A Guide to Mobile Technology
Mobile Technology Definition
Mobile technology consists of any portable two-way computing device and the communication networks that connect them. Businesses often rely on mobile devices to share files and data, while individual consumers may use the technology to watch movies and scroll social media feeds. Regardless of the context, mobile technology enables people to complete tasks from any location, adding more flexibility to tech users’ everyday lives.
What Is Mobile Technology?
Mobile technology is a category consisting of a wide range of devices, with new two-way technology being created each day with unique uses. Regardless of form factor, all of these are linked by their capability to send and receive signals by communicating with other devices on networks.
Types of Mobile Networks
For a mobile tech device to connect to other devices or use the internet, it must have access to a network that allows it to transmit a signal. Though mobile technology is often exemplified by physical devices, networks and their infrastructure can also be considered mobile technology. Each network is unique in its functionality.
- Cellular Networks: Cellular networks operate through radio networks distributed via cell towers, which allows mobile devices to automatically switch frequencies to their nearest geographical tower without interruption. Cellular networks have the capability to service mass amounts of users at a single time and are currently in their fifth generation of service.
- 4G: Referring to the fourth generation of cellular service, 4G operates on packet switching technology and organizes data into smaller groupings for fast transmission before reassembling at the destination.
- 5G: The fifth generation of network service has led to new infrastructure for widespread adoption and operates at higher frequencies in aggregated bands. This allows networks to access more bandwidth and increase transmission speed. 5G is reported to be up to 100 times faster at sending and receiving signals than 4G.
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi utilizes radio wave technology to connect devices to localized hotspot routers. Internet providers allow users to connect to their network but will not automatically pass signals to a device without a WiFi connection. Users will often have the ability to make their WiFi network available for public or private use.
- Bluetooth: Rather than connect devices to the internet, Bluetooth networks connect devices to other devices via short-wavelength radio waves.
Mobile Device Examples
Mobile devices are everywhere, and they’re not just limited to the phones in our pockets. Whether it’s distributing a stronger WiFi signal or enabling a user to access phone calls from their wrist, mobile devices come in all shapes, sizes and functionalities. Some of the most popular forms of mobile technology include:
- Smartphones: Most people in the U.S. have access to a smartphone today, but any cell phone can be considered mobile technology.
- Laptops: An evolution from the notebook computers of the past, modern laptops come in a variety of sizes but nearly all contain two-way network connectivity capabilities and can be used in a variety of environments.
- Tablets: Often operating on the same systems as smartphones but with more powerful components, tablets offer even more portability than laptops with much of the same functionality.
- Smartwatches: These devices are designed to sync with other devices, like smartphones or laptops, and utilize cloud capabilities to display notifications and applications on a smaller, wearable screen.
- Hotspots: Devices require an internet connection of some kind to access the internet and hotspots provide a solution when a connection would be otherwise unattainable. Often running via cellular networks, hotspots host private WiFi networks that users can connect to in a wider range of environments.
- Mobile Gaming Consoles: Gaming consoles have long existed in portable forms, but newer generations possess the power to rival home consoles and feature two-way connectivity for accessing downloadable content, playing games with others over a network and sending messages.
- IoT Devices: Many, but not all, IoT devices can be considered mobile technology, such as sensors and smartwatches. These devices represent a broad category and react to their environment to communicate specific signals when an event is triggered.
Advantages of Mobile Technology
Mobile technology offers many benefits for those using it in everyday life. It also opens up many possibilities for businesses operating with an agile and forward-thinking mindset. Through the use of mobile tech combined with SaaS platforms and cloud-based infrastructure for remote data access, these enterprises are able to streamline processes while reducing costs and maintaining productivity across the entire workforce.
Benefits of Mobile Technology
- Cloud-based development
- Edge computing
Capabilities of Enterprise Mobile Technology
Enterprise mobile technology reduces the costs associated with the constant device and infrastructure replacement cycle while also allowing powerful devices to be utilized in a portable fashion. This eliminates the need for employees to access multiple workstations and centralizes all data and communications to a single device.
Mobile technology can significantly improve the onboarding process for both employees and companies by centralizing all data and information to a single device. This gives new employees the ability to access everything they’ll need to become a productive part of the team while also allowing them to utilize their choice of technology. Mobile technology also makes onboarding customers simpler for similar reasons and takes much of the frustration out of the process.
A workforce that operates through the cloud and mobile technology means development can take place anywhere. This opens the door for forming a diverse global workforce, each bringing unique viewpoints and work schedules to businesses so growth can continue uninterrupted.
Powerful computing devices are expensive, especially when it comes to ensuring the entire enterprise has the tools it needs to operate properly. Mobile technology devices make it easier to clear data and pass outgoing equipment onto incoming employees. This also streamlines the device management process and maintains security across the organization.
Mobile Device Management
Necessary Features for Mobile Device Management
- Device visibility
- Application security
- Data security
- Identity recognition tools
- Malware and antivirus protection
Mobile devices offer many enterprise business applications, but they also pose new challenges if not managed properly. The line between personal and business data can become blurred when migrating to a mobile-first enterprise, especially when devices are employee-owned or travel between home and the office. This creates the potential for data breaches and compromises the intellectual property of both the individual and the business. However, security challenges can often be overcome by utilizing Enterprise Mobility Management techniques and platforms.
Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) combines Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management tools into a single platform, providing IT and network professionals with complete visibility over the security of the entire enterprise. EMM platforms are designed to keep security as the top priority and often feature alerting and reporting capabilities to locate and mitigate security threats promptly.
What to look for in Enterprise Mobility Management software:
- Supports multiple forms of mobile devices and operating systems
- Provides real-time insights on device inventory
- Integrates with existing applications
- Defines roles and responsibilities
- Features always-on connectivity and recognizes device tampering
Emerging Mobile Technology
Mobile technology continues to evolve as people embrace some of the latest trends for applying tech to their daily lives. From businesses to individuals, consumers are looking for faster and more convenient ways to explore properties, analyze health data and participate in online games, among other activities. A suite of new technologies has answered the call, hinting at a future full of possibilities for the mobile technology sector.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have become entrenched in various industries, including the gaming world. For example, the Pokémon GO game comes equipped with an AR+ mode that more closely ties characters to real-world settings. However, this technology also streamlines workflows within many professional sectors:
- Healthcare: VR headsets immerse medical students in simulations that allow them to practice essential skills before entering the field.
- Real Estate: Realtors rely on VR to conduct virtual tours of properties, giving customers safer and more accessible viewing options.
- Construction: VR and AR technology enable workers to survey construction sites, record notes and take pre- and post-project images.
- Education: Classrooms have enhanced learning experiences by introducing students to 3D objects and visuals via AR and VR.
- Sports: Professional athletes work through AR- and VR-powered simulations, collecting and analyzing data during these high-tech training sessions.
Wearables have become a widespread technology, winning over both casual users and professionals. Apple watches, Fitbits and Garmin watches are examples of smart watches that collect data during physical activity. This ability has transformed wearables into crucial health devices that doctors can distribute to patients to monitor their conditions. Some also consider certain VR and AR devices to be part of the wearables category. While VR glasses help students learn through more interactive experiences, smart glasses allow logistics workers to review and update a database while traveling through a warehouse.
Mobile IoT Applications
Combining the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile applications, mobile IoT apps gather and share data across portable devices. Within a more personal context, an IoT-powered smoke detector can send alerts to a homeowner’s phone. This principle can be applied on a larger scale, such as a traffic system gathering traffic data and sending updates to the phones of any customer who signs up for the service. From workers in high-risk environments to consumers in their homes, a range of situations become much easier to navigate as app development companies perfect their mobile IoT applications.