An IBM perspective: Shamim Shahriar Hossain,
IBM Consulting IT Architect
Mobile Cloud Computing
Brick and mortar stores are not the only ways to interact with customers. More and more businesses are offering omni-channel solutions to engage customers and enhance their level of satisfaction. Obviously mobile is a key channel to achieve this. Combine mobile technologies with cloud computing and you get a very powerful catalyst to boost your business, known as mobile cloud computing.
Mobile cloud computing is an architectural pattern where data storage and CPU intensive tasks are performed on cloud and mobile devices are mainly used as a thin client to interact with the application and rendering the results processed from the cloud. As mobile devices are constrained by storage, battery life and processing power, this architecture relieves mobile devices from the heavy lifting activities.
Some of the attributes of cloud computing, such as rapid elasticity and on-demand and automatic scalability, make sure that the required computing and storage will be provisioned as needed. The "computing" component of the cloud consists of a number of pre-configured, pre-built and scalable services for consumption with mobile applications. Cloud runtimes are also offered as a mechanism to offload business logic from mobile devices. All these services and runtimes fit within the cloud platform as a service (PaaS) model, and are collectively known as mobile backend as a service (MBaaS).
It is important to know that mobile applications exist in three different flavors. Native mobile applications are for specific operating systems or platforms (iOS or Android) that can access device-specific features like GPS, a compass, camera, accelerometer, and other sensors. These applications are downloaded from an "app store" to be installed on the device. Mobile web applications or responsive web are typically composed using HTML5, CSS3, frameworks like JQuery Mobile, Twitter Bootstrap, Meteor.js and others. These run from web browsers on mobile device using Internet connection and do not require any installation. Mobile web apps cannot access all device specific features like native apps. Hybrid mobile applications are a combination of the above two types. Like native apps, these are also available from an "app store" and are downloaded to the device. These apps are generally composed using HTML5 and CSS3. But there are device specific wrappers or tools like IBM MobileFirst Platform, PhoneGap or Cordova, which allow the apps work in cross platforms. Hybrid mobile applications are gaining popularity due to the fact that one can reduce development cost by eliminating the need to code for each separate platform.
You need a mobile strategy along with your cloud journey map to gain competitive advantage and stay ahead of the competition.