No more sitting on the fence

Tony Poulos
17 Nov 2011

This month's issue is packed with stories about mobile apps and their evolution but, apart from some involvement in the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) or some homegrown efforts, most Asian operators will probably not benefit from this app revolution - or will they?

If you've been reading the headlines, you will have seen that web apps are emerging as a viable option, especially for enterprises wishing to use cloud services and make them available to all employees regardless of what mobile tablet or phone they are using.

The fact that web apps, applications residing on web servers and not on the device itself, are OS agnostic makes them the ideal extension to any operator's cloud arsenal.

Combining web apps, cloud services and security would make a winning combination for any telco operator wanting to add the "smart" to the pipes. The combined offering could be difficult for enterprises to resist and something a little more difficult for OTT players to compete with. In fact, tying too closely to one cloud service or supplier may be limiting for businesses that prefer to take a "best of breed" approach. The communications service provider (CSP) with multiple cloud offerings tied to secure communications channels may be just the trick.

Freedom to choose

If we take things one step further and look at today's market reality, consumers and employees do not want to be tied to any particular company stipulated handset or device, often preferring to use their own. This should not be discouraged (think of the cost savings) but provided for. Instead of having to log in to each cloud service separately, CSPs could offer a single secure log-in and encryption key for the online session, regardless of which service or web app is being used.

This realm of BYOD (bring your own device) is gaining favor with businesses, not only because of potential cost-savings, but also in terms of staff satisfaction and morale. However, access to the corporate network creates a host of management and security headaches for IT staff and calls for careful and unobtrusive device management capabilities. Again, something the CSP could provide as a value-added service.

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