By David Maitland, General Manager at Couchbase
By now we’re all familiar with the notion that we’re living in an increasingly ‘mobile world’. Just take a glance at fellow passengers on any train carriage during the morning commute, with their heads down tapping at screens. Or walk down your local high street and try not to bump into wandering smartphone addicts. It’s clear that we’re reliant on smartphones and tablets for news, entertainment and social networking, but what does the growing mobile mindset mean for app developers and those that deliver the terabytes of data that we’re so hungry for?
A mobile mindset goes beyond having a mobile-friendly homepage to carry favour with Google’s new algorithms. Mobile technology has opened up emerging markets, transformed the way businesses think and changed the way we engage from banking to hailing a taxi. Today smartphones have forced businesses of all sizes to change tact, embracing apps and harnessing the power of the digital economy to make our lives easier and crucially, more convenient. The much talked about Internet of Things Industrial revolution has sent shock waves through many long standing industries due to the ever valuable data that smart devices are increasingly emitting.
The 5G race across Europe is being propelled by smartphone growth, this coupled with the rise of wearable and connected devices means there’s a constant demand for bandwidth-heavy media that needs to be delivered instantly. US and South East Asia may have taken the lead in the journey towards 5G, but it’s fascinating to view the effect on the Telco industry as a whole. Recent market consolidation and the sheer demand from businesses and consumers for mobile broadband is putting a strain on connectivity. Gartner predicts in three years, more than 50 per cent of users will use a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities, and who can tell if mobile demand will slow down?
With demand, comes obvious pressures on supply. Just as the iPhone’s arrival in 2007 sparked mass change in telecommunications and device demand, today’s challenge is to always be connected. Music streaming services are setting the standard with offline capabilities but behind every offline sing along is a developer who’s conquered the gauntlet of delivering a truly ‘always on’ experience.
Apps that are no longer reliant on traditional cellular connectivity go someway to meet modern mobility requirements. Personalised apps demand a supporting database that can deal with masses of unstructured data such as images, videos and social media data. NoSQL technology is the backbone to these user-friendly apps, as is the case with Ryanair, that allow air travelers added flexibility to manage their bookings despite being offline.
Today, emerging markets are rapidly being opened up through mobile connectivity. Users are coming online for the first time, through a combination of affordable premium devices and the evolution of 4G LTE. Three in five smartphone users in urban India are now using mobile broadband according to a recent study by Ericsson. This just shows how mobile is truly changing behaviours of business and consumers alike, but what’s constant is our high level of expectations to stay connected, whether we’re online or not.