According to Lillian Tay, a principal research analyst with Gartner, smartphones are becoming the hub of cloud services and tablets have created a new paradigm for computer usage that has never been seen or thought before by consumers.
The ability for individuals to connect and access premium services from what are, ostensibly, consumer devices, has created a quantum change in the level of services individuals expect from corporate IT.
During a panel discussion at the recent NetEvents APAC Press and Service Provider Forum in Thailand, Passakorn Hongsyok, the department director for International Business at UIH, looked at the example of video-conferencing. Despite the popularity of Skype and FaceTime, corporate video-conferencing is still struggling.
Trying to set up a 12-way videoconference in the office requires an engineer on site the day before to test everything. "On the other hand, all these people have FaceTime experience. Everyone has seen the case where a grandmother see a grandson or granddaughter on FaceTime at home," said Hongsyok.
If you IT career is longer than about ten years, you'd remember that fast connections and access to cutting edge technology was most likely found in the office. Today, the pervasiveness of mobile devices and cloud services mean that you're more likely to get the cutting edge experience at home.
This presents some significant challenges for IT.
"It's a tough act for an executive in the office to place an order for video conference kit … you're looking at $30,000 or $40,000. On the other hand when he goes back home he can use an iPad and conferencing on it," he added.
The increased expectations of individuals have driven a greater need to get the infrastructure right. Tawhid Rahman is the general manager of service planning PDD Technology of Grameenphone, the telecommunication operator in Bangladesh with the largest mobile phone customer base and the widest network coverage. He is tasked with developing nationwide infrastructure to deal with this data boom.
"Analytics part is very critical. So because with the boom of data, we also are facing with lot of data inside our enterprise with all the customer data. And to have analytics systems up and running, the business intelligence is up and running to really know the customer usage background, their interest, where they want to go and how, what should be offered to them to make it more personalised, that's also a major challenge," said Rahman.
Of course, one of the challenges that users face with the mobile cloud is that, despite the proliferation of faster mobile networks, there are still exorbitant roaming costs to contend with.
Amit Sinha Roy, vice president, marketing and strategy at Tata Communications, said: "Companies such as Tata Communications have solutions where we actually are able to provide LTE roaming for other service providers to consume as a service. And that helps access become ubiquitous for the enterprise users across the geographic locations that they may be accessing from, both from a quality of service as well as the ability for the service provider to actually set the class of service as well".
All of this points to some significant challenges. There's not an analyst on the planet suggesting that mobile is going to fade. If anything, there will be more mobile devices in businesses and the thirst for mobile data will continue to increase.
Anthony Caruana attended the NetEvents APAC Press and Service Provider Forum as a guest of NetEvents.