In concert with the evolution of smart computing for the consumer market, enterprises will realize that they will be able to leverage these technological advances to their benefit as well. Outside of perhaps support for Microsoft’s Exchange Servers, third-party applications already permeate the mobile computing enterprise field.
Why do we think that is the case? Enterprises are finding that a simple mobile computing application can be used to “front end” certain of their server modules. For example, an order entry application on a G1 can be used by a sales representative out in the field to check available inventory and, immediately upon receiving an order, lock in an quantity or even have the order fulfilled remotely. As they walk around for their rounds, doctors can update a patient’s medical chart, check their MRIs and x-rays, and coordinate with technicians, nurses and staff, all this to reduce delays and data entry errors that could cost lives. City workers can check the location of subterranean pipelines before a dig. And more. Our list of examples could be rather lengthy, bounded more by the desires to make business faster and better than by technological limitations.
The impact on the enterprise has been noted and accepted even by previously consumer-focused suppliers. While the iPhone started out as primarily a consumer product, Apple has already made some changes to enable it for business. According to Apple, there are two kinds of iPhone native app developers, consumer based and enterprise based. Enterprise-based developers are allowed to deploy their applications internally and in an ad hoc manner to their customers. Right now, banks are rushing to provide secured mobile access to their roaming customers.
As support for mobile computing within the enterprises increases, there will be some growing pains. Currently, enterprise servers are not naturally set up to handle the additional workload and servers are hit with applications, so special mobile computing servers will appear. Mobile apps will be written in a phone’s native code for best performance, driving industry standards for programming and user interfaces so that applications can be more easily ported between difference devices. New types of input sensors and output devices will be created to support the needs of the enterprise, for example, producing and scanning barcodes or tracking through RFID tags.