Friday, 20 February 2009

The Future's mobile

Had a great session yesterday looking at future mobile and wireless developments with Gartner Analyst Nick Jones. Very interesting - and lots of things to think about as we continue to develop our strategy in this area. The sheer number of mobile phones being shipped at the moment - and their variety - makes application development for them and support a challenge. There are several models. Corporate - everyone given the same device, which are fully supported. So you get access to corporate applications and good support, but no flexibility. Or you can go for appliance support - everyone can use what device they want, and they accept a lower level of support and access to fewer applications. The third is of course is you can have what you want - but at a price!

Wireless changes will give us a number of challenges, particularly the move to 802.11n standard, which is not an upgrade but will require new access points. Lots of exciting developments on the cards as speeds get faster, and Bluetooth develops. Low-energy Bluetooth which will be available in the next two years will enable Bluetooth technology to be used on devices that require less energy than mobile phones or PCs, such as watches and heart-rate monitors. So, when someone rings your phone, you'll be able to look at your watch to see who's calling.

There'll also be a high-speed Bluetooth which will enable us to zap data around our devices - for example mp3 files from a PC to a phone, or bulk downloads of pictures quickly from a digital camera to a computer.

There's also some great little projectors under development - pico projectors - which will eventually be embedded in mobile devices - great for projecting your small display onto a table or a presentation onto a wall.

Lots of other interesting things on the horizon - flexible screens, location and presence awareness and mobile web.

There's a recent Gartner report on technologies to watch which is summarised here. If you want to read the full report (and you're at Sheffield Uni), you can look at it through the Gartner Research Channel in MUSE.

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