Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Part 3: Future of Mobile Cloud Computing in Africa

The future of mobile cloud computing in Africa will entirely depend on the demand for more efficient methods to improve on service delivery. These methods will have to provide a more effective mechanism that can deliver services at reduced costs while providing faster and more reliable internet-based solutions.

As has been seen with mobile banking, the banking sector has remodeled its strategies to match the ever changing needs of a technology savvy clientele. Commercial banks are now embracing new technologies such as SMS information services to pass on new bank offers and promotions to their clientele, integration of mobile banking platforms with their own financial systems, to mention a few.

With this shift to mobile-based computing, several commercial services are going to integrate with mobile technology to reach nearly 300 million mobile subscribers on the African continent. A target market of 300 million people is such a big market to bolster growth of African economies. I can envision a scenario whereby travelers can buy tickets off their mobile phones, revelers can purchase concert tickets, traders can order for goods and services, or even a patient getting updates on the time they should be taking their medication. This may seem too far a goal to reach, but I must say we are bound to see a mobile technology revolution sooner than we expect.

The rapid growth of mobile broadband services will continue to promote the adoption of more capable phones that have support for web browsing. With this rapid growth however, mobile network operators will have to leverage their networks to support this unprecedented growth in mobile internet usage. If the adoption of smartphones in Africa and the world over continues to grow at the current rate, MNO's are going to face a major challenge dealing with heavy traffic on their data pipes. This will call for enormous investment in data infrastructure for MNO's if they are to stay ahead and on top of the mobile internet game.

The future of the mobile cloud, therefore, will have to involve strong partnerships between mobile network operators and mobile phone/ hardware manufacturers to strike a balance between mobile innovation in both hardware and software design, and the physical infrastructure that will support mobile cloud-hosted services. Companies like Huawei Technologies are already in close partnership with leading operators including Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telenor to deliver next generation mobile broadband solutions.


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