What is Mobile Cloud Computing?

Mobile cloud computing (MCC) is the method of using cloud technology to deliver mobile apps. Complex mobile apps today perform tasks such as authentication, location-aware functions, and providing targeted content and communication for end users. Hence, they require extensive computational resources such as data storage capacity, memory, and processing power. Mobile cloud computing takes the pressure off mobile devices by harnessing the power of cloud infrastructure. Developers build and update rich mobile apps using cloud services and then deploy them for remote access from any device. These cloud-based mobile apps use cloud technology to store and process data so that the app is usable on all types of old and new mobile devices.

Why is mobile cloud computing important?

Modern customers expect the convenience of accessing a company's website and applications remotely from anywhere and at any time. Organizations use mobile cloud computing applications to meet this expectation efficiently and cost-effectively. They run complex workloads on cloud resources so that users are not limited by their device capacity or operating system. Advantages of using mobile cloud computing include the following:

Wider reach

Mobile application developers can reach a large market because MCC is platform independent. Cloud-based mobile apps are serverless and run on any device and operating system. Developers can maintain them centrally and publish updates across all platforms with minimal effort.
 

Real-time analytics

Cloud apps store data centrally on the same cloud infrastructure. The backend cloud services can integrate multiple data points quickly, and communicate with several other applications to provide accurate real-time analytics. Users can securely collect and integrate data from various sources. Internet of Things (IoT) also enables cloud connected, real-time experiences and communications in mobile apps.

Improved user experience

As long as they have a strong internet connection, mobile cloud application users can enjoy a seamless application experience across platforms and devices such as desktops, mobiles, and tablets. They can access rich computational resources not present on their device. If the device is lost or stolen, their data remains backed up to cloud data storage, and they can recover it quickly.

Cost efficiency

Cloud providers offer a pay-as-you-go model so that you pay only for the cloud-based resources that you actually use. This makes it less costly than purchasing and maintaining your on-premises servers. Additionally, if the cloud apps are for internal use, your organization can permit employees to install the mobile apps on their own devices. They do not have to purchase specific device configurations for all employees.

What are some use cases of mobile cloud computing?

You can develop mobile cloud applications for any type of use case. The following are common examples of mobile cloud computing.

Interactive experiences

Interactive experiences in media and entertainment use MCC to share information in real time to end users. Example applications include financial tickers, voting, and music streaming apps with offline and online capabilities. Similarly, location-aware features based on end-user real-time location, such as geo-based marketing or map searches for places close to the user’s physical location, require cloud computing.

Social media

Mobile social networking users share and access large data files such as images and videos. Cloud applications have data processing functions so that mobile users can view shared files in real time without overloading their mobile device.

Commerce

Many mobile commerce and banking apps use cloud computing technology to meet their mobile user demands efficiently. They store data in the cloud and limit user views to exactly what they need. For example, if you are shopping using the Amazon mobile application and you search for Outdoor shoes, the application will limit your view to the top three or four relevant results. As you scroll, it will load more results on your mobile device, thus protecting it from overload.

Mobile gaming

Mobile gaming requires heavy graphics and videos, real-time updates in a multiplayer environment, and several other complex computational functions. Cloud mobile gaming employs cloud-based services to run the game applications remotely. They encode game graphics in a video stream for transmission over mobile networks to mobile devices. Thus, mobile users can enjoy games without adverse impact to phone performance or device overheating.

Healthcare

Healthcare workers require mobile healthcare solutions to manage patient care on the go. For example, they require instant notifications in case of medical emergencies, and access to hundreds of patient records and data. Health organizations can create mobile cloud computing applications for all types of workflows that employees can install and access from their mobile device of choice.

How does mobile cloud computing work?

Mobile cloud computing works by seamlessly switching between resources in the cloud environment and on mobile devices to improve the experience of mobile users. Applications running on mobile devices send data requests over the internet to the cloud. Remote servers process the requests and return the appropriate response, which is then displayed to the mobile users.

Mobile cloud computing architecture uses four main types of cloud-based resources.

Distant immobile clouds

The term distant immobile clouds refers to the virtual servers that cloud computing providers manage. For example, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances fall in this category. Developers write the application code and deploy the code to these virtual servers. The servers then process and respond to the mobile data requests.

Proximate immobile computing entities

Proximate immobile computing entities are backend server machines that are located geographically closer to your mobile users. They make MCC faster and overcome the challenges of network lag. For example, you can configure your Amazon EC2 instances to a specific AWS Region or location closer to your end users.

Proximate mobile computing entities

Some mobile cloud applications can access the unused computational resources of nearby mobile devices to improve their performance. Such mobile devices, smartphones, and wearables are called proximate mobile computing devices.

Hybrid solutions

Hybrid MCC solutions use a combination of the preceding three types of resources to support your business applications more efficiently.

What are the types of mobile cloud computing solutions?

The two types of mobile cloud computing solutions are general-purpose MCC (GPMCC) and application-specific MCC (ASMCC).

General-purpose MCC solutions

General-purpose MCC (GPMCC) solutions are general systems that use cloud computing to boost phone performance. They outsource compute-intensive tasks, such as speech recognition, image augmentation, and video indexing, to cloud computing providers.

Application-specific MCC solutions

Application-specific MCC (ASMCC) solutions use mobile cloud computing to improve the performance of specific applications. These applications require more computational power and perform better with several functions running on the cloud. For example, email clients and video streaming applications run better on ASMCC.

Why is mobile cloud computing safe?

The data you save on the cloud is safer than the data you store on your computer’s hard drive.

Here are some reasons why mobile cloud computing is safer:

  • Servers are typically located in warehouses in locations that people do not have access to.
  • Files stored on cloud servers are encrypted, making it difficult for cybercriminals to access them.
  • Cloud service providers update security measures regularly.
  • Artificial algorithms seek out and identify possible vulnerabilities in security.
  • Hardware or software-based firewalls block suspicious traffic.
  • The files are backed up on many different servers. 

How can AWS help with mobile cloud computing?

Frontend web and mobile on AWS offers a broad set of tools and services to support development workflows for mobile application developers. With the speed and reliability of AWS infrastructure, you can develop, deploy, and secure your applications at the scale you require. For example, you can use the following AWS services and resources:

  • AWS Amplify to build scalable applications with authentication, storage, analytics, and artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • AWS Amplify Hosting for hosting fast, secure, and reliable static and server-side rendered apps that scale with your business.
  • AWS Device Farm to improve the quality of your web and mobile applications by testing across desktop browsers and real mobile devices hosted on AWS.
  • Amazon Chime SDK to add audio, video, and desktop sharing capabilities to your applications.

The latest in mobile cloud computing is AWS Wavelength, which embeds AWS compute and storage services within 5G networks. This service provides mobile edge computing infrastructure for developing, deploying, and scaling ultra-low-latency applications. Using familiar AWS services, APIs, and tools, you can build next-generation applications much faster.

Get started with mobile cloud computing on AWS by creating an AWS account today.

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