Future of mobility

Intel's Taha Khalifa on how portable devices are transforming communications
Touchscreen mobile devices are transforming the way people communicate.
Touchscreen mobile devices are transforming the way people communicate.


Mobility – for all its development and integration into our everyday lives – remains somewhat of a mystery term for a lot of consumers. Mobility encompasses a multitude of technologies under a very wide umbrella, including mobile communications, mobile devices and mobile software.

The development of mobile computing over the past decade has given rise to a large number of devices that make our lives easier, including smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks that offer users more processing power, longer battery life and a wider range of services than ever before.

The benefits of mobility are not just limited to smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks. They have a far wider effect, providing people in remote areas and in developing countries with access to mobile healthcare and mobile banking, in turn making a tangible impact in people’s lives.

The concept of mobility is all about providing a product that is not only smaller, but one that has more computing power and a longer battery life. Intel, for example, was the driving force behind the development of the highly portable Ultrabook category.

Similarly, smartphones are the epitome of mobility and have become the standard piece of equipment for work and play. 2012 saw the introduction of the first smartphones with Intel Inside across key high-growth markets, with several more devices shipping in the first part of 2013.

The company is investing heavily in the development of Intel Atom processors, specifically for smartphones. These chips bring exceptional performance to smartphones, without compromising on power consumption and battery life, allowing for a great user experience.

Network agility

Another evolution in the mobility space is the development of innovative products that make use of networks such as LTE and technologies that rely on new mobile computing developments such as M2M communication. This allows devices to communicate with each other using the transmission of data over wired and wireless networks, benefiting industries such as automotive and healthcare by allowing consumers to monitor their vehicle or have direct access to health reports.

Mobile devices have become increasingly popular as they enable new experiences on the go, both creative and immersive, functional and efficient. In developing countries around the world, mobile devices are also allowing people to access information that they have never had access to, as well as providing them with basic life-changing services such as mobile healthcare and mobile banking. In Africa, for example, mobile penetration went from 2% in the year 2000, to an estimated 73% in 2012, accounting for 735 million users. This is projected to reach 85% penetration in the next three years, up to 910 million users by 2015.

For corporations, the implications are even more far reaching. IT consumerisation is a significant trend that is transcending both industry and geographical boundaries. As a result, many industries are more willing to invest in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, allowing employees to use their own devices for work and potentially increasing productivity and cost effectiveness, which translate to better business productivity.

In a corporate world, delivery of services and content remotely and instantly is key. The combination of mobile devices and the cloud is a logical progression in enterprise mobility. Though still in its infancy in the region, cloud presents companies with a tremendous opportunity to deliver on the innovation promise through scalability, agility and better ROI.

With the growing mobility base thanks to devices such as smartphones, the effectiveness of cloud becomes even clearer, allowing for the storing, sharing and consumption of resources and data quicker and easier, and at much less cost.

So, what’s next? Mobility, BYOD and the cloud have changed the IT landscape forever for both consumers and enterprise. Thanks to mobile devices, people now have access to the world’s services in the palm of their hands, be it banking, healthcare or just general data consumption.

The increase in mobility has also given rise to more complex network infrastructures as companies adapt to cope with increased consumer and corporate demands. With BYOD coming into play, cloud became the most effective way of securely sharing content over networks the world over.

What can we expect next? Yankee Group analyst Chris Marsh said his data suggests that people prefer laptops over desktops and smartphones over tablets for tasks ranging from mobile banking to social communication.

The BYOD trend is likely to increase in scale, and more than half of corporations will start looking at the cloud as a viable source of mobile application deployment.

In short, mobility shows no signs of slowing down. Consumers and enterprises both want products that let them do more, more easily, in less time and without spending too much money. Mobility, in all of its various forms, is the answer.

Taha Khalifa is regional general manager at Intel MENA.


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