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According to Mark Welser in 1991, the next generation of technologies which would weave themselves along with fabric with daily life and they will be able to distinguish themselves. Currently, mobile technology has taken a similar position in daily life as a project by Mark Welser. The rapid evolution of mobile-friendly technologies has associated themselves with business process considering their ability and support which they can provide[ CITATION Dha11 \l 16393 ]. Mobile computing technology is found in various devices like wireless data collection, communication, presentation devices, smartphones as well as readers. These devices are compact, mobile and can be accessed anywhere by any individual. The evolution and effectiveness of mobile cloud computing technology have provided it with the ability to work with business to business or business to consumer entities[ CITATION YuN16 \l 16393 ]. Furthermore, the technology enables access to information even from the remote locations by mobile employees. It helps to make better decisions within a very short span of time. Hence, there is a requirement of conducting a detailed study on the opportunities provided by mobile computing technologies.
The objectives would pinpoint the areas of learning in this context. The identified objectives for the chosen topic are as follows:
1. To identify the concept of mobile computing technology
2. To discuss the determining factors of mobile computing technology
3. To analyse the dimensions of content and form through mobile computing technology.
4. To identify various areas of business where mobile computing technology can improve and enhance.
5. To identify the aspects of how mobile technology enhances businesses.
In modern-day competition market, businesses and organisations are exploring various options which can simplify business functions and improve their performance. It also aims to develop a competitive advantage for the business[ CITATION Jay15 \l 16393 ]. The most important aspect of mobile computing technology is its ability to access and share information even when the individual is on the move. In simple terms, organisations use mobile technologies to engage the mobile employees. Hence, it is a necessary aspect to study and consider the effectiveness of mobile computing technology to enhance the business operations[ CITATION San14 \l 16393 ]. The analysis of the opportunities would help the students to learn more about the application of mobile technology and the business managers to learn what opportunities will be added by the mobile computing technology to any given business.
Mobile computing for business
As per Brown & Green (2012), the utilisation of updated mobile computing technologies, the companies are able to provide a secure as well as real-time information as well as applications. It relates to the field workers which makes them more and more efficient[ CITATION Bro12 \l 16393 ]. Mobile computing enhances the operational efficiencies, speeds up the business and provides better and improved customer services.
Mobile computing is identified to describe the utilisation of computer devices. These devices interact in collaboration with the central information system. They can be utilised from any location away from any fixed workplace for the purpose. The mobile workers can create, process, store as well as communicate with the information[ CITATION Woo11 \l 16393 ]. It extends the reach of any company, interacts with the concerned individuals of the organisation who would have otherwise disconnected from each other. According to Hu, et. al. (2015), around 60 percent of the corporate executives rely on mobile technology in order to provide a good boost to the business. The key factors of mobile computing for business are that it provides powerful handy devices and hi-speed networks for communication. Currently, Wi-Fi hotspots, 3G, and 4G services enable the users to download and exchange mobile data at a high speed[ CITATION HuY15 \l 16393 ]. As argued by Gartner, through 2018 more than 1.5 billion users would utilise any device based on Google Android mobile operating system. They would add instant value which would provide access to information for personal use. The utilisation of pre-integrated apps provides the edge which expected to provide integrated enterprise system for mobiles. It can serve various purposes right from managing inventory to stock keeping. However, it is necessary to understand the basic aspect of mobile hardware, software and content dimension to judge the opportunities of mobile computing in business[ CITATION Din13 \l 16393 ]. Customer interaction enhancement is another edge which provides opportunities for the business to boost their connection with the customers in a more personal and active manner. Gartner reflects in the context that the quality of the experience which the applications provide can work with the location, motion and various other contexts like behaviour and helps the customers to directly connect with their preferred companies using a mobile device.
The determinants of mobile computing hardware work with size and form aspects, weight, the microprocessor, basic storage, secondary storage, size of screen and type, input mediums, the life of the battery, abilities of communication, expandability, and the durability of the device[ CITATION HuY15 \l 16393 ]. There are basic categories of mobile communicating hardware can be classified on basis of the device using it. Palmtop, clamshell, handheld pen key, pen slate and lastly laptop.
The user with the need and want of accessing the data from any remote place would utilise a various assortment of mobile technological devices to get it. Woodwill (2011) says that although there is an attractive aspect of mobile hardware identification for the proper type fit for the business can make a lot of difference[ CITATION Woo11 \l 16393 ]. Hence it is highly recommended to identify the hardware best suited for the business to enhance the opportunities provided by mobile computing for business. A good reference for mobile computing hardware during the subsequent analysis in relation to the benefits of mobile computing would help to get acquainted with the categories available.
The mobile computers utilise the various system as well as applications. The most widely used system software’s and operating system are MS-DOS, Windows, Windows for pen computing, Windows CE, PENDOS, PenRight!, Palm OS, Unix etc. These operating systems can work with a wide range of abilities from graphically enhanced pen-driven DOS system to high powered Windows NT system[ CITATION Bro12 \l 16393 ]. The advantage is assured to mobile computing as the operating environments provide integrated environmental development or IDE for application design. Windows works across various mobile devices. It would enable the developer who would concentrate on the application rather than specifying the hardware utilised. Most of the mobile application software does not provide the utilisation of custom designs[ CITATION Dha11 \l 16393 ]. The prewritten applications software are available for purchase across various areas of application. Various other organisations have developed the mobile computing system which would cover the system integration services. They can be designed to meet the client requirement and can be modified according to the client’s specific needs.
Opportunities in modes of communication
Communication is one field which where the mobile computing system improves the opportunities of the business. The mobile computing system can be utilised batch mode through the communication mediums which are an improvement of continuous operation and can work in continuous operations which reduces the wireless airtime and associated charges. In fact, the disconnected mobile systems can be utilised for storage, calculation, schedule maintenance and non-communication oriented purposes[ CITATION Woo11 \l 16393 ]. Hence, where utilising wireless communication or not, mobile computing can contribute business process in various identified manners. Besides, it can be utilised even from a remote location either utilising the mobile tower or the wireless hotspot for convenient connectivity. According to Dhar & Varshney (2011), available communication technologies are Wireless Local Area Networks or WLANs, Satellites, Cellular data package or CDPD, Personal communication system or PCS, Global system for mobile communication or GSM, RAM and ARDIS networks, specialised mobile radio service or SMR, one and two way packaging, telephone system or POTs, internet, infra-red, docking which includes serial as well as parallel LAN, disk swapping[ CITATION Dha11 \l 16393 ]. These mentioned communication channels can be effectively utilised by mobile computing which enhances the way business can interact and carry out desired operations. The organisation now can utilise various connectivity channels at their disposal. Many of the channels would have been outreach while using a desktop system. These diverse communication systems, provide a vast array of connectivity which provides the ability of communication which ranges from manual batch transfer to high-speed communication with continuous connectivity[ CITATION San14 \l 16393 ]. Wider connection options can be utilised by the companies which suit any given condition or situation. Hence the inter-connection within the organisation is enhanced which increases better performance delivery. It opens a range of opportunities as the time for relaying any message is decreased irrespective of the place or location of the sender.
It is the ability of mobile computing which enables the information capture at the very source. It can acquire the data right from the point of its origin. Hence there is an obvious advantage due to the way the data is captured and the need to eliminate the requirement of re-entering the data at a later time and transcribing the information into the original copy of the paper[ CITATION YuN16 \l 16393 ]. It eliminates data redundancy and source data allows working with additional devices like a barcode reader. The software within the mobile application can be programmed to capture any errors in the information[ CITATION Woo11 \l 16393 ]. The mobile computing device would be able to pre-process the data which is collected and transferred into the fixed system. As the information which is transferred from the mobile device to fixed information system with high quality, it would also be transferred back utilising a high-quality approach to the fixed information system[ CITATION Bro12 \l 16393 ]. The businesses utilising mobile computing system would be able to utilise improved information management, and high-quality exchange of information. It would be an added advantage for the organisation.
The form provides an added dimension to the businesses. The software’s and hardware’s of the mobile computing are designed in a way where information can be viewed easily and in an ambiguous manner. Brown & Green (2012) says that the information is stored in a digital format where it can be viewed by others and sorted as needed[ CITATION Bro12 \l 16393 ]. The data can also be converted into tables and charts or viewed on a screen for print purpose. The mobile computing technology can easily work with portable printers, signature capturing, video image capturing, Global positioning system or GPS. The internal storage, as well as the processing abilities of mobile computers, allow direct access to large quantities of local digital information[ CITATION HuY15 \l 16393 ]. Hence, the form factor poses an additional advantage to the business. The company executives do not need to rely on heavy systems or complex devices. A mere palmtop or smartphone would solve the required purposes of managing information in any form.
Improving operational efficiency
Organisations can achieve improvements in the operational efficiency as the companies who have integrated the system with the fixed information network can be structured through the best workflow of the mobile worker[ CITATION Din13 \l 16393 ]. The mobile computer technology actually cuts the time cycles, reduces the rework, enables the business to process re-engineering, improves accuracy and reduces the time spent on customer complaints, it also reduces any unnecessary travels for the purpose. Hence, it can be said that the mobile computer can be very useful to the customers of any business.
The sector of field sales acquires the operational efficiency when the sales personnel achieves efficiency through mobile computing. The mobile computing has been identified to enhance the operations of remote insurance and the financial in terms of sales planning. The technology provides freedom to the sales agents who can meet the client at their homes, office or any other location of choice[ CITATION San14 \l 16393 ]. The data is easily collected, calculated, and the customer can decide on the choice of the program at once. The central computer is easily updated and the customer is enrolled within the insurance or the financial program.
The transport and shipping industries enjoy the similar opportunities of enhancing their business with help of mobile computing technology. The mobile technologies are used in conjunction with GPS or GIS which can work with vehicle information system or VIS. According to Dhar & Varshney (2011), the mobile computing based system enables the dispatchers to enter the customer pickup data and relays it to the concerned vehicles[ CITATION Dha11 \l 16393 ]. The drivers get the information about the delivery and person who hired it. The information is automatically relayed to the fixed data bank where the customer service expert and provide the improved delivery option.
Hotel operations are among the companies who have highly improved their operations with mobile computing. In a time of check out the central computer would wirelessly notify the cleaning staff. Any issues identified during the maintenance like the broke staff would be communicated to the maintenance team[ CITATION YuN16 \l 16393 ]. Once it is fulfilled the update would be relayed to the central computer and room would be marked as ready for check-in.
It is one of the major aspects which mobile computing provides to the businesses is versatility. It improves the management effectivity. The mobile computing system is able to make more timely and accurate information to be available for the management. It improves the management’s ability to work and track the progress of any ongoing projects[ CITATION Dha11 \l 16393 ]. Furthermore, the ability of management to communicate with others increases and mobile employees can be included in the network. Hence, more informed and prompt decisions can be taken on a local basis which limits the management decisions from the central company.
The evidence of versatility can be identified from examples in the field of health. It has been currently utilised in healthcare to provide assistance whether in the home, on road, or within a hospital. EMT or Emergency Medical Technicians can respond in a faster manner and at the accident scene and utilise the technology to gather data from the source which is relayed to the central database[ CITATION Bro12 \l 16393 ]. It can provide the critical medical information from EMT technician’s right to the emergency room where doctors can be ready for any kind of critical situation for the patient.
Achieving full potential of mobile computing
There are six identified areas which explained by the MOBILE framework which determines whether it is necessary to utilise mobile computing technology to resolve and address a problem. Mobility works with providing freedom of movement, gathering data from remote location and status of personnel to be identified[ CITATION Woo11 \l 16393 ]. Operations include providing the business chance to keep pace with the competitors. It would provide the management with adequate information which would help the business to operate at full scale. Barriers aim to break the geographical boundaries through expansion of organisational extension. The key business process and activities can be utilised and performed at any time necessary. Information relates to providing the most high-quality information which can be acquired from the root and relayed to the fixed data centre[ CITATION HuY15 \l 16393 ]. The mobile personnel would be able to provide accurate and concise information. In terms of lag, the mobile computing technology works to reduce any type of lag which can be experienced. Efficiency would be provided in terms of data input, management, and rendering purposes.
The mobile computing technology will provide plenty of opportunities for businesses to improve in various fields. However, the security and investment in this technology still is a considered issue[ CITATION Din13 \l 16393 ]. Each mobile employee has to be equipped with any devices which can run this technology and then it would fulfil the need. A good planning and security system would enhance the functioning of mobile computing technology and it would become an asset to the organisation.
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