The high penetration of smartphones and internet connection has facilitated app developers and consumers to save data and communicate with the same in several ways. The provision of unlimited storage and the infinite processing capacity via cloud has proved to be a boon for techies as well as non technical personnels. Despite many companies moving to the cloud computing domain there are some who are shying away from incorporating the cloud in their mobile app development process. Native apps had been the rule till now, but the latest innovations in app development have put focus on mobile cloud computing.
According to Cisco’s research, the popularity of mobile cloud apps is bound to peak in 2019. As per their Global Cloud Index, the company said that cloud apps would accelerate 92 percent of the worldwide mobile data traffic by the conclusion of the year.
With cloud technology increasing its footprints globally, companies can only succeed by integrating cloud computing with mobile apps.
As the majority of the mobile cloud computing or MCC conversations get cramped with technical jargon, we start by dealing with the critical terms in the mobile cloud apps universe.
What do you mean by Cloud Computing?
The concept of cloud computing is constantly evolving in line with its characteristics, offerings, service, and deployment models. Basically, cloud computing can be defined as an on-demand network access to a host of resources sans any communications with the service provider.
In simple terms, cloud computing assures swift and convenient availability of a portion of important resources to clients who have to pay according to the usage. The shared resources such as mobile apps, software, and other services are offered to smartphone and desktop users according to demand.
Also, cloud computing permits users to maneuver their calculating ability based on their needs for a particular task at a certain time. Users will not have to think about the processing power or storage and derive the desired results devoid of compromising upon the quality.
Cloud Mobile App
This happens to be a mobile application functioning and accessed via the cloud. Despite cloud apps and services having native attributes, a huge chunk of the processing happens on a remote cloud server.
Some well-known examples of cloud mobile apps are Dropbox, Asana, and Apple’s iCloud services.
How Cloud Computing impacts Mobile Apps?
The integration of cloud computing in mobile apps has facilitated developers to include innovative features in apps that would have been inconceivable a few years ago. Let us see in what ways cloud computing has impacted mobile apps.
1. Gels with every platform
Cloud computing technology brought down the requirement for creating separate apps for diverse OS platforms. Dissimilar to native apps, cloud mobile apps have high compatibility across several platforms, which cuts down development cost as well as time.
Cloud computing technology also enables developers to create a single app and launch it in one go across platforms such as Android and iOS. As the app is available on the cloud in place of a platform, users won’t have any access issues provided they have a good internet connection.
2. Cut down expenses
The development expenditure regarding a native mobile app differs as per the features, design, and whole complexity of the app. But it is not exactly a cost-effective affair.
Cloud apps, however, cut down the app development expenditure as you have to develop just a single app for various platforms. The usage of a sole codebase can be perfect for small businesses or startups who work on tight budgets and they can’t spend huge on a native mobile app for Android and iOS. Several inexperienced developers have the tendency to ignore the ongoing maintenance cost linked with the app. In order for an app to operate smoothly, it requires maintenance and updation to cut down bugs.
3. High scope for scalability
Scalability pertains to capacity of an application to expand its abity and functionalities to satisfy ever-evolving users’ demand.
With regard to native and hybrid apps, the scalability comes at a premium. It can be a bit too expensive even for well-established companies. However with cloud apps, the users will not have the need to instal new features to their device or update their apps regularly to effect changes to the app. This can be done on native apps as well, but the cost and complexity will be on the higher side than cloud mobile apps.
Additionally, the users would also come across several hitches if the developer has not tested the new features thoroughly for bugs. This would prompt users to either uninstall your app, shift to your competitor’s app, or worse, give a poor rating across app stores and social media platforms.
4. Storage Space in Smartphone not required
The data pertaining to a cloud-oriented app is found on a cloud server that is placed remotely and accessed easily via a device aided by an internet connection. Cloud apps also cut down the installation procedures as they operate from a browser.
So with cloud apps, you do not have to scratch your head for storage capacity on the smartphone. In case of a low storage space on a smartphone, the user will not have to make space on the phone to access a cloud-oriented app. Their operation is akin to web-based apps and accessed straight from the central server.
Problems plaguing Cloud Computing in Mobile Apps
The concept of cloud computing in mobile apps revolves around a mobile application in the cloud services by a cloud service provider and then giving it to the end-users having an internet connection. There are some challenges obstructing the usability of cloud-based apps. Here are some significant challenges:
1. Information Security
Security is a huge problem regarding cloud apps as they store and process users’ data. App developing entities have to collaborate with third-party cloud service providers to make sure that all the policies pertaining to user authentication, access control, and general communications security are complied with, and steps have been taken to enforce them.
2. Unstable Internet Access
To access a cloud app without any hiccups, users require a stable internet connection. But the sad reality is that the same is lacking at many places across the world.
Despite the internet services providers offering 4G/LTE services to deal with the connectivity issues, the problem still persists. Without good internet connection cloud services cannot be leveraged to the optimum.
3. Resource gap in Mobile Devices
Despite mobile devices offering the feature of mobility, the same comes at the expense of inferior processing power, memory, and network bandwidth. The gap in resources regarding smartphones is a major stumbling block in adopting cloud-based apps. The divide between desktops and mobile devices has to be narrowed down considerably to smoothly operate high powered cloud-based applications on smartphones.
The usage of cloud computing in mobile apps is going to get higher in the long run. Advantages such as expandability, compatibility, and commercial viability, give a significant edge to cloud-based mobile apps. But, technology is still taking baby steps.
So, the course it will take in future will only become apparent once companies tackle issues such as data security, confidentiality, and privacy.