As the influx of smartphones, tablets, netbooks and laptops continues in the workplace, employees are pushing for state-of-the art mobile applications and cloud storage options to get their work done while on the go.
There is clearly a huge market potential here with dramatic growth predicted in the coming years. According to Gartner, 7% of consumer content was stored in the cloud in 2011, and by 2016 it will rise to 36%.
As consumers and enterprise users flock to personal clouds, and convergence brings together different companies and sectors - both as competitors and collaborators - across traditional boundaries of industry and technology, communications service providers (CSPs) can participate by developing their own carrier-based versions to provide safe storage for consumer's personal data.
In fact, they are uniquely positioned to provide such services.
Mobile cloud computing, however, is also creating many core challenges that may come as a surprise to many CSPs. Successful implementation means addressing the critical concerns around security, storage and system architectures.
In many companies, software-as-a-service (SaaS) adoption may already be widespread without proper governance. In some cases, various departments may have bypassed the IT department and adopted multiple SaaS applications.
In others, the company's data resides in the servers of SaaS firms that are unfamiliar or sometimes completely unknown to the IT department.
One compelling example of a successful carrier cloud implementation is NTT DoCoMo, which serves over 59 million customers. The company wanted to establish and operate a remote test center at the University of Aizu in Fukushima in Japan to enable third-party independent software vendors to develop high-quality content and applications quickly and cost-effectively. This allowed testing of multiple devices across multiple smartphone OS versions simultaneously on a cloud-based system, helping deliver significant cost savings and providing easily accessible testing environments for content providers.