Mobile Speeding Up And Going For The Sweep: IBM, SAP, Data Security In The Cloud

The speed of which the mobile and new media industry is evolving has become nothing short of unprecedented, to the point where companies can’t even launch a product without it being outdated by the time it is launched in some scenarios. That leads to my suggestion that if you want to survive for a while in the “wild wild west” of mobile, tablet and new media you need to focus on a broad base product that has many extensions to meet the demands of the enterprise or consumer at hand.

That was especially clear at MobiBizTO’s Mobility Leadership Forum run by IT World Canada Tuesday and sponsored by the likes of IBM, SAP, IDC, and RIM, with OCAD’s President Sara Diamond blowing the conference attendees away on all that can be achieved in mobile media, but that will be covered in a later article as the following addresses more so the corporate side of the conference.

Monday was the famous author Malcolm Gladwell explaining that high-tech firms that aren’t first to market usually do the best according to The Globe and Mail’s Simon Houpt from the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival in France: ““If you look at the history of Apple, they’re always the last to the party,” said Mr. Gladwell. “They’ve made a business out of being late.” Steve Jobs, he added, “is the archetypal entrepreneur of our age, right? And he is not an innovator, right? He’s the guy who comes second or third and makes it better.”

One must remember that mobile is an incredibly fast changing industry, and if RIM can’t get their upgraded products together in time, the mobile ecosystem may flip on them in 2012 in wake of declining consumer interest- and that’s exactly what investors fear as RIM’s shares continue to go in a see-saw direction as the company now faces takeover rumors.

Superseeding Traditional Web Access: The Mobile Sweep

IBM’s Alon Kroenberg the Practice Leader at IBM Mobile Solutions for Canada, talked about six trends driving mobile adoption:

  1. Apps, Apps and More Apps
  2. Celluar Broadband
  3. Mobile Social Networking
  4. Enhanced Context Awareness (location, sensing)
  5. “Internet of Things” (product-to-device, product-to-product, machine-to-machine)
  6. Mobilization of Money

While there are so many other trends and niches to follow in the rapidly evolving mobile media and innovation space, these were the six that IBM identified.

Further Insights

Kroenberg would go on to say in his presentation: “The most forward thinking companies will activate networks of people that apply relevant content and expertise to improve and accelerate how things get done, delivering unprecedented return for time invested”.

We saw that example in the CIO debate that capped off the conference in the area of health care by Dale Potter of Ottawa Hospital who said that technology was saving his physicians one to five days, which were unprecedented ROI levels.

Kroenberg also said: “95 percent of standout organizations will focus on getting us closer to the customer over the next five years”.

There is also a rapid shift towards getting closer to information with all the advances and marketing ploys of cloud computing from Microsoft, IBM and RIM, as it becomes about managing your enterprise in the cloud.

There was Sybase’s (SAP) Carolyn Fitton, on the first day of summer, engaging my table about what kind of apps we would build to increase productivity and collaboration in the enterprise.

SAP, like any other large organization sees the potential of cloud computing to allow for all silos to be accessible across the many divisions of information technology. However, the company built 20 separate apps for each information silo and are struggling to integrate it all together.

Fitton concluded in the following panel that the top of mind issue is usability, whether or not we use an app or other forms of information communications technology to integrate it all.

Meanwhile, Kroenberg continued in saying that mobile cloud solutions will reduce the need for mobile storage, that HTML5 will allow for much easier integration of cross-platform apps all while having increased bandwith.

Security Issues

However, cloud computing doesn’t come without security issues- but IBM, being the incredibly forward thinking company they are, is attempting to address that through a new form of encryption in the next 5-10 years. MIT’s Technology Review reports that IBM researcher Craig Gentry is creating Homomorphic Encryption, by showing that it is possible to analyze data without decrypting it.

Erica Naone continues: “With homomorphic encryption, a company could encrypt its entire database of e-mails and upload it to a cloud. Then it could use the cloud-stored data as desired- for example, to search the database to understand how its workers collaborate. The results would be downloaded and decrypted without ever exposing the details of a single e-mail”.

Naone concludes though: “Gentry acknowledges that the way he applied the double layer of encryption was a “bit of a hack” and that the system runs too slowly for practical use, but he is working in optimizing it for specific applications such as searching databases for records”.

What About a 3D Personal Security Solution?

I’ve heard different IT security experts, and it seems to me that if any data can be hacked, why not make it invisible?

Borrowing from the notion that a physical object that we own is more secure than the data we store in the cloud or on our computers connected to the Internet or wireless networks in light of recent hackings, couldn’t we use augmented reality activated by one of the sixty or so kind of digital barcodes out there to store important data in a virtual world that you could carry around with you, activated by an AR reader?

It’s your own virtual world where your most secure information is stored however you want, as 3D is a projection, an optical illusion if you will,

Perhaps this would have more applications in personal security, while a 3D cloud would have to be built for the enterprise, but nevertheless, a thought as virtual worlds like Second Life continue to gain popularity as augmented reality also seems poised to grow according to OCAD’s President Sara Diamond.

The MobiBizTO recap will continue in the coming days as I digest the massive amount of information obtained on further forms of mobile media that I haven’t covered, ideas towards health and education, while moving towards tablet media.