Strictly speaking, the two megatrends mobile computing and cloud computing are already underway side by side for several years.
What many providers e.g. Apple has avoided for years, Google already paid in the introduction of Android, and has recognized special value to the enormous growth potential. Thus, for example Google oriented its services like mail, calendar, etc. and the app deployment on their cloud based market.
The first Android device (HTC Dream | T-Mobile G1) was launched on 22. of October 2008. The target group was primarily private users with a Google account who wanted to sync their e-mails, appointments, contacts etc. After a year, the system developed slowly but surely coming to a mobile platform for the corporate use. The update to Android 1.6 also brought the long awaited opportunity to connect to a remote site via a VPN. Connections could be made here by the use of PPTP and L2TP (PSK IPsec or IPsec CRT).
For using Android in the enterprise a lot of apps have been released in the last two years. But in my opinion the biggest advantage for the use in the enterprise is the portability. Beside on smartphones Android can also be used on netbooks, tablets or any other devices like mobile data acquisition units, cash registers, and any embedded systems.
The simplest Android related scenario and yet with the least effort is the full use of the Google infrastructure. This assumes, however, that the company already use Google Apps for e-mail communication and managing calendar and contacts. Android per se is fully integrated into the Google infrastructure. Thus, all the changes for example in the mailbox or the calendar are automatically synchronized with the Google servers. Therefore, the data of a user is always up to date, regardless of the used workstation (desktop, mobile, etc.). Please note, this is the optimal scenario and can not be implemented without additional effort, for example when you are using an Exchange
Ideal for a cloud strategy
Android follows the idea of cloud computing. This means that the data lie in a server farm on the Internet and synchronize in this case with the mobile device. If a company decides e.g. for the above scenario where the data is stored at Google, they can be dispensed with the provision and maintenance of a mobile infrastructure in their own data center, which is a clear cost advantage. By storing company data on servers and not on the mobile device, the data are protected. The mobile device can be blocked centrally in the event of theft or other mishaps at any time or administered centrally in general. Telephone conversations can take place via the corporate network. The talks will be launched from the mobile device and then routed over the corporate network. The advantage is the clear separation of private and business calls, using a single phone number and access to the central contact database of the company. In addition to (mobile) telephone conferences on the enterprise network regardless of location / time and any number of users is the ability to query the current status of each user to see as if he/ she is just available. Further, Sales representatives have access to all data (eg CRM or ERP) from anywhere via a (mobile) Internet connection.
The Mobile Cloud is not an issue for the future but for some time now arrived in the present. It is where the two megatrends mobile computing and cloud computing merge to a hyper-trend (if one may call it so) and allow companies and their employees thus enabling access to all data from each place and at any time.