Mobile Computing And Business Information Technology Essay
Executive Summary pg 3
Introduction pg 4
Mobile History pg 4
Mobile Computing and Business pg 7
The Mobile Web pg 12
Mobile Security pg 14
The Future of Mobile Computing pg 16
Conclusion pg 19
Works Cited pg 20
Introduction: Wireless devices. Highlight history, and how mobile computing is implemented in business.
Mobile History: Mobile computing started in the 1970s and 1980s when a man designed a portable computer for children. Computers have only become smaller and faster.
Mobile Computing & Business: Businesses use remote access software to connect to the office from anywhere within internet connectivity. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is a growing trend in business, benefits and challenges of implementing a BYOD policy will be discussed in detail.
The Mobile Web: As mobile devices have become increasingly more capable, a shift towards using the internet on mobile devices has occurred. Mobile browsers and mobile websites have further increased the accessibility of the internet for mobile devices.
Mobile Security: Just like a computer, it is extremely important to protect mobile devices from threats or viruses. Most mobile devices contain very important and valuable information; it is crucial to know how to protect that information.
The Future of Mobile Computing: There are many planned devices that will change how we view mobile computing. Along with future devices, future technologies and barriers are important topics when discussing the future of mobile computing.
Conclusion: Mobile computing is ever changing; it has evolved drastically over the years and it will continue to evolve as we go into the future. Smaller and faster mobile devices are the future of mobile computing in business.
Gone are the days of being tethered to the wall while using your favorite computing device. In this research paper, we will highlight the history, implementation into business, web and security, and future of mobile computing.
Jesper Kjeldskov wrote a book on mobile computing. In the book he talks about six historical waves of mobile computing. They are portability, miniaturization, connectivity, convergence, divergence, and apps. Most of these were very important steps into what we now consider mobile computing.
Ever since computers came into our existence, people have been trying to make them portable and convenient for us to use. The first portable computer was thought up in the 1970s and 1980s by a man named Alan Kay. He was specifically designing a portable computer for children. However, John Ellenby, founder of GRiD Systems, and others thought that "the customers with the most money and the most demanding need" (Moggridge, 2007) would benefit more from portable computer.
In 1981 Bill Moggridge designed the world’s first laptop computer, the GRiD Compass 1101. It wasn’t a computer for the general public, "It was primarily sold to the U.S. government and was, amongst others, used by NASA on Space Shuttle missions during the early 1980s, and in combat" (Kjeldskov, 2013)
Following the portability era, people started wanting things smaller. Miniaturization started to happen in the early 1990s. Personal Digital Assistants, PDAs, were the new big thing. You could now carry all of your contacts and notes in your pocket. There were two PDAs that came to the market, the first was the Apple Newton in 1992 and then Palm came out with theirs, the PalmPilot, in 1997.
The trick with miniaturization was the coming up with the perfect size and weight of the product. The creator of the PalmPilot, Jeff Hawkins, later explained how he carried blocks of wood with him in different sizes and shapes until he had reached the perfect physical form for the device (Bergman & Haitani, 2000).
The third wave was connectivity. Back in the 1970s, a company called Motorola had patented a wireless mobile phone device. However, the first wireless mobile device didn’t come out until 1983. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Short Message Service (SMS) didn’t come to the mobile phones until the early 1990s. "In the late 1990s, the enormous, and completely unexpected, uptake of SMS inspired attempts to bring the Internet to mobile handsets too" (Kjeldskov, 2013). Following this unexpected uptake, developers were forced to start developing better phones to message people and surf the web. "Nevertheless, mobile phone design in the 1990’s had a fundamental and lasting impact on the future of mobile computing to come" (Kjeldskov, 2013).
The wave of convergence came out in two different phases. The first phase of convergence is where we started seeing what we call smart phones. The first smart phone actually came out back in 1991, the IBM Simon (Kjeldskov, 2013). This was the first phone of its kind to have a full touch screen. In this phase we started seeing hybrid devices coming out, which combines PDAs with mobile devices. People wanted to have a calendar, their contacts, e-mail, and games all on a device that could call people as well as send a SMS.
The second part of convergence is what started giving people the mobile devices we know now. Cameras, voice recording, music players, and high quality mobile phone games came out during this time. "…Smart phones were attractive for business professionals’ work activities and productivity, multimedia phones were attractive for everyday people’s leisure, fun and socializing" (Kjeldskov, 2013). The multimedia phones were being criticized saying that it was "…clumsy technology with a wide range of functions…" (Kjeldskov, 2013). However Kjeldskov’s (2013) opinion on the matter is that mobile devices should be praised for the "creation of something new and (a) hybrid that facilitates use that wasn’t possible before, like for example taking pictures and sharing them immediately with your friends, browsing the Internet on your phone, or purchasing music directly on your iPod".
Following these two phases, the divergence wave came up. This is an interesting phase because this is a phase that is not a technological necessity but a conscious action. The most famous brand to take off during this wave is Apple. The Apple iPod came out in 2001 and at that time all it did was play music. Even though there were different options of mobile devices that already played MP3s, people still wanted a separate device that played their music. "Other diverged mobile devices included video players like the Archos Gmini from 2004, the Sony PSP game and video console, and later versions of the iPod extended with video playback capability, but within the same basic information appliance interaction design" (Kjeldskov, 2013).
Apps were the sixth wave of mobile computing. The appearance of apps helped ease consumers’ use of their smart phones. Business’ went into the app business to help their consumers purchase their products with ease. Apple was the first to initiate apps into their product in 2008. "By 2012, more than 25 billion Apps had been downloaded from a selection of more than 500.000" (Kjeldskov, 2013).
Mobile Computing & Business
Mobile computing in business brings many benefits to the workplace. One software that some businesses have implemented to help with access to the office, is a software called remote access computing. According to techopedia.com, remote access computing is defined as, "the ability to access a computer, such as a home computer or an office network computer, from a remote location." (Janssen, 2013) Remote access computing is another way to be able to get the work done when you can’t make it to the office. Some benefits of remote access computing are reducing car emissions by not having to travel to work, and save gas money.
Depending on a person’s point of view, remote computing can also have some disadvantages. One disadvantage is bringing work home with you. If you are a person that wants to leave work at work and not having to work from home, this is not the software for you. In an article from ezinearticles.com another disadvantage is mentioned, "although a lot of remote access hosting solutions have assured its users full security against theft and loss of data, sometimes a hacker can crack into the system and steal important information. They can even send viruses and other bugs to your system to create havoc." (Presley, 2011) It’s very important to try to keep both devices secure.
According to toptenreviews.com, in a graph shown on their website, when it comes to remote access software, the most expensive is not necessarily the best. (2013 best remote, 2013) Remote Access computing is simple. The way to use remote access computing starts with installing the remote access software on the device that you plan on using whether that be a laptop, personal computer, tablet, or even a smartphone. From your device you are connecting remotely with, you login online on the software’s website and download the software on the remote device, and you are connected! Remote access software helps workers to stay in contact from anywhere with an internet connection. Some companies help ease the burden of workers by not coming to work when ill or other issues by giving access to secure remote connectivity to the work computer from home or while traveling.
Businesses can also use remote computing software as a service, SaaS. Businesses can use mobile computing to help customers solve technical issues, another great benefit. Customers call into the technical support department of the software company regarding a technical issue they are having. If the issue is something that can be solved easily over the phone, the remote access software is not needed. But when the issue is more serious, and as long as the customer has access to the internet, the technical support worker can securely access the customers’ computer. While the technical support worker is on the customers’ computer, the customer can watch and learn what the technical support worker is doing. If the customer just wants the problem fixed, they have no obligation to be present at their computer while the technical support worker is fixing the issue.
Another new idea regarding mobile computing in business is an idea called BYOD, which stands for Bring Your Own Device. What BYOD means is that the employees bring their own mobile devices to work instead of having the business they work for providing the mobile devices. There are benefits and challenges for both the employee and employer. There is also a controversy regarding BYOD. Is BYOD good for business, or is it not? Can businesses maintain a secure network with mobile devices on the network that are not owned by the business?
There are many benefits of implementing a BYOD policy, but only several will be discussed in greater detail. In a study produced by Price Waterhouse Cooper it mentions that employee satisfaction and productivity have been two of the greatest advantages to implementing a BYOD policy. (PWC, 2012) Employees want to use devices that they already are accustomed to using. When an employee who is accustomed to using a Windows operating system on their mobile device is expected to use a Mac operating system, it is difficult. It takes precious working time for employees to change from what they are accustomed to and businesses cannot afford to have precious working time wasted. When employees are in charge of their own devices, they will most likely take better care of them and the devices will be a device that they prefer to work with. This means Apple people will use Apple run mobile devices. Those that prefer Android or Windows run mobile devices will continue using the devices of their choice.
Implementing a BYOD policy helps employees and employers continue to stay busy. Studies done by Intel show BYOD is increasing in popularity and is growing. "Thirty-eight percent of US CIOs were expected to support BYOD by the end of 2012. Eighty-two percent of surveyed companies in 2013 allow some or all workers to use employee-owned devices. Seventy-four percent of IT leaders believe ‘BYOD can help our employees be more productive.’ Forty-nine percent of US IT managers strongly agree that BYOD improves worker productivity." (Intel/ReadWrite, 2013) These numbers are really quite promising when looking at the future of BYOD. Employees will continue to stay connected and still receive real time updates from the business via connection to business network.
Unfortunately there are still some challenges with BYOD implementation. Data Security is always going to be one of the biggest challenges since there are many people worldwide constantly trying to hack into computer networks. Businesses must keep data secure, it is absolutely vital to maintaining a successful business. In an article done by Intel they list some of the main challenges involving security. Unlicensed software, employee-installed applications on employee-owned mobile devices, can violate enterprise license agreements, which could compromise the integrity of the network. Unsecured third-party connections, 3G and 4G LTE connections, can give the device an unmonitored back channel. When employees engage in mobile device usage outside of the business firewall and network, the mobile devices can be easily infected with malware. (Intel, 2013) When shifting from a non-BYOD policy to a BYOD policy it will take some time and new skills that will be required for the IT personnel to learn. It will also offer a major change it culture of the business. No longer will the business provide the mobile devices, this will help the business save some money, and will require employees to use their own funds to purchase personal mobile devices.
Maintaining a secure network has to be the number one priority for any business that wants to be successful. We’ll go back to the article produced by Intel, to discuss in more detail how to maintain a secure network. First, educate employees to understand they need to be smart with their mobile devices at all times, especially when they are not on the business network. Educating employees will help lower risk of security concerns. Educate the employees how to be smart with mobile devices, have meetings where the IT personnel train employees on what to do and what not to do. This will also help reduce costs in the long run. The next step is to secure your data, backing up and encrypting data is vital. A software that can help with security is a software called Virtual Hosted Desktop (VHD). "VHD creates a complete desktop image that includes an operating system, all applications and settings. The hosted desktop can be accessed from any compatible machine, and processing and storage take place on a central server. With enough network bandwidth and powerful hardware, this type of virtualized environment can combine acceptable performance with high-levels of security." (Intel, 2013) The third and final step is, use your hardware, choosing the best hardware to support the security will help decrease the costs of maintenance. (Intel, 2013)
Common mobile devices used in business are laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Each mobile device has its own advantages. Laptops can be used for working on larger software systems and larger files. Laptops can have screens that are as large as 19", which helps those that need larger display. Laptops are getting lighter but still are not as light as tablets. Tablets are easy to use and extremely light. Tablets can be used similar to laptops but do not have a mouse, your finger is used as mouse and the device is touch activated. Tablets also have the feature of being able to use a stylus, which enables you to write text like a pen, when taking notes. Smartphones are lighter than tablets and most have the same features, but smartphones have a smaller screen and you can make calls. Depending on your preference you choose which devices you use.
The Mobile Web
As mobile devices have become increasingly more capable, a shift towards using the internet on mobile devices has occurred. As reinforcement to the shift towards mobile, 50% of the average global mobile web user use their mobile device as either their primary of exclusive means of accessing the internet. (PR Newswire, 2013) The following topics will be focused on: (1) mobile web browsers; (2) mobile specific websites; (3) advantages of the mobile web; and (4) disadvantages of the mobile web.
Mobile devices use mobile browsers to access the internet. A mobile browser is "a web browser designed for the small screens of mobile phones and tablets. Smartphones and tablets come with a web browser; however, third-party browsers may be available. Web browsers, as well as every other smartphone application, are designed for small screens and slower processing speeds compared to desktop and laptop computers." (The Computer Language Company, 2013) There are many mobile browsers to choose from. The most popular mobile web browser is Apple’s Safari which comes standard on all iOS devices. The second most popular browser is Android Browser, which comes standard on all Android devices. This implies that most people prefer to use the mobile browser that comes preinstalled on their mobile devices. (Net Market Share, 2013)
Mobile browsers are able to access and visit virtually any website, but they are usually directed automatically to a mobile specific website. A mobile website is "a website designed for the small screens of mobile phones and tablets." (The Computer Language Company, 2013) Mobile websites are usually designed in a single column style format and are fairly simple in comparison to their full website counterpart. When a mobile website is designed well, the simple design serves the purpose of increasing usability by providing faster load times and only presenting the most essential information.
There are many advantages to the mobile web in comparison to standard websites when being accessed by mobile devices. When success is defined as being able to complete a task, mobile websites have a much higher success rate than standard websites when being accessed by a mobile device. (Nielsen, 2011) It has been found beneficial for companies and businesses to have a well working mobile website, due to many customers wanting to shop online via mobile device. Banking activities on mobile devices have become increasingly popular with over 50% of mobile users performing banking activities on their mobile devices. (Keynote, 2012 ) Having a mobile ready website allows customers to check accounts, perform transactions, and even deposit checks on-the-go. The mobile web serves its purpose well and provides users with a much better on the go experience than traditional websites.
While the mobile web has continued to develop, there are still many issues and bugs to be fixed. The most common issues are as follows: (1) web pages slow to load; (2) websites not optimized for smartphones; (3) loading errors/couldn’t open a page; (4) difficult to interact with a web page; (5) navigation on a site was difficult; (6) difficult to read web page on device; and (7) website didn’t have the functionality expected. (Keynote, 2012) Although it seems there are many issues, most users continue to use the mobile web. The convenience of having the internet on the fly seems to outweigh the inconsistent issues that users experience with the mobile web.
Just like a computer, it is extremely important to protect mobile devices from threats or viruses. Most mobile devices contain very important and valuable information. Some examples of information or data that a mobile device may contain or have access to would be pictures, videos, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. It is essential to protect the data on mobile devices from software and physical threats. Due to the portability and smaller sizes of mobile devices, they are more at risk of being misplaced or stolen. Whatever the case may be, having a back up of all data and being able to erase the device remotely will save a user a lot of trouble.
Services and apps like Find My iPhone, Where’s My Droid, and Plan B are available just in case a mobile device is missing or suspected to have been stolen. Each application allows the user to contact their missing mobile device, receive its current location, lock the device, and even erase all data on the device. An application or service like the previously mentioned can help to ease the mind of mobile users by keeping data secure and enabling the user to find their device in a timely manner.
Other than physical threats, there are many software threats. Mobile devices are susceptible to their own versions of trojans, spyware, riskware, monitoring-tools, etc. Just like a desktop computer, measures should be taken to prevent attacks from such software threats to ensure the safety of data and other sensitive information. The operating system that a mobile device uses may also increase the risk. With over 301 families and variants of mobile threats, 79% are designed to affect Android OS. (F-Secure, 2012) This does not mean that every other mobile operating system is risk free, but Android users should be extra careful to keep their devices secure.
Upon being educated about mobile threats, a mobile user may wonder what to do to keep their device and data secure. The following are the best practices to assure safety from mobile threats:
Never leave device unattended
Lock device with a password
Install apps from trusted sources
Keep system updates
Avoid using public wifi
Always log out of banking and shopping sites/apps
Never store personal information
Don’t click on links or attachments in text or email
Block SMS Billing
Install a Mobile Security App
The Future of Mobile Computing
There are many planned devices that will change how we view mobile computing. Two of those specific devices, the Apple iWatch and Google Glass, will be discussed in this section.
Apple, the technological giant, has not officially announced the iWatch. In fact, the name "iWatch" is just a common speculation for what the product will actually be named. However, it is a commonly known fact that Apple is working on such a product. If there is no announcement from Apple, how can we be certain that the watch-product is even real? According to Bloomberg, a trusted information and news provider, "Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad" (Burrows and Kharif, 2013). Bloomberg was not alone in breaking the story. In fact, within a matter of one week, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal joined Bloomberg in sharing stories and information about Apple’s rumored product. Because three major news companies received information via a "leak" in such close succession, a red flag was set off with one writer at Forbes magazine. In an article, Nigam Arora (2013) notes that "The fact that more details than usual have appeared in American media indicates the likelihood that Apple is planting the story about iWatch". Apple has also filed for multiple patents.
The watch from Apple will likely have an operating system and will have functions like Bluetooth, Maps, and a health monitoring system, according to techradar.com’s writer Gary Marshall. When released, the watch will enter a market that already has functioning "smart watches" by Nike and Sony. Overall, the entire project is shrouded in mystery, and will continue to be until information is released by Apple.
Google Glass is Google’s new "augmented reality" gadget. It is a headset that has a small display device in front of the right eye. Over the right temple is a touch-pad. Google hasn’t been quiet about this project. In fact, in early January, the co-founder of Google, Sergery Brin, was spotted on the NYC Subway wearing the device (Arthur, 2013). Currently, there is a beta-testing process going on. Google chose 8,000 people to test this product by holding a #ifihadglass contest. Fortunately, the rest of the public shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to try it out, as most people guess that it will be available by the end of 2013 (Forbes, 2013).
Glass introduces something new to the mobile computing field. It offers a voice-recognition software that allows the user to take pictures, video, send messages, real-time video chat, and many other things (Google, 2013).
In the 1970’s and 80’s, a man named Dr. K Eric Drexler "popularized the word ‘nanotechnology’" (CRN, 2002). He asserted that there could be operating machines that were built in terms of molecules. Most people disregarded his claims. However, by the year 1992, his doctoral thesis-turned book, entitled Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery Manufacturing and Computation won the Best Computer Science Book of 1992 (Wikipedia, 2013).
Before one understands nanotechnology, one must know what a nanometer is. It is simply one billionth of a meter. The government organization for nanotechnology defines nanotechnology as the following: "Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications." Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale." (Nano.gov, 2013).
How does this apply to mobile computing? The answer is simple. With the ability to build machines on the nanotechnic level, developers can create smaller and faster computers. One of the immediate implementations will be in the silicon transistors within your computer. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg believe carbon nanotubes can replace these transistors. "A carbon nanotube is a molecule in form of a hollow cylinder with a diameter of around a nanometer (roughly 1/50,000 of the width of a human hair) which consists of pure carbon. Some carbon nanotubes are semiconducting, and this means that they can be used in transistors" (Univ. of Gothenburg, 2010). This would result in a smaller system, less emissions, and faster speeds. Replacing silicon transistors is only the beginning to what this emerging technology will be able to do for mobile computing.
The most common and obvious barrier to mobile computing, is the lack of consistent connectivity. Though there have been large improvements in this field with mobile networks such as 3G and 4G, it is still common to be in a place without the ability to connect to the internet. There are large companies who are trying to effectively solve this problem.
Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google recently said on his Google+ account, "For every person online, there are two who are not. By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected." Google is certainly doing its part by joining the internet provider race. Google recently started its "Google Fiber" service in Kansas City. Within the past month, two more cities were announced to host the service: Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. What makes this service so new and revolutionary, is that Google will be offering a free version of their internet service. For only a small installation and activation fee, the customer will pay nothing for free internet (between 5 and 10 Mbps speed) for at least 7 years (Google, 2013). Google Fiber is also the first provider to offer a 1Gbps speed.
Within a few years, the world will be increasingly more connected. It will only be easier for people with mobile devices to be connected to the internet. Though many people disagree with Eric Schmidt about the timeline, there is no doubt that there will be internet in every corner of the earth in the foreseeable future.
Mobile computing is ever changing; it has evolved drastically over the years and will continue to evolve as we go into the future. When we look at where mobile computing was when it began in the 1970’s as a toy computer for children, it could only get better. Not only do we have laptops that are wireless, we also have phones and other wireless devices that are wirelessly connected to the internet. Mobile computing is always used in business, the days of paper are rapidly disappearing. Smaller and faster mobile devices are the future of mobile computing in business.