Mobile Computing's 10 Most Important Trends
"Trend gazing is a favorite
pastime of industry watchers. To keep up with these industry Joneses, MobileInfo
must stick its neck out." - Chander Dhawan, Managing Editor of
According to our crystal ball (made out of a piece
of hazy glass), Mobile computing market will be characterized by the following trends
(predictions made in 1999, but good for the next 3-5 years):
- Convergence of wireless data and computing will lead to
significant innovations in pervasive computing that will give us true anywhere, anytime,
any device access to information. Intersection of the Internet, PDAs/Win CE devices,
new breed of smart telephones, unified messaging and personal productivity applications
lead to inevitable interaction of these personal productivity applications with enterprise
applications, This will give true meaning to mobility in the pervasive computing
- The Internet and web will play increasing role in mobile
application design, development and supporting infrastructure.
- The big action during the next few years will be in horizontal
applications, especially internet-based wireless messaging. After a long wait and many
false starts, this sector of mobile computing is ready to take off.
- Vertical industries, such as public safety, transportation,
utilities, field-service dispatch, health-care, courier, personal financial services,
field data collection and cellemetry will continue to be attractive business opportunities
for operational and "line of business" mobile applications.
- More and more turn-key vertical industry solutions will emerge
from third party application houses. These solutions will be based on software
application components designed for a specific industry but capable of being customized
for a specific customer - deja vu.
- Mobile computing solution designers will have greater choice
for enduser devices with both full-function Windows 95/2000/NT devices competing against
cheaper and smaller but less functional Win CE/PalmOS compatible devices for personal and
simple data collection applications. Convergence of telephone and personal organizer
devices will happen during 2000-2002 timeframe.
- Wireline network solutions will supplement the use of
wide-area wireless networks for transfer of field data into corporate systems. Many of the
existing public wide-area wireless networks (Motient, Bell South's RAM Mobile Data -Mobitex,
CDPD, NexTel, and NPCS -narrow-band PCS) will continue to proliferate during the next five
years. Wideband PCS for data applications will take hold only
with third generation wireless networks, according to our estimates after year 2004.
Justify your mobile computing applications spread in wide areas on the basis of these
networks. Pricing model for public wireless networks will be based on the Internet
and paging pricing model - x dollars per month per user for up to y messages.
- There will be decreasing emphasis on private wireless
networks, except by some very large users, such as Fedex, who may employ private CDPD
networks for their exclusive use. For most of us, shared public networks is the way to go.
- The last mile wireless problem for fast data access (56 Kbps
and above) will be solved from ubiquitous infrastructure availability perspective only in
the next millennium. A number of potential technologies, such as LMDS and wireless
MAN (a la Metricom) are promising, it will take a while before this becomes a pervasive
- Data filtering technology from internet content providers will
provide urgent e-mail and business information packets to users anywhere, anytime but
widespread use of the Internet for wireless browsing will stay as an uneconomic
proposition for most users - partially because of the cost but also because most airport
lounges are finding it cheaper to offer land-line access. - Chander
Dhawan, the Editor