Mobile can be a business driver, say panelists

Enterprise mobility has long played an important role for organizations' execution of business processes--from the salesforce delivering presentations on their iPads to warehouse staff using mobile devices to take inventory. But mobile also has the potential to drive the business decisions behind those services, said panelists speaking March 25 and 26 during the NIST Intersection of Cloud and Mobility Conference in Gaithersburg, Md.

The power of mobile to drive business is due in part to the increase in data collected through smartphones. The average mobile device has 15 sensors, said Chris Kemp, founder and CEO of Nebula, Inc.

"People are not aware of their new capabilities; people are using phones the same way as phones without access to data," said panelist Angelos Stavrou, professor of computer science at George Mason University.

Employees and customers may not be aware, but chief information officers should be--and they should be looking for ways to leverage that information.

"We look at mobile devices--what are they inherently good at? The collection and sharing of information," said Bryan Coapstick, regional mobility leader at HP.

The transformation happens from applying analytics to the vast amount of information being gathered.

These analytics, the same ones being used to profile and market to consumers, will be the true driver of technology over the next 5 to 10 years, added Coapstick.

The collection, storage and analysis of data are closely linked to cloud technology as well. Dawn Leaf, deputy CIO at the Department of Labor said the intelligence gleaned from such information will dictate the delivery of services and the shape of business models.

"That's what I see as the biggest driver, not necessarily the technology, but the business model behind it," Leaf told attendees.

Businesses could take a few pointers from the government in this regard. Waves of local mobile apps have garnered attention for their ability to crowdsource data through mobile devices and gather information that drives citizen services.

One such app is Street Bump, which uses a motion detector in smartphones to "sense when a bump is hit" while operating a vehicle, according to a recent post by Pam Baker on FierceBigData. This data is sent to the cloud where it's distributed to government entities that handle the necessary repairs.

Molly Bernhart Walker contributed to this report.

For more:
- see the NIST Intersection of Cloud and mobility event page

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