvantages and challenges that hinder the effective use of such technologies.
Effectiveness and efficiency of mobile computing
Mobile based applications are quite efficient in capturing geolocation data, as opposed to uploading customer data. Most mobile based applications use the GSM network which can be easily traced using a global positioning system satellite. The global positioning system is an efficient way of determining the geolocation data. Most mobile based systems will require the subscriber to be registered with the service provider (Upadhyaya, 2002).
The registration of subscribers with the service provider increases efficiency and effectiveness in determining geolocation data since, the data obtained is exclusive for the bearer of the registered mobile device. On the other hand, a desktop system is not quite effective in determining geolocation data because it requires connectivity to the internet, which in most cases is not a safer platform for determining geolocation data (Upadhyaya, 2002).
For example, some people will always have an identity bypassing software that will conceal their IP addresses whenever they are on the internet. Also, it is quite hard to determine the geolocation data if a person is using a third party desktop system to access the internet, like a cyber café. It is quite hard to obtain authentic geolocation data for a person who is using public cyber café to access information on the internet (Upadhyaya, 2002).
In the case of uploading data to servers, desktop systems are superior to mobile based systems. Desktop systems can upload large amount of data and files hence making them more superior. Desktop computers are also fast in data uploading, especially where the desktop system is using faster internet connectivity methods like fiber optics which have a wider bandwidth range.
Mobile based systems are quite limited in-terms of the file size that can be uploaded using such systems. These mobile based systems are also quite slow in uploading customer data. This is because, most mobile based system use 3G technologies which have a slow speed and narrow bandwidth range due to its low frequency capabilities (Kamal, 2007).
Benefits to consumers
There are various benefits that are associated with using mobile based applications. The major benefits that a consumer gets from using mobile based systems are reduction in cost, and flexibility.
One major advantage that consumers have obtained from using mobile based system is flexibility. Most consumers prefer systems that are flexible, and allow them to do things at their own comfort and pleasure. Mobile based systems provide a high sense of flexibility because they allow users to upload and view their data at any time of the day, anywhere without any restriction. Mobile systems in most cases require the GSM network which in most cases is provided for by the service provider in abundance (Taniar, 2009).
Another advantage that consumers get by using mobile based systems is the cost reduction. By using mobile based systems, consumers are able to save a substantial amount of internet costs. Some mobile based systems provide free applications that allow users to access data, and create their own accounts and even store some data on such platforms free of charge. Mobile based systems provide a cheaper way of accessing customer data as opposed to using desktop systems (Upadhyaya, 2002).
Challenges facing the development of mobile systems
The major challenges facing the development of applications that run on mobile devices that have a small screen area are interactivity and multi-functioning capabilities of the application.
Interactivity will determine the level of user interaction with the application. Most developers of mobile based systems are forced to develop systems that offer less interactivity to the user since mobile devices have limited screen size. This leads to development of applications that do not offer a high level of interactivity to the user (Kamal, 2007).
Multi-functioning capabilities of an application can be defined as the ability of an application to support many other applications. Most mobile based systems do not have the multifunctional capabilities, and if they have, then, the multi-functions are limited (Taniar, 2009).
For example, a good application should have many functions capabilities like providing hyperlinks to other sections in the application, play video, provide pop-up menus and options. Most mobile based systems lack this capabilities because of the limited screen are size. Hence the limited screen area of mobile devices limits the ability to create mobile applications that have a high level of interactivity, and support many functions (Kamal, 2007).
Methods to decide which platform to support
There are various methods that can be used to determine which platform to support. The major methods being the cost implication and the technology level of the platform.
Various platforms have different technology capabilities. The higher the level of technology, the more efficient and reliable is the platform. For example, most users prefer platforms that will more or less provide the same functionality as a desktop based system; hence they will prefer windows based mobile system (Kamal, 2007).
Another method that can be used to determine the platform to support is cost implication method. Consumers prefer platforms that are cheaper and cost effective. They will therefore prefer cheaper methods that provide more functionality at an affordable rate. Hence, the cost of the platform is another method that can be considered in determining the platform to be used (Kamal, 2007).
High level availability
Most mobile based system users require a high level of availability because most of them need to access IS as well as IT systems. The high level of availability can be seen in various dimensions including but not limited to the following; availability of network, availability of customer care, availability of service provider services like balance querying, top up services, as well as money transfer services.
This wide range of customer requirements underpins the fact that mobile system based users require a high level of availability to access IT and IS systems (Upadhyaya, 2002).
Ways of ensuring a high level of availability
There are various ways through which service providers and relevant stakeholders can ensure a high level of availability to end users. Such methods include but not limited to the following; setting up various customer contacts centers, updating the IS and IT systems, and ensuring the network is always up (Upadhyaya, 2002).
Setting up customer contact centers
Customer contact centers are an effective way of ensuring that customer queries are attended to, and addressed appropriately. There are some customer complaints that can only be addressed and solved by a customer contact center.
For example, if a customer’s mobile equipment is damaged, it can only be replaced and repaired by a customer care agent. Also, incases where physical contact and persuasion is required, then customer contacts are an ideal solution. Customer contact centers will ensure that help is always available to end users whenever they require any assistance (Kamal, 2007).
Updating the IT and IS systems
Upgrading an organizations IT and IS systems will ensure that there is a high level of availability in the sense that, most systems will be automated. The automation of such systems will ensure that customers are served very fast and that there is high service delivery. Hence upgrading the IT and IS systems will increase availability because most of the organizations services will be available and accessed in a faster manner whenever they are needed by a user (Kamal, 2007).
Ensuring the network is always up
Another way to ensure that there is availability is to ensure that the mobile network is always up. This will ensure that subscribers are kept online almost throughout and are able to access some of the network supported applications. For example, if the mobile network is always up, subscribers are assured that they can access some services like airtime top-up at any time. A good network uptime is good because in ensures the availability of network supported services to end users (Kamal, 2007).
Making mobile devices more secure
Mobile devices are the most vulnerable devices towards the hacking threat. More security measures have to be put in place in order to guarantee safer use of mobile devices. There are various ways through which the safety of devices can be achieved; they include the following methods (Kamal, 2007):
- Keep the mobile phone device updated. A user should constantly check the manufacturer’s website for any security updates. These should be checked from time to time.
- Avoid free offers. A user should avoid free offers like programs that offer free ringtone downloads. Such downloads may contain malware which can damage the mobile phone.
- Do not provide financial information on untrusted source. Some internet sources that are accessed on a mobile phone will require a user to enter their credit card number details. Such schemes are fraud schemes with an intention of freezing user’s bank account.
In conclusion, the advances that are being in the mobile computing technology have brought some advantages with it. The business sector is one of those sectors that have largely benefited from these advances. Also, the social media are one of the sectors that have erupted due to the developments in the mobile computing technologies.
There exist some challenges facing the mobile computing technologies. One such major threat is the security threat which undermines the security of customer data. The relevant stakeholders should take relevant measures to ensure that the security of mobile devices is improved.
Also, the limited screen area of most mobile computing devices creates a limitation to the functionality of the applications developed. Hence, manufacturers of most of the mobile devices should take the necessary steps to improve on the design of mobile devices.
Kamal, R. (2007). Mobile computing. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Taniar, D. (2009). Mobile computing: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. Hershey, Pa: Information Science Reference.
Upadhyaya, S. (2002). Mobile computing: Implementing pervasive information and Communications technologies. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.