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Future of Mobility and its Impact to Cloud
Irena Bojanova
MAR 28, 2014 04:30 AM
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IT Professional ConferenceMay 22, 2014, at NIST
Organized by: IEEE Computer Society’s IT Professional magazine
Co-sponsored by: IEEE Computer Society, NIST, and Noblis

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painting of cowboy wrangling wild horses

It's the High-Tech Wild, Wild West out there!

The Cloud Computing marketplace is not so chaotic anymore, but it is still:

  • Exciting
  • Fast-growing
  • Full of opportunities

This week, I had the honor of co-hosting the “Future of Mobility and its Impact to Cloud” breakout session at The Intersection of Cloud and Mobility Forum, which attracted more than 50 government and business experts in the fields of cloud, mobility, and measurement. Here I share some of my presentation main points, and the brainstorming questions.

Wearables, Scannables, Drivables, Flyables

Did your pill just call you?—Don’t be surprised! It all is coming in full speed. We will be able to monitor our health through wearables, get our houses on the phone, use human body for data transmission, and sense the environment. So:

Drivables, flyables, scannables, and wearables are increasingly around us—please see Figure 1.   Have you looked at the Google driveless car. Is this a car or a computer on four wheels that will soon start taking orders and restocking supplies? Drones are not a sci-fi either anymore. In public safety and disaster relief they facilitate aerial video coverage and provide first-aid supplies in challenging conditions. They are about to revolutionize agriculture pinpointing potential crop damage early on through GPS-enabled photos. In sports and entertainment they help broadcast to an audience and provide insights for training through unique angles of view. And, we are already use to scanning for information on nutrition, products, and price; and being scanned through generated codes for boarding passes, tickets, payments, rewards. Coming are hands-free devices powered by voice and gesture control, authentication pills and tattoos, and the use of the human body for data transmission.

Figure 1. Drivables, flyables, scannables, and wearables

The rich variety of wearable technology applications is nicely depicted also by Beecham Research—please see Figure 2 (click on the image to view and interact with the chart).

Figure 2. World of wearable technology applications (source Beecham Research)

Mobility and Mobile Computing

Mobility generally refers to the physical movement of people, as well as the movement of information. It brings to mind a host of game-changing opportunities and applications, and represents enormous untapped potential.

Mobile computing is forcing the biggest change in how people live since the automobile. It changes where people can work; it changes how they spend their day; and the mass adoption forces new infrastructure.

But without cloud computing, mobile would fail to connect to a variety of data and functions, information would still be  stuck inside internal systems, and social interactions would have no place to happen at scale. According to Gartner, for  a highly interactive experience, the following should be taken into consideration:

  •  Access to relevant, stateful information requires access to ubiquitous cloud services where that information is made available.
  • People are mobile, and they require devices and applications in their hands as opposed to (only) machines tethered to a desk.
  • Location data (for example, from a device) shapes the enormous amount of potential data into information that is most relevant.
  • Access to social networks implies a personally relevant transactional experience that is integrated into, and initiated from, a social platform (for example, Facebook).

Cloud-Based Mobile Augmentation (CMA) and Cloud Mobility

The trend now is to move from cloud and mobile to Cloud-Based Mobile Augmentation (CMA) and cloud mobility.


  • Cloud provides ubiquitous, on-demand, elastic, self-configurable, cost effective computing.
  • Mobile implies accessible, convenient gadgets, with regional wireless communication and limited data services; that have limited computing and power resources.


  • Cloud-Based Mobile Augmentation (CMA) employs resource-rich clouds to increase, enhance, and optimize computing capabilities of mobile devices, aiming at execution of resource-intensive mobile applications. 
  • Cloud Mobility, implies how low-end mobile devices access diverse and scalable cloud computing resources and globally connect mobile enabled resources to receive unlimited mobile application services.                  

Mobile cloud computing (MCC)

Mobile cloud computing (MCC) integrates cloud computing into the mobile environment and should overcome obstacles related to:

  • Performance—such as battery life, storage, and bandwidth
  • Environment—such as heterogeneity, scalability, and availability
  • Security—such as reliability and privacy.

According to the Mobile Cloud Computing Survey MCC could be defined as follows—see also Figure 3:

  • In general MCC means to run an application such as Gmail for Mobile on a remote resource rich server (in this case, Google’s servers), while the mobile device acts like a thin client connecting over to the remote server through 4G.
  • Another approach to MCC is to consider other mobile devices as resource providers of the cloud, making up a mobile peer-to-peer network. This approach recognizes also the ability of mobile clouds to do collective sensing.
  • And yet another approach to MCC is the cloudlet concept, where a mobile device offloads its workload to a local “cloudlet”, comprised of several multi-core computers with connectivity to remote cloud servers.

Figure 3. Different concepts of the “mobile cloud” (source Mobile Cloud Computing Survey)

The Questions Ahead

  • The main questions on the issues and actions related to the future of mobility and the potential implications for cloud services are as follows:
  • As CMM and CMA becomes widespread, what are the implications for the Cloud in terms of latency, performance, and scalability? Others?
  • What CMA would increase mobile devices usability in critical areas as healthcare, emergency handling, disaster recovery, crowd management, and enterprise systems?
  • What new types of clouds and cloud standards (including APIs) will be needed to support CMA?
  • What are the CMM and CMA research, deployment, and operational challenges?

 Please share your thoughts on mobility and cloud computing.

Irena BojanovaIrena Bojanova, Ph.D., is a General Chair of IT Professional Conference, Editor of Encyclopedia of Cloud Computing, Wiley (to be published 2014), and the Founding Chair of IEEE CS Cloud Computing STC. She is also an Associate Editor in Chief and the Editor of the Trends Department of IEEE IT Professional, an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, and an Associate Editor of International Journal of Big Data Intelligence (IJBDI). Dr. Bojanova is a professor and program director, Information and Technology Systems, at University of Maryland University College, managed academic programs at Johns Hopkins University and PIsoft Ltd., and co-started OBS Ltd., (now CSC Bulgaria). She is a senior member of IEEE and can be reached at






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