Mobile technology is invading the enterprise as never before, and while it is surely transformative in itself, there are layers of technology in play today that can help companies leverage mobile in new and novel ways.
This disruptive technology can be found in organizations large and small. But it is in combining multiple technologies that their true power is revealed, one industry observer has noted.
So what does a rock have to do with it?
Look to the Present
Companies too often design systems that are meant for the previous generation of technology, J. Bruce Daley, an analyst with Constellation Research said in an interview.
"We saw in the early days of the web, with interfaces that looked like they were designed for mainframe terminals, with flat green screens," he said. "It's the same thing with mobile. These are next generation devices where developers have to visualize systems that can take advantage of things like geolocation and voice control."
Visionary developers can take advantage of powerful mobile technologies, for example, by exercising a principle Daley calls the Inclusion Layer. He defines this idea more fully in a report issued last month, Inclusion Layer Products Enter the Market:
Products like Salesforce1, AppStream, and aMind Web and Mobile Frameworks belong to a new layer of infrastructure built in the cloud above standard software stacks — the inclusion layer. The new level is called an inclusion layer because it allows devices and applications to be included together to form compound applications that can be run on mass-market devices such as mobile phones or tablets."
To understand an inclusion layer, you have to understand basic geology. In geology, an inclusion takes place when older rock is enclosed inside newer rock. Now, apply that concept to software. In software, inclusions take place when APIs and device- specific code are enclosed inside a layer of software that manages access, security and identity.
This inclusion layer sits above a standard software stack, allowing devices and applications to form compound applications that can be run on mass market devices, Daley explained.
Solving a Problem
"Most large organizations have an integration problem, and the way they integrate is at the database level. This is complicated," Daley said. "With the inclusion layer, information can stay in silos, and the data can be integrated via mobile device capabilities."
In this type of configuration, data flows back and forth without the devices or the applications being designed to work together, Daley noted in the report. Particularly as it relates to the bring your own device (BYOD) to work phenomenon, there is no standard way for companies to address all the different device types.
Large IT organizations don't have the ability to manage all those protocols. Workers and customers need to have access to enterprise systems, and that data needs to be pushed to a mobile device, for example, he said. "This could be the next big marketplace for enterprises."
Case Study: Filemobile
For a look at just one example of the kind of technology that could be part of this marketplace, Daley suggested a company called Filemobile. It's a niche product, but its focus is on user generated content (UGC) and its geolocation capabilities take advantage of mobile devices.
The most obvious comparison to a company that also focuses on UGC is Storify. Storify can mine public social media posts related to a specific keyword or event, for example. Filemobile, on the other hand, has a broader focus, and can take advantage of enterprise systems, Marc Milgrom, Filemobile president said in an interview.
Daley referenced Filemobile's Media Factory product. It allows media companies, for instance, to pull in relevant content from Twitter and Instagram, but also have customers upload their own images or video.
That UGC can then be curated, published and amplified. Where the power of mobile devices comes in is in the ability for Filemobile to use geographic location based content around things like events or news items. A media company may want to focus on readers or viewers located near a storm or news event and take advantage of the content coming in from those people.
There's even a way for companies to push out notifications based on location, and to have those recipients upload their images or video, for example. Combine this power with the ability to connect relevant information to data already found in a CRM system, for example, and we've got an inclusion layer.
Taking that location based technology and extending it with data from enterprise systems, all folded into one application is kind of disruptive vision that could be found with tools fitting the inclusion layer theory.
"In this case, it's a niche product, but the applications that could be invented with that combination of capabilities has lots of potential," Daley said.
Title image by Photo Fun (Shutterstock).