Mobile devices to run advanced enterprise applications within five years, experts say

Mobile devices such as PDAs and phones could run advanced enterprise software applications within the next five years as data transfer speeds rise, according to experts at this year's Mobile World Congress Show.

Mobile devices such as PDAs and phones could run advanced enterprise software applications within the next five years as data transfer speeds rise, according to experts at this year's Mobile World Congress Show.

Windsor Holden, an analyst with Juniper Research, said that the widespread penetration of 3G devices - devices which are able to connect to the internet and transfer large amounts of data - is likely to increase the adoption of mobile services by both businesses and consumers.

The growth of High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) in the UK in particular is likely to allow businesses to port their current applications on to mobile devices, said Martin Garner, mobile practice leader at Ovum.

"HSDPA will provide a user experience close to users' expectations of broadband, and flat-rate pricing gives businesses more confidence in their bill. As a result, USB modems for 3G are selling fast in many countries and data traffic is rising very quickly on the networks. This, in turn, encourages operators to push on with building out their networks and business to invest in the technology for mobile workforces," he said.

Field service and field sales automation, as well as access to enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems, are the first wave of applications that businesses could be deployed on mobile devices in the next five years, according to Gartner.

"Mobile applications could be very successful, including those that support service-based roles or inspection processes, such as field engineering, sales forces or health visitors," said Nick Jones, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

But a key challenge in enabling enterprise software applications to run across a mobile platform remains guaranteeing quality of service, according to the GSM Association.

The GSM Association, a mobile standards industry body, announced that the IPX standard would soon be ready to help overcome this obstacle. When IPX is fully established, it will enable mobile operators and other service providers to exchange internet protocol based traffic - including person-to-person communications and content - securely and with a guaranteed quality of service.

Open to any company willing to adopt the necessary technical and commercial principles, the IPX is a private global IP backbone designed specifically to provide guaranteed levels of quality of service and security.

"The open internet is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to providing a guaranteed quality of service, particularly for time-critical services, there is still a long way to go," said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer of the GSMA.

Tony Cripps, senior analyst at Ovum, said that aplications such as e-mail are working very well on devices such as Blackberrys and work acceptably even on slower data transfer standards such as GPRS. But applications that deal with large file, such as ERP and CRM, require faster data transfer rates.




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