Mobile Computing - Quick Guide
Mobile Computing is a technology that allows transmission of data, voice and video via a computer or any other wireless enabled device without having to be connected to a fixed physical link. The main concept involves:
The mobile communication in this case, refers to the infrastructure put in place to ensure that seamless and reliable communication goes on. These would include devices such as Protocols, Services, Bandwidth, and Portals necessary to facilitate and support of the stated services. The data format is also defined at this stage. This ensures that there is no collision with other existing systems which offer the same service.
Since the media is unguided/unbounded, the overlaying infrastructure is more of radio wave oriented. That is, the signals are carried over the air to intended devices that are capable of receiving and sending similar kinds of signals.
Mobile hardware includes mobile devices or device components that receive or access the service of mobility. They would range from Portable laptops, Smartphones, Tablet Pc's, Personal Digital Assistants.
These devices will have receptor medium that are capable of sensing and receiving signals. These devices are configured to operate in full- duplex, whereby they are capable of sending and receiving signals at the same time. They don't have to wait until one device has finished communicating for the other device to initiate communications.
Above mentioned devices use an existing and established network to operate on. In most cases, it would be a wireless network.
Mobile software is the actual program that run on the mobile hardware. It deals with the characteristics and requirements of mobile applications. This is the engine of that mobile device. In other terms, it is the operating system of that appliance. It's the essential component that makes the mobile device operate.
Since portability is the main factor, this type of computing ensures that users are not tied or pinned to a single physical location, but are able to operate from anywhere. It will incorporate all aspects of wireless communications.
Mobile Computing Current Trends
In today's computing world, different technologies have come up. These have grown to support existing computer networks all over the world. With mobile computing, we find that the need to be confined within one physical location has been eradicated. We hear of terms such as tele commuting. This is being able to work from home or the field but at the same time accessing resources as if one is in the office.
The emergence of portable computers and laptops, personal digital Assistants (PDA), PC Tablets and Smartphones, has in turn made mobile computing very convenient. The portability of the devices ensures and enables user to access all services as if they were in the internal network of their company. For example, the use of Tablet Pc and Ipads. This new technology enables users to update documents, surf the internet, send and receive e-mail, stream live video files, take photographs and also support video and voice conferencing.
The constant and ever increasing demand for superior and robust smart devices has been as a catalyst for market share. Each manufacturer is trying to curve a niche of themselves in the market. These devices are invented and innovated to provide top of the class applications and services. With cellular phones, different manufacturers have come up with unique Smartphones that are capable of performing the same tasks as computers and at the same processing speed. The market share for different competitors is constantly being fought for. For example the manufacturers of Apple's Iphone OS, Google's Android' Microsoft Windows Mobile, Research In Motion's Blackberry OS, are constantly competing to offer better products with each release.
The need for better, portable, affordable, and robust has also made these vendors to constantly be innovative. Market figure and statistics show an ever rapidly growing need to purchase and use such devices for either professional or home use. Since technology is driven by market needs, it's in this light that services suited for a long term implementation are developed or innovated. This has also pushed other industry vendors to adopt services that will provide better service delivery. For example, cellular service providers are forced to improve and be innovative to capture more subscribers. This can be in terms of superior services such as high speed internet and data access, voice and video service etc. hence the adoption of different generations of networks like of 2G, 2.5G, 3G, 4G networks services.
The essence of mobile computing is to work from any location. The use of Ipads, Tablets, Smartphones, and notes books, have in turn pushed the demand for these devices. Modern day workers have such devices that enable them carry out their work from the confines or comfort of their present location. These devices are configured to access and store large amounts of vital data. Executive and top management can act of decisions based of ready information without going to the office. For example, sales reports and market forecasts can be accessed through this devices or meeting carried out via video or audio conferencing through the device. With such features being high in demand, manufacturers are always and constantly coming up with applications geared to supporting different service delivery in terms of mobile computing.
Mobile Computing Classification
Mobile computing is not limited to Mobile Phones only, but also there are various gadgets available in the market helping mobile computing. They are usually classified in the following categories:
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
The main purpose of this device was to act as an electronic organizer or day planner that is portable, easy to use and. capable of sharing information with your with a computer systems.
PDA was an extension of the PC, not a replacement. These systems were capable of sharing information with a computer system through a process or service known as synchronization. Where both devices will access each other to check for changes or updates in the individual devices. The use of infrared and Bluetooth connections enabled these devices to always be synchronized.
With PDA devices, a user could; browsers the internet, listen to audio clips, watch video clips, edit and modify office documents, and many more services. They had a stylus and a touch sensitive screen for input and output purposes.
This kind of phone combines the features of a PDA with that of a mobile phone or camera phone. It has a superior edge over other kinds of mobile phones.
Smartphone have the capability to run multiple programs concurrently. These phones include high-resolution touch enabled screens, web browsers that can access and properly display standard web pages rather than just mobile-optimized sites, and high-speed data access via Wi-Fi and high speed cellular broadband.
The most common mobile operating systems (OS) used by modern Smartphones include Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry OS, Samsung's Bada, Microsoft's Windows Phone, and embedded Linux distributions such as Maemo and MeeGo. Such operating systems can be installed on many different phone models, and typically each device can receive multiple OS software updates over its lifetime.
Tablet PC and I-Pads
This mobile device is larger than a mobile phone or a personal Digital Assistant and integrates into a touch screen and operated using touch sensitive motions on the screen. They are often controlled by a pen or touch of a finger. They are usually in slate form and are light in weight. Examples would include; Ipads, Galaxy Tabs, Blackberry Playbooks etc.
They offer the same functionality as portable computers. They support mobile computing to a far superior way and have enormous processing horse power. User can edit and modify document files, access high speed internet, stream video and audio data, receive and send e-mails, perform lectures and presentations among very many other functions. They have excellent screen resolution and clarity.
Mobile Computing Major Advantages
Mobile computing has changed the complete landscape of human being life. Following are the clear advantages of Mobile Computing:
This has enabled user to work from anywhere as long as there is a connection established. A user can work without being in a fixed position. Their mobility ensures that they are able to carry out numerous tasks at the same time perform their stated jobs.
The time consumed or wasted by travelling from different locations or to the office and back, have been slashed. One can now access all the important documents and files over a secure channel or portal and work as if they were on their computer. It has enhanced telecommuting in many companies. This also reduces unnecessary expenses that might be incurred.
Productive nature has been boosted by the fact that a worker can simply work efficiently and effectively from which ever location they see comfortable and suitable. Users are able to work with comfortable environments.
Ease of research
Research has been made easier, since users will go to the field and search for facts and feed them back to the system. It has also made it easier for field officer and researchers to collect and feed data from wherever they without making unnecessary trip to and from the office to the field.
Video and audio recordings can now be streamed on the go using mobile computing. It's easy to access a wide variety of movies, educational and informative material. With the improvement and availability of high speed data connections at considerable costs, one is able to get all the entertainment they want as they browser the internet for streamed data. One can be able to watch news, movies, and documentaries among other entertainment offers over the internet. This was not such before mobile computing dawned on the computing world.
Streamlining of Business Processes
Business processes are now easily available through secured connections. Basing on the factor of security, adequate measures have been put in place to ensure authentication and authorization of the user accessing those services.
Some business functions can be run over secure links and also the sharing of information between business partners. Also it's worth noting that lengthy travelling has been reduced, since there is the use of voice and video conferencing.
Meetings, seminars and other informative services can be conducted using the video and voice conferencing. This cuts down on travel time and expenditure.
Mobile Computing Security Issues
Mobile computing has its fair share of security concerns as any other technology. Due to their nomadic nature, it's not easy to monitor the proper usage. User might have different intentions on how to utilize this privilege. Improper and unethical practices such as hacking, industrial espionage, pirating, online fraud and malicious destruction are some but few of the problems experienced by mobile computing.
Another big problem plaguing mobile computing is credential verification. It's not possible to that the person using that person is the true barrier. Other users share username and passwords. This is also a major threat to security. This being a very sensitive issue, most companies are very reluctant to implement mobile computing to the dangers of misrepresentation.
The problem of identity theft is very difficult to contain or eradicate. Issues with unauthorized access to data and information by hackers, is also a plaguing problem. They gain access to steal vital data from companies. This problem has been a major headache and hindrance in rolling out mobile computing services.
No company wants to lay open their secrets to hacker and other intruders, who will in terms sell them to their competitors. It's also important to take the necessary precautions to minimize these threats from taking place. Some of those measures include:
Hiring qualified personnel.
Installing Security Hardware and Software.
Educating the Users on proper Mobile computing ethics.
Auditing and developing sound, effective policies to govern mobile computing.
Enforcing proper access rights and permissions.
These are just but a few ways to help deter possible threats to any company planning to offer mobile computing. Since information is vital, all possible measures should be evaluated and implemented for safeguard purposes.
In the absence of such measures, it's possible for exploits and other unknown threats to infiltrate and cause irrefutable harm that would cost a huge of damage. These maybe in terms of reputation or financial penalties. In such cases, it's very easy to be misused in different unethical practices.
The other issue would be online security. If this factor isn't properly worked on, it might be an avenue for constant threat. Theft and Espionage can be also another fact limiting its full utilization. Various threats to security still exist in implementing this kind of technology.
Mobile Computing Future Trends
This chapter will list down current and future mobile technologies starting from 3G technologies which is the hotest mobile technology available in the market.
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. Application services include wide-area wireless voice telephone, mobile Internet access, video calls and mobile TV, all in a mobile environment.
GPS (Global Positioning System)
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The GPS program provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world. In addition, GPS is the backbone for modernizing the global air traffic system, weather, location services.
Long Term Evolution (LTE)
LTE is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques. Its related with the implementation of forth Generation (4G) technology.
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless communications standard designed to provide 30 to 40 megabit-per-second data rates, with the latest update providing up to 1 Gbit/s for fixed stations. It is a part of a fourth generation, or 4G, of wireless-communication technology. WiMax far surpasses the 30-metre wireless range of a conventional Wi-Fi local area network (LAN), offering a metropolitan area network with a signal radius of about 50 km.WiMax offers data-transfer rates that can be superior to conventional cable-modem and DSL connections, however, the bandwidth must be shared among multiple users and thus yields lower speeds in practice.
Near Field Communication
Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for Smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters. Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi. Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a "tag".
Mobile Computing Conclusion
Today's computing has rapidly grown from being confined to a single location. With mobile computing, people can work from the comfort of any location they wish to as long as the connection and the security concerns are properly factored. In the same light, the presence of high speed connections has also promoted the use of mobile computing.
Being an ever growing and emerging technology, mobile computing will continue to be a core service in computing and Information Communication and Technology.