by December 2, 2011 0 comments











Andy
Mulholland, CTO,
Capgemini

If
you didn’t see this then the main point is that Adobe is dropping
the mobile version of Flash, whilst the PC version, which after all
is the big market for Flash, continues. The Informitv
reported this
and included the most important point in a quote
from Mike Chambers, the principal product manager for the Flash
platform at Adobe:


supporting
Flash Player across different mobile hardware devices, operating
systems and browsers has proved challenging. “This is something
that we realized is simply not scalable or sustainable,” he said.


Put
another way, the development path of mobility operating systems and
devices is simply following a different path to that of the PC, hence
the increasing use of the term ‘post-PC era’ in various articles.
This doesn’t mean that the PC is dead, which of course it isn’t,
and if we look at the need for heavy duty desk-based transactional
work it clearly won’t fade away any more than traditional
mainframes have disappeared from heavy duty online transaction
processing areas. Though by an interesting coincidence and timing IBM
has just announced that Windows applications can be supported on
their zServers, or mainframes to the rest of us. CRN news did a good
breakdown of the announcement
in detail including an interesting example around running SAP.


The ‘post-PC era’
really refers to the form factor and use made of tablets/smartphones,
and, as the operating systems for both converge, the difference
between the two is rapidly becoming the form factor alone. But it’s
not just the form factor, the user experience, gesture driven, better
battery life, new features etc., it’s for what and how we use
mobility devices that is the important point.

The
term ‘mobility’ is associated with devices that are able to
function beyond the governance and delivery of traditional enterprise
applications, outside the enterprise firewall, and are able to make
use of all types of Web-based capabilities including cloud services.
For these devices and the people using them the external focus is
predominantly on doing business with others, and using external
information from the Web via Internet connectivity. As it is the
Internet-Web architectural model it is loose-coupled (hence the
‘mobility’ between all resources), stateless and
non-deterministic, and with browsers as a key delivery element it is
also thin client and requires hosting of its services and data. The
Cloud satisfies this requirement and indeed enables the whole model
of ‘mobility’ based as applied to outside-in.

As
a practical example consider Apple, its App Shop and its iCloud. The
Apple App Shop holds the ‘services’ or ‘apps’ that a user can
choose to use and provides the authentication for their use. A
download provides the enabling client, but in apps such as iFly all
the data, or information is supplied as a real-time connection under
REST. In the case of a banking app this can be a very secure method
of separating the user in the external ‘unsafe’ environment from
the secure traditional IT applications, data and systems housed in
the ‘safe’ environment inside the firewall. If a user needs
personal data, i.e. photos, etc., then Apple offers Apple iCloud
storage which can be accessed by any of the user’s devices; PC,
iPad, iPhone, or iPod that possess the authentication key thus
ensuring that all personal user activities are perfectly synchronized
at all times.


True mobility and
true cloud are both parts of the same architectural model and
business revolution in terms of delivering new capabilities outside
of the enterprise. And they are absolutely different from a
traditional enterprise client-server application delivered remotely,
with its requirement for an extensive and complicated synchronization
to maintain externally ‘state-full’ data on the device with all
the security risks that go with it. So all in all not a huge surprise
that Adobe Flash doesn’t transfer to the new mobility or post-PC
world readily. The big point is a lot of other code won’t either,
and as mobility is one hot topic at the moment it’s important to
make the difference clear, and in a sense I have written it from the
technology perspective.

However,
it’s got a lot to do with business and business users, so much so
that
The
Economist
,
very much a business publication, has recently run an online debate
as to whether or not we are in a ‘post-PC
era
‘ with the motion


Some folk in the
technology industry, including the late Steve Jobs, have argued that
we are now in a “post-PC” era. According to this view, the
PC is no longer the center of the computing world. Instead, it is
taking a back seat to a wide range of new mobile-computing devices
which will dominate the future. These include tablet computers and
smartphones. Combined shipments of the two devices are forecast to
exceed those of PCs for the first time this year. So is the PC
passé?
Or is talk of a post-PC world overblown?


The side ‘against’
the motion is led by a leading Microsoft person. But if you read his
opening presentation even though he is arguing against the motion he
accepts that it will be both PCs and mobility devices that will make
up the business estate of technology. So if you’re contemplating
making mobility work for your enterprise and maybe even controlling
those rebel users who have gone off with their own devices do make
sure that you understand the difference between connecting enterprise
applications to mobile devices, versus true mobility which is
entirely different!


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