By 2014, the personal cloud will replace the personal computer at the center of users' digital lives, according to a report released by Gartner March 12. The personal cloud will usher in a new era in personal computing that will revolutionize the way users access data by providing increased flexibility to multiple devices and leveraging those devices to create increased user satisfaction and productivity. This new era in personal computing also will require that enterprises rethink how they deliver applications and services to their users. “Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices,” Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said. “Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life.” Although many observers view this as the “post-PC era”, Kleynhans believes the focus really is on a new style of personal computing that frees individuals to use computing in fundamentally new ways to improve multiple aspects of their work and personal lives. Several factors are combining to create this new era. These “megatrends,” as the report calls them, have origins over the past decade, but now are combining to shift traditional IT paradigms. The first megatrend is the consumerization of IT, which already has changed the corporate IT world. Gartner believes this trend eventually will change all aspects of IT. The second megatrend is virtualization, which has improved flexibility and increased the options for how IT organizations can implement client environments. This, in turn, frees applications from individual devices, operating systems or even processor architectures and provides a way to move legacy applications and processes developed in the PC era forward into the new era. The third megatrend, is “app-ification” which refers to the changing way that applications are designed, delivered and consumed by users. This will have a profound impact on how applications are written and managed in corporate environments and enable greater cross-platform portability. The fourth megatrend is the self-service cloud, which is the advent of the cloud for servicing individual users and the fifth megatrend is the mobility shift. By combining mobile devices with the cloud, users can fulfill most computing tasks. The report is available on Gartner’s website.
(Contact: Gartner, Inc., 408-468-8312, www.gartner.com.)
China will replace the United States as the leading country-level market for smartphone shipments in 2012, according to a new report by International Data Corp. (IDC). Additionally, the emerging markets of India and Brazil will enter the top five country markets for smartphone shipments.
“Due to their sheer size, strong demand, and healthy replacement rates, emerging markets are quickly becoming the engines of the worldwide smartphone market,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC senior research analyst with the Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. “Users in emerging markets seek more than simple voice telephony, and smartphones offer the ideal platform for mobile entertainment, social networking, and business usage as seen in developed markets.” IDC researchers believe that mature markets, such as Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, will continue to experience growth in smartphone adoption, but volumes will not keep pace with those in emerging markets.
(Contact: International Data Corporation, 508-935-4736 or 650-350-6423, www.idc.com.)
Businesses can improve communications, recruiting, customer relationships and other processes by expanding their social engagement beyond well-known public sites, according to a new study by CompTIA.
For businesses, the social space can be divided into two categories: public social media sites and social enterprise tools that bring social capabilities into an organization's business processes. "Social media and social networking are widely recognized terms associated with large public sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn," said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA. "But these terms do not fully convey the full range of social applications available to businesses." Social enterprise tools incorporate the characteristics of social media into business processes, allowing for stronger internal collaboration, deeper understanding of customers and other positive outcomes. The top five business benefits of employing social tools identified in CompTIA's Social Business: Trends and Opportunities study are:
• Better communication with customers, cited by 61 percent of responding companies
• Cost savings (51 percent)
• Brand positioning (49 percent)
• Real-time customer satisfaction (48 percent)
• Potential lead generation (43 percent)
"Companies find that the conversational nature of social media allows them to carry on discussions with their customers, strengthening the relationship and gleaning insights on products, services and satisfaction," Robinson said. "It makes good business sense to apply their success using social tools to internal activities and processes." However, the move to the social enterprise is in its infancy for most organizations – if it's even started at all. Companies may also struggle through several trial-and-error scenarios as they meld new social tools with existing communications platforms and operational processes.
(Contact: CompTIA, www.comptia.org)
The West and Central African region has witnessed a dramatic increase in mobile broadband connections, mainly due to the surge in mobile broadband connections in Nigeria, according to a new Frost & Sullivan report.
The market, covering Nigeria, Ghana, DRC and Gabon, earned revenues of approximately $1.2 billion in 2010 and Frost estimates this to reach $2.5 billion in 2017. The low levels of broadband penetration in the four countries indicate that there are significant growth opportunities. With the deployment of advanced technologies such as 3G networks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon, mobile broadband subscribers are expected to outpace fixed broadband connections in these two countries over the next 5 years. “The availability of cost-effective mobile and wireless solutions will be a key market driver,” said Mervin Miemoukanda, an information and communications technologies research analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “At the same time, greater demand for access to social media platforms will emerge as the most important factor for market participants to formulate their strategy for this year.” The report goes on to say that rising demand for broadband services in the region has helped reduce the cost of customer-premises equipment, as well as smartphones. Internet service providers (ISPs) have introduced affordable Chinese customer-premises equipment to deliver broadband services to consumers. And the advent of social media platforms, coupled with growing computer-literate societies, has boosted demand for broadband connections across the region. As a result, the number of broadband users in these countries has swelled. With decreased bandwidth costs in the region, the uptake of broadband services is expected to increase significantly. More and more households – as well as small and medium companies -- are expected to sign up for broadband services. As voice revenues have been declining, mobile operators are expected to shift focus on broadband services to maintain profit margins.
(Frost & Sullivan, 877-463-7678, www.frost.com.)
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