Preparing for mobile app boom

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona focused on two things - mobile apps, and how operators can manage them

Tags: Google IncorporatedHuawei Technologies CompanyJuniper Networks IncorporatedMobile World CongressMobile broadbandSamsung Corporation
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Preparing for mobile app boom (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  February 17, 2010

It did not take long to realise that two of the major themes to emerge at this year´s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona were mobile applications and the growing pressure that they will inevitably exert on networks.

Mobile applications were always going to be central to this year´s event, with the rapid take off of touch screen devices in the past couple of years leading to an application gold rush. And its seems that most of the major companies involved in the telecoms sector are keen to get in on the act.

While there is no shortage of smaller companies demonstrating mobile applications at MWC, such as software that allows handsets to photograph and translate pages of text instantly, some of the industry´s biggest players have also signalled their intention to push applications to the forefront of the mobile ecosystem.

Notably, in a keynote address yesterday afternoon, Google CEO Eric Schmidt explained how the firm´s top programmers are now concentrating their efforts on mobile. He said that the mobile phone is now where the three key areas of computing power, interconnectivity and cloud computing are converging.

To emphasise the importance of the mobile phone in the internet space, Schmidt said that in countries including South Africa and Indonesia, Google was seeing more web searches on mobile devices than on desktop PCs.

Google also focused on some of its latest developments in the optical character recognition and translation space, and revealed that it was working towards merging these innovations with its voice recognition technology.

Meanwhile Samsung has been busy demonstrating a platform targeting enterprises, that allows mobile users to access their company CRM system on their mobile device, while most of the major vendors have been showcasing a wide range of mobile applications that LTE will make possible.

But as demands for innovative applications grows in the short term, it will also put huge strain on networks, particularly in the next few years before LTE becomes widely deployed.

Huawei estimates that global data traffic on mobile broadband networks will grow by 1,000 times over the next decade.

To this end, a number of vendors, including Huawei and Juniper, have also been keen to showcase ways of boosting network efficiency at MWC.

In the coming few years it will be interesting to see the type of applications that evolve, and how networks adapt to cope as we wait for LTE to be deployed and become mainstream. And judging by some of the innovative applications on show at MWC, the sooner consumers are able to access truly high capacity mobile broadband the better.

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