The next wave of computing is here; it is primarily driven by mobile computing, with social, cloud and commerce acting as drivers of growth. Technologists and research firms have been talking about historical trends in computing. It started with mainframe computing in the 1950s and 60s, followed by personal computing in the 80s and 90s, followed by internet or network computing in 90s, and the new millennium. Each of these waves, brought with it a substantial period of growth and innovation. Now, we are in the early days of mobile computing and this wave would have a greater global impact than any of the previous waves, because of the sheer numbers and penetration of mobile. There will be 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions in the world by the end of 2010. More than 90 percent of the global population has access to a mobile network. In addition to mobile phones, there are a multitude of mobile devices like tablets, eReaders, gaming devices, car electronics, wireless home appliances and home entertainment devices, that contribute to mobile computing.
Opportunities in mobile computing
India’s IT growth was driven by the earlier waves of computing. Even though the earlier waves of computing didn’t reach the common man, India’s IT industry rode on earlier waves, by exporting software and services to countries around the world. But with a slowdown in global economy, the industry is starting to cater to the fast growing domestic market to maintain their growth rate. One major factor that will contribute to this domestic demand is mobile computing. India has 851.70 million mobile subscribers (71 percent of the population) as on 30th June, 2011. As per a report by On Device Research , 59 percent of India’s internet users belong to the ‘mobile only’ internet generation, wherein the mobile device acts as their primary source of access to the internet. We have a new generation of domestic consumers who for the first time have the opportunity to access news, communication, information, entertainment, and digital commerce. It is important to identify and fulfill the requirements of this new generation of consumers. In addition, we also have the opportunity to create mobile products and services, that fulfill the needs of the global audience. Even though there are plenty of areas that offer excellent scope, let us look at some of the key areas.
Mobile messaging is one of the most frequent activities in mobile devices. Worldwide mobile messaging market was worth $179.2 billion in 2010 and is expected to be worth $ 334.7 billion in 2015. SMS/Texting is the most dominant form of messaging followed by MMS, mobile e-mail and mobile instant messaging. Juniper research predicts that Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging will overtake the standard SMS by 2016. As users get access to devices with better hardware and more features, can we come up with a messaging service that combines visuals with messages while keeping it simple? IDC predicts, that worldwide mobile applications revenue will grow 60 percent year-on-year, reaching $35 billion in 2014 with the number of downloads for all the apps going from 10.9 billion in 2010 to 76.9 billion in 2014. Apps will be created, that will cover every aspect of our personal and business lives, offering excellent business opportunity for all sectors. Apps have to be created that cater to the Indian audience specifically in the areas of learning, telemedicine, news and information, mobile banking, entertainment and digital commerce.
Mobile advertising and mobile payments are other areas that offer excellent business opportunities. Are we ready to ride this next wave of computing?
The author is MD, 3DSoc, a spin off from IISc Bangalore and Stanford University