What Is Mobile Cloud and Why Should Anyone Care?

June 24, 2014 - 5 Comments

As organizations seek ways to maintain real-time connections with their workforce and customers in an increasingly digital and mobile-centered world, the growth of mobile cloud will be a major force in shaping the business landscape and future tech decisions. The first blog post in this series, by Padmasree Warrior, explores how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations. This post will answer the question of what mobile cloud really is and how it continues to provide new business opportunities.  

We’ve come a long way since the first brick-like mobile phones entered the market. Today, the proliferation of all kinds of smart devices – tablets, phones and wearables – that are connected to the cloud are changing how we connect both for business and personal uses.

As mobile user behavior continues to evolve, connection to the cloud becomes more critical. For example, according to our Cisco Global Cloud Index, by 2017, 69 percent of global data center traffic will come from cloud services and applications, increasing nearly fivefold from 2012. The report also shows an increase in global mobile broadband adoption, and how mobile device ownership and connections influence cloud-readiness.


And with cloud computing becoming the new way of delivering and charging for IT services, the convergence of these trends – the “mobile cloud” – stands to significantly increase the overall value of mobility, as well as radically alter the way employees work and businesses operate. The mobile cloud will lead to “Empowered Employees” and “Engaged Customers”.

So exactly what is mobile cloud and more importantly, how is it impacting our industry and creating a new world of possibilities for IT?

The easiest way to define mobile cloud is to see it as a combination of cloud computing and mobile networks that benefits mobile users, network operators and cloud computing providers.

Mobile cloud enables seamless execution of mobile applications on a variety of mobile devices, so users have a richer experience, regardless of their location. The convergence of mobile and cloud into a single, cohesive, symbiotic platform is so influential in our daily lives, the IDC has dubbed it the “Third Platform”.

For IT, this “Third Platform” has provided a number of benefits to their operations. Mobile cloud computing has simplified the gathering and implementation of big data analytics, enabling corporations to stay competitive, regardless of the industry they are affiliated with. Government, education and healthcare are just a few of the fields whose CIOs have reaped the benefits mobile cloud’s streamlined and cost-savings measures make possible. The IT group for the Career Education Corporation used mobile cloud technology to create a single solution that increased storage utilization and capacity, resulting in consolidated data centers and greater network speed for the 12,000 employees and 75,000 students who are in an increasingly mobile environment.


Forbes touched on the mobile cloud phenomenon in a recent article, outlining how it has driven companies to build and acquire other entities and adapt their own business practices to keep up in an increasingly mobile world. Realizing the value that mobile cloud development brings to an organization is simple enough, but for some, actually implementing it can seem like an overwhelming process.  When implementing mobile cloud, CIOs should consider their business needs, budget for investing in the technology and most importantly, which mobile cloud service provider has the ability to meet the demands of their mobile cloud needs.

With billions of devices in use across the world, mobile cloud has provided the means to engage, connect and conduct business. Has your organization taken a new look at how best to innovate business using the reach of mobile cloud?

Visit Executive Perspectives to learn more about how converging technology trends are shaping the way IT operates and delivers services. Be sure to join the conversation, #CiscoCloud and #FutureOfMobility.

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  1. Thanks for the highly informative article. There are of course tradeoffs between security and convenience, in terms of the cloud. In our experience security usually trails far behind convenience, and you wind up discovering that nothing is as secure as you thought it might be. This is greatly complicated by the whole BYOD paradigm and figuring out how to secure intranets on devices that employees carry around and expose to every situation imaginable, such as the ubiquitous wireless access at a Starbucks.

  2. You said “Mobile cloud enables seamless execution of mobile applications on a variety of mobile devices, so users have a richer experience, regardless of their location.”

    Agreed. Also, the BYOD trend, combined with the integration between app software on smartphones or tablets and the corresponding cloud services, create some new challenges for enterprise IT managers.

    In the past, most mobile management tools focused on the device, but the latest trend is the growing adoption of Mobile Application Management — here’s more details from a recent global market study http://bit.ly/1m59Bmq

    • David,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We’ve seen the industry expand its focus from device management (MDM) to application management (MAM) and information management (MIM/MCM). However, it’s important to focus on not just managing and securing devices and applications, but also how it’s being accessed and used—ensuring complicance with various industry and government regulations (like PCI, HIPPA, etc.). Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) provides that context-based access control and provides tight linkage between MDM/MAM tools through API integration (more information can be found here). Cisco also recently announced Enterprise Mobility Service Platform (EMSP) to enable organizations to leverage the network and customer intelligence to speed up application development and delivery (learn more here).

  3. The cloud is becoming increasingly more common for file storage and sharing. This article implies that in order for companies to be successful, they will need to embrace this new technology. What about security concerns? Many of our customers have proprietary data that could result in significant financial damage if not properly secured. This has led us away from the cloud. How is security being handled?

    • Hi 911EDA,

      Thanks for your question. We definitely agree, security is certainly an important issue that we take seriously. Here’s a blog that provides more detail around cloud security.