A methodology for building mobile computing applications

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Nov 3, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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1

A
m
ethodology for
b
uilding
m
obile
c
omputing

a
pplications




Minder Chen

School of Management

George Mason University

MSN
-
5F4
,
4400 University Drive

Fairfax, VA 22030
, USA

Phone: 703
-
993
-
1788

E
-
mail:
mchen@gmu.edu




Abstract:

There
is a tremendous amount of interest

in developing

mobile
enterprise computing application
s,

driven by recent
advancements in
mobile
technologies and standard
s, as well as
an
increasing
mobile w
orkforce

population
.
However,
many enterprises are uncertain of
the
various options they may have
due to the emerging nature of mobile computing technologies
.
Additionally, they
are
concerned about
the integration of mobile
technologies

with exis
ting I
T
infrastructure and
applications
.
In
this
paper
,

we propose

a methodology to
help

enterprises develop

business strategies
and
architectures

for mobile computing
. A

generic mobile technical
infrastructure
is presented
to assist enterprises
in

evaluating

and implement
ing

mobile applications.
Software standard
s that may
have major impacts on

mobile technical architectures and
application
development

are discussed.
Finally, the
implication
s of the proposed
methodology for

mobile computing
for
practitioner
s and researcher
s

are discussed

in the conclusion
.


Keywords:

Mobile computing
;

web services
;

mobile technical architecture
;

business strategies, standards
.


Biographical
n
ote
:
Minder Chen received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from
National Taiwan Uni
versity in 1977, an M.B.A. from National Chiao Tung
University in 1983, and a Ph.D. in MIS from the University of Arizona in 1988.
He is an Associate Professor of MIS and Decision Science in the School of
Management at George Mason University. His primary

research interests include
Web services, electronic commerce, mobile computing, knowledge management,
business process reengineering, computer
-
aided software engineering, and GDSS.
He

has published papers in
Journal of Management Information Systems,
Da
tabase, Journal of Organizational Computing, Expert Systems with
Applications, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Journal
of Small Group Research, Journal of Computer Information Systems
,
International Journal of Human
-
Computer Studies,

I
EEE Software
,
and

IEEE
Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics
.

2


1


Emerging
t
rends of
m
obile
c
omputing


The
twenty
-
first century workforce is

becoming i
ncreasing
ly
mobile
.
A recent
IDC study
predicted the number of mobile workers in the U.S. w
ill rise from 92 million
in 2001 to 105 million in 2006 while
the
non
-
mobile workforce will decline
by 2 million
to 53.8 million by 2006

[
27
,
42
]
.

Therefore,
two
-
thirds of U.S. employees will be
mobile workers by 2006
.

Mobile workers are defined in this study as workers who spend
more than 20% of their time away from theirs desks attending

meetings, traveling
, or
telecommuting from home.


S
ome
players in
the mobile computing market
focus on consumer oriented
contents

and service, such as ring
-
tones, MP3 music, and MMS

[
41
]
.
However,
a
ccording to studies from IT research firms, 40% of companies will use wireless
technology for business applications b
y 2003, up from just 5% in 1999

[
44
]
.
According
to this trend, mo
re than
50% of companies have or will have wireless connectivity to
corporate systems
by 2005
.
The
aggressive deployment of mobile computing
is in part
driven by recent advancements in mobile computing technologies
and

high

payback for

effective application of
mobile technologies. Some studies show that
the productivity of
mobile workers

may be improved by
30%

when proper mobile technologies are deployed
[
10
].







The abundance of emerging mobile te
chnologies and standards as well as
expanding
opportunities
to capitalize on them
has

created
a lot of
confusion

among
business managers and IT architects
.
We
have developed a
m
ethodology
to help
organizations plan and build enterprise
-
wide

mobile computi
ng applications. The
3

methodology
proposed in this paper is an attempt to provide a comprehensive strategic
framework to identify business opportunities f
or mobile business and
commerce
,

as well
as a

roadmap and action plans
to develop and deploy mobile ap
plications.
Th
is

methodology
is intended to
help firms to realize the potential benefits of mobile
technologies

more
easily
.
Section
2
of this paper presents
the life
-
cycle phases

of the
methodology. Section 3 discusses
how to analyze the mobility of b
usiness processes.
Section 4 is a detailed discussion of the development of a mobile computing architecture
and emerging mobile technologies. Section 5 presents several important software
standards that are important to mobile architectures and applicati
on development. This
paper is concluded with
a discussion of how this proposed methodolog
y may be
improved and validated, as well as
a call

for further research to advance ou
r

understanding of the development and deployment of mobile computing in enterpri
ses.

2


A
m
ethodology

for
b
uilding
m
obile
c
omputing
a
pplications



The
enterprise
-
wide
mobile

computing is
the use of mobile devices, wireless
network
s

and
I
nternet connection
s

to access enterprise data and applications.
The lack of

methodologies to he
lp organizations in their mobile computing initiatives

may have
hindered the deployment of enterprise
-
wide mobile applications
.

B
ased
on the
literature regarding

systems development
,

business process reengineering methodologies
[
3
,
4
], information systems planning methods [
20
,
36
]
, and mobile
computing
[
11
,

13
],

a

methodology for building
enterprise
-
wide
mobile computing applications
was

developed.
The proposed methodology shown in Figure 1 is depicted in I
DEF0 diagram
ming
notation

[
18
]
.
In IDEF0
, a
process

is represente
d as a rectangular box and its

relationships to inputs, controls, outputs, and mechanism (ICOMs) can be interpreted as:



4

I1
Business
objectives &
strategies
O1
Depoyed mobile
applications
Develop
Enterprise-
Wide Mobile
Strategies
1
Develop an
Enterprise-
Wide Mobile
Technical
Architecture
2
Analyze the
Mobility of
Business
Processes
3
Build
Mobile
Application
4
Deploy
Mobile
Applications
5
Design constraints
Mobile
computing
architecture
Business
mobilization
strategies
Technology
strategy &
requirements
Development
tools
Deployment
platforms
Selected
mobile
projects
Business priority
Current business
processes & applications
Existing
information
systems
architecture
Mobile
technology
trends
IT budget
Mobile processes &
mobile applications
Funtional mobile
applications
Entrprise Mobilization Teams
Mobile Strategy
Team
Mobile Analysis
Team
Mobile
Architect
Team
Mobile
Development
Team
Mobile
Deployment
Team

Figure

1


A Methodology for Building Enterprise
-
Wide Mobile Applications


"Inputs are transformed by

the process into outputs according to controls, using
mechanisms."

The boxes
in Figure 1
represent
five
phases of the life cycle

for building
enterprise
-
wide mobile computing applications
.

The arrows coming in contact with the
box from the left
are

th
e inputs to a life cycle phase;
arrows coming
out
from the right
ri
de of a box are o
utputs (i.e., deliverables)
; controls are shown as arrows coming in
contact with the top side of a box representing constraints and guidelines governing
the
conduct of
a ph
ase.
Mechanisms

are arrows
coming in contact with the bottom of a box
representing systems, organizations,
or
individuals that perform
activities in a
life
-
cycle

phase.


5


The methodology should
be treated as
a suggestion

and a
general
guideline
.

Compan
ies can
plan and develop mobile applications by
conduct
ing

activities in various
phases
in the life cycle iteratively and
concurrently

to allow quick prototyping and
feedbacks
.
The
five

major phases for building mobile computing applications

are
described

as
follow
s
:



1.

Develop
e
nterprise
-
w
ide
m
obile
s
trategies
: Companies engage in
mobile computing
initiatives
because they want to
take advantage

of emerging mobile computing
technologies as well as supporting
an
increasingly mobilized workforc
e to gain
com
petitive advantages

in the
marketplace

and
to better
serve their customers
.
A
mobile strategy team should consist of top level management (e.g.,
chief executive
officer
, chief information officer, chief technology officer
,

and business
-
line
managers). T
he process of creating enterprise
-
wide mobile strategies should be
based

on existing busi
ness strategies and objectives, as well as
high
-
level
understanding of mobile technology's
trends and
impacts
.
Details of this phase are

further discussed in Section
3.

2.

Analyze
the
m
obility

of
b
usiness
p
rocesses
.

Until recently
,

enterprise

communication and co
mputing support
was

limited
to desktop

computing tools

that
glue employees to their desks
. Mobile technolog
ies enable

organizations to redesign
their business

processes such that their sale forces a
nd field services representatives

can perform critical activities
at customer sites. In this phase, the mobile analysis
team will develop
business
process maps and identify promising mobile projects
that

may bring i
n more revenues and
result in
better customer service.

Section 4
elaborates the activities involved and approaches in analyzing process mobility.


3.

Develop an
e
nterprise
-
w
ide
m
obile
t
echnical
a
rchitecture
. A comprehensive

mobile technical

architecture

will be developed in this phase based on mobile
business strategies
,

mobil
ity analysis of

business process map
,

as well as mobile
application portfolio
s

developed in the previous two phases. The technical
architecture will allow companies
to
invest wi
s
el
y in mobile technologies bas
ed on
current IT infrastructure

and mobile standards
so
that the development and
6

deployment costs for mobile applications may be reduced.
Section 5
explains
important components of a mobile technical architecture.

The roles o
f standards that
are important
for

the develop
ment

of
a

mobile technical architecture
are discussed

in
Section 6.

4.

Build
mobile applications.
The m
ost obvious constraints in building applicat
ions for
mobile devices are
small
er

screen size
s
, less efficient d
ata entry methods, and
limited

local
CPU

power
.
Keyboards and mice are normally not available
for small mobile
devices
. Developers may need to learn new development tools and observe these
constraints in building mobile applications

[
19
]
.
The first step in mobile application
design to r
educ
e
user input requirements by providing point and click interfaces
as
well as
delivering

only
the
most critical contents
to mobile

users.

A

step further

is to
take advantage of specia
l

features
in mobile devices
such as Soft
-
Key,
t
elephone
dialing
, and voi
ce capabilities of cell phones
.
An example of a design method for

the
building of mobile applications has been
proposed

by
Beaulieu
[
2
].


5.

Deplo
y mobile applications
.
Proper user training and support are r
equired in the
deployment phase
. C
hange
management
strategies should be

applied

along with
mobile application deployment to
ensure
effective behavioral
change
s

of people who
are involved in th
ese
mobiliz
ed

process
es
.
Performance measures of the mobile
business processes and workforce should be implemented to provide justification for
the
investment in mobile computing and
to receive
feedback

for improving mobile
enabled business processes cont
inuously.




The fir
st three phases
in this methodology
are important for

enterprise
-
wide
mobile
computing
effort

in the methodology
.
The last two phases are more project
-
specific. In
this paper
,

we focus on the enterprise
-
wide aspect of mobile compu
ting and will discuss
the
only
first three phases in
detail
.

3


Develop enterprise
-
wide mobile computing strategies



7


Mobile computing

allows the right information
to be
available

to the right person
to perform critical business processes where
ver

and
whenever
.

The mobile strategy team
should extend e
-
business and e
-
commerce b
usiness models to identify
strategic
areas
where

mobile computing applications may have the highest payback

opportunitie
s.
From a business perspective
, companies need to focus
on
supporting their employees,
customers, and trading partners involved in
the
ir

core business processes. These strategic
areas

include:

1.

Business to employee (B2E)
: B2E applications can be classified into two
categories:

a.

Horizontal
mobile
applications

a
re

professional productivity tools
, often
been referred to as Personal Information Management (PIM),

including
email, instan
t

message, calendar, and Internet access.
Email is probably
one of the most important mobile horizontal applications
.


Some
researc
hers believed that email is "a proxy for a business process
"

[
45
]
.

I
t is often used
in the context of information workflow
s

related to
enterprise
business
applications.


b.

Vertical
mobile
applications

directly
support core business proc
esses

by
providing mobile access to enterprise applications

such as sale force
automation, field worker automation, inventory
control,
warehouse
management, and

logistics
.


2.

Business to consumers (B2C)
:
B2C mobile applications are often referred to as
mob
ile commerce (m
-
commerce). M
-
commerce is an extension
of e
-
commerce.
Mobile application
s

in B2C that
are unique and promising in the m
-
commerce
space
include

[
15
]
:


a.

Wireless data delivery service is

a
critical element of
mobile commerce.

Popular
services are
weather and sports reports,
traffic conditions,
financial news, stock portfolio tracking
,
stock quote
s
, and telephone
directory assistance.

8

b.

M
-
commerce

transaction
s often require immediate actions
for people on
the run. For example
,

typic
al m
-
commerce transactions include
buying
t
ick
ets
, purchasing goods from vending machines via wireless devices,
and trading stocks.

c.

M
-
commerce marketing

functions may
alert users of shops and special
sales based on their locations.




Businesses s
hould be aware of difficulties facing m
-
ecommerce in this
planning stage [
31
,

41
].
M
-
commerce applications
should be
designed
so
that
less
steps and data entry efforts are required to go thro
ugh a transaction.
Planners
s
hould be briefed on emerging mobile technologies trends and understand their
implications to their businesses. For example, using
location
-
based services

to
advertise sales to customers at the proximity of your stores is a
unique

and
innovative
mobile app
lication.


Innovation in B2C mobile applications can be
found in
some
vertical industries

such as health industry and retail industry

[
5
,
29
]
.


3.

Business to business (B2B)
:
Few
mobile and wireless B2B applications
have
been developed. Building mobile web sites for B2B exchanges such that mobile
devices
can submit bids and receive alerts of new bids
seems to be a promising
application in this
area [
30
]
.



In general, M
-
commerce tends to be more success
ful in Japan and Europe but
is
very slow
to catch on
in
the
United State
s

[
8
]. The driving force for the deployment of
mobile and wireless devices in the United State will be enterprise
-
wide mobile
applications.



A ne
w vision of a mobile enterprise should emerge from this phase to guide the
formulation of mobile strategies and goals.
The m
obile strategy team needs to
9

communicate this vision
and a business case for action
to all stakeholders to ensure
an
organizational

commitment to mobile computing
. The team should also
evaluate

the
issues involved in
introducing
mobile applications from
technical, organizational, and
cultural
perspectives
to
plan the implementation of mobile computing initiative
according
ly
.

The
n
ext phase after mobile strategies have been
develop
ed
is to have
a
more in
-
depth analysis of the mobility of core business and applications as discussed in
the next session.

4


Analyze the

m
obility
of
b
usiness
p
rocesses



The challenge of mobile comput
ing
strategies and
implementation is to identify
and select
opportunities for deployment that will provide the most payback. Based on the
general mobile strategies developed in the first phase,
the mobile analysis team

need
s

to
develop a business process
model in order to identify business activities

in which
increasing

the m
obility
of these activities
can improve business performance and gain
competitive advantages [
11
].

Using
a
value chain
model
to guide the developme
nt of
the
process map is a good starting point in this phase [
14
].



The analysis team should
educate the business managers
involved in this analysis
phase
about the capability of mobile computing
technologies
and
chall
enge the
ir

current
busin
ess practices and procedures
constantly
.
The mobility analysis team needs to create
a process map of core business processes first. Based on the process map, the team can
identify ac
tivities in these processes in which remote acce
ss to

data and applications
may
improve
these processes.
The facilitator
could
asks the
analysis team
members
the
following
triggering
questions
to help them
analyze the

process model
:


10



Wh
at is the mobility of employees who are in involved in this pr
ocess?



Wh
at are the

major
activities
of the process?



Where
are these activities
performed

currently
?



What information and applications are required while performing these
activities?



Can employees perform some activities while working onsite with
c
ustomers?


Several heuristics
developed in business reengineering have been adapted
to
determine
how
to increase
the
mobility of an enterprise

[
4
]
.



Bring mobility to office
-
bound activities.

Enabling mobile access to
information allo
w
s

corporation
s

move office tasks into the field where
their
customers are. Mobile access to information (such as service records and
product pricing) will empower employees in the customer
-
facing processes
to
make more informed decision
s

to serve custome
rs better. Information
generated
while
away from offices can be captured at the place where events
occ
ur.




Extend mobile access to customers and trading partner.

The processes in the
process map should be an extended e
-
process map that contains links t
o
customers and trading partners. By extending business processes
such that


mobile

customers
can access
data relevant to cross
-
organizational
business
processes
,
an enterprise
is forging a stronger tie
to their customer
s
.



Create new and innovative mo
bile applications.

New applications, such
as
mobile

web site
s
, downloadable offline data sets

and applications
, location
-
based services,
and mobile commerce,
are new areas that an enterprise
should
exploit

to extend their reach to employees, custo
mers, an
d trading partners
.
New or reengineered
business
processes
and applications should

be designed
to
embrace

these new services.



Extend current enterprise
-
wide applications.
Mobile computing offers a new
channel for communication and data access to improv
e operational efficiency
and increase added value to customers
[
13
]
.
Enhancing current client
-
server
based enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management
(CRM), and supply chain management (SCM) ente
rprise
-
wide application
packages with mobile technologies is a natural logical step forward towards
operational efficiency

[
33
]
.




A
t
the end of this phase, the mobile analysis
team needs

to e
valuate

and prioritize
mobil
e projects or a
pplication
s

to
be
implement
ed
by considering two major factors.

The
11

first factor is the impacts

and the benefits
of
these mobile projects
. The second factor is
the difficult in implementing the
se

mobile

project
s
.
A m
ore detailed cost
-
ben
efit
analysis may be required to select appropriate projects for implementation
.
Ideally,
one
should

select proj
ects that have
a high impact

but
are
easy to implement.
M
obile projects
that
have the following characteristics

should be given high priority
:


1.

Projects that target
b
roken business processes
. These broken processes are
caused

by
the lack of mobile access to data

or by the complicated data synchronization
procedures involved between mobile devices and back
-
office systems.

2.

Projects that deal wit
h
customer
-
facing

p
rocesses
. These processes have
high added
-
value

and involve
f
ront
-
line workers

including

sale force automation, field wo
rker
automation, and mobile CRM.

3.

Projects that involve
t
ime
-
sensitive processes
. The
cycle
-
time of
these
business
p
rocess
es can be reduced

by capturing data in computer readable format at the point
of creation
. H
ence, companies

can
eliminate duplicated data entry

from different
applications
.

4.

Projects

which are

easy to implement
.

The development team should
choose
some

quick and
effective
mobile projects at the beginning of the mobile initiative

to
secure

continuous
support

from top management and
ensure
buy
-
in
s from stakeholders
.




The analysis team should involve functional area managers, mobile workforce,
and
trading partners to brainstorm new ideas and learn to challenge basic assumptions of
why
certain activities in processes need to be done in the office.

Creative applications of
mobile technologies are often coupled with the conceptual breakthroughs of bu
siness
practices. N
ew processes
and applications may be developed to
create more a
dded
-
value

for the mobile enterprise.





5


Develop a
m
obile
c
omputing
t
echnical
a
rchitecture


12


Gartner, an IT research firm, predicted that "more than 50 percent of
mobile
applications deployed at the start of 2002 will be obsolete by the end of 2002 [
23
]."
Many applications get outdated quickly due to the complexity
of
the
various
mobile
technologies involved. The best practice in managing these c
onstantly
evolving and
competing
technologies is to define and develop a
standard
-
based
mobile computing
technical architecture.
A sound mobile
technical
architecture
is
an extension and
enhancement of existing IT infrastructure

components

to facilitate t
he

integration
between mobile applications and existing IT applications. A comprehensive mobile
architecture can also enhance efficiency in developing and deploying new mobile
applications [
13
].



We have developed a generic mobile co
mputing architecture, depicted in Figure 2,
based on recommendations from IT vendors and researchers [
3
,
9
,
11
,

28
,

45
]
.

Standards
that are critical for
defining an ente
rprise
-
wide
mobile computing
architecture

are
addressed in Section 6.

13


Figure 2


A Mobile Computing Technical Architecture

5.1

Mobile
c
lient
s



Mobile clients consist of mobile devices, mobile operating systems (OS), and
client
-
side
mobile application s
oftware
. Mobile devices include cell phones and low
-
end
PDAs that have Web access, as well as high
-
end PDAs and notebook computers that
have wireless network connections. There are many mo
bile operating systems for PDAs

(e.g.,

Pilot Research's Palm OS an
d Microsoft's Pocket PC
).
Additional programming
frameworks (i.e., virtual machines) such as J2ME and .NET Compact Framework,
specifically designed to run on mobile devices, may be required to
deploy

some offline
applications.
For consumer oriented cell
phones,
S
ymbian OS is a popular mobile OS

for
phone
-
based devices supporting 2.5G and 3G networks and Multimedia Message Service
14

(MMS)

[
35
]
.


All mobile devices are expected to have
a
wireless Internet connection
,
Web
brow
sing capability
, and some degree of local process capability
.




Horizontal m
obile applications include personal information management (PIM),
messaging services such as email, short message services, and multimedia message
services [
17
]
.

Vertical m
obile enterprise applications
can be custom
-
built or are
extensions of ERP, CRM, and SCM packages for mobile workforce. Enterprise
applications are the

main driver of mobile computing growth in the United States
. H
igh
-
end PDAs and notebook com
puters
have
better input mechanism
s
,
large

screen
size
,
and
more

local processing power; therefore, they are better positioned to
support online
mobile enterprise applications
that require both

online and
disconnected
offline
processing. A comparison of

mobile Web clients and Mobile rich clients is listed in
Table 1.

5.2

Wireless
n
etworks


Wireless deployments
have been accelerated more recently, including
a rush to
serve data over c
ellular networks

(
2.5G
-
3G
)

and wireless LAN (Wi
-
Fi). In the near
futu
re, applications
can expect always
-
on connectivity from anywhere. IDC estimates
that 85 million notebook PC
s

will be sold in 2005
. Most of them
are expected to contain
Wi
-
Fi.

There are three types of wireless networks that compliment each other to ser
ve
different needs.



Table 1


A Comparison of Mobile Web Clients and Mobile Rich Clients

15


1.

Personal Area Network
s

(PANs)

are short
-
range to link an individual user's
computing and communication devic
es, such as PDA, notebook, cell phone, and
printer. The primary technologies are infrared
(IrDA)
and Bluetooth

[
16
]
. It is
touted as cable
-
less technology that enable
s

data synchronization, peer
-
to
-
peer ad hoc
file exc
hanges, and printing without using cables to connect these devices [
12
].
Earlier efforts
to implement Bluetooth
encountered adopt
ion barriers including
security and compatibility

issues
.

2.

Wireless Local Area Networks

(WLANs)

may become a major driver

for
wireless
networking of
mobile
devices
. The domin
ant standard

for

WLAN is
IEEE 802.11b,
also referred to as Wi
-
Fi (Wireless Fidelity)
supports

a data rate of 12 Mbps.

The
data transmission rate is a little better th
an the
10 Mbps

data rate

of
10
-
BaseT
Ethernet, but less than 100
-
BaseT Fast Ethernet's 100 Mbps. For most enterprise
applications, the speed is
appropriate.

For example, "the paradigm shift to notebook
computers as the default platform"
w
as

complet
e
d

at

Intel by the end of 2002
[
10
].
There are
increasingly
more hotspots in public places, hotel, conference rooms that
Features

Mobile Web Clients

Mobile Rich Clients

Devices

Smart
-
phone, Cellular phone,
PDA

PDA, Notebook

Operating System

Symbian, Palm OS

Pocket PC, Palm OS; Pro
gramming
frameworks: J2ME and .NET Compact
Framework

Online/Offline

Online only

Online or offline

High end offline applications may require
the installation of J2ME or .NET compact
Framework.

User interface

Web browser interface rendering
markup web pag
es encoded in
WML, cHTML, XHTML, etc.

More flexible user interface

Web browsers rendering HTML web pages

Screen size

Smaller

Larger

Input

Stylus

and virtual keyboard

Keyboard and mouse


Locations of
business Logic and
data

Reside on the server side

Off
line applications: Reside on the client
side

Online applications: reside on the server
-
side

Client
-
side
installation and
configuration

No

Yes


16

are equipped with base stations to support wireless LAN connection
s

that provide

access to the Internet.

3.

Wireless
Wide Area Networks (WWANs)

are provided most
ly

by wireless
network
carriers
. There are several generations of technologies and standards available in the
marketplace.
The first generation of cellular wireless (1G) was based on analog
technology

designed

to carry voice.

The s
econd
-
generation (2G) technology
converts voice to digital data for transmission over
the air and then back to voice.
Most 2G systems provide 9.6

14.4
-
Kbps circuit
-
switched data service.

2.5G refers to technology that is added to a

2G network to provide packet
-
switching
data service. In practice, 2.5G is synonymous with the GPRS technology that has
been added to GSM networks.

The t
hird
-
generation (3G) systems have been
designed for both voice and data. By International Telecommuni
cations
Union
's

definition
, 3G systems must provide a
packet
-
switching
data service

from
144
-
Kbps

to 2Mbps. The availability of 3G WWAN is slower than expected.

Wireless
gateways are required to connect the wireless carrier's networks to the
Internet

in

order to support
Internet
-
based applications.


The build up of wireless LANs
is not only
occurring
inside
corporate campuses,
but also at publicly accessible hotspots such
hotels, airports,
college campuses,
and
conference centers
. People can logon to t
hese public WLANs to
access the

Internet.
For
example,
Starbucks started to offer T
-
Mobile Hotspot's Wi
-
Fi service at 1200

locations
on August 21, 2002 [
1
,
21
].
The usage of wireless LANs in public places are
encroachin
g on the domain of 3G network [
45
].


5.3


Data
s
ynchronization



Data synchronization
servers

are necessary when client mobile devices such as
PDAs and n
otebooks are capable of handling data offline.
Mobile devices
using
software suc
h as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus
Notes

often need to
have access to

"personal information"
including address book
, to
-
do lists, e
-
mail,
and a

calendar
.
17


Business data that need to be stored offline on mobile device such as customer
orders and product data

may require the use of mobile v
ersion
s

of
database management
systems, such as
SyBase
SQL Anywhere,
Microsoft
SQL Server CE, Oracle Lite, etc.
Mobile database software
packages have

a
much
small
er

memory footprint. For example,
SQL Server CE delivers it
s functionality in approximately
one

megabyte

[
26
]
.
A
synchronization server may be needed to handle the data synchronization between the
mobile databases and centralized database servers.
Data synchronization services
simplify data

exchange between mobile devices and back
-
office systems.


New database programming models have
also
emerged to support offline
and
disconnected data
management
and batch
ed

data
base

update
s
. For example, ADO.NET
in the .NET Framework allows programmers r
etrieve data from database servers or XML
data sources into datasets

(i.e., in
-
memory databases)
. D
ata
that
needs to be
accessed by
disconnected
mobile devices can be stored offline as XML files or in mobile databases.
Changes made to data locally can be

sent to the server based on an optimistic
concurrency control mechanism when the mobile devices are connected to the network.

5.4


Mobile
a
pplication
s
ervers


Mobile application server
s

provide a broad range of functions
, sometimes
under
different

prod
uct labels.
M
ajor functions
in a typical mobile application server

include:
c
ontent adaptation,
notification, and securit
y.

1.

Content Adaptation or
Transcoding Services
.

V
arious markup languages
are
used
by different mobile devices. Building contents

in
formats specific

for each mobile
device
is very
costly and impractical. There are
server
-
based solutions that
dynamically translate

Web content
s

and applications into multipl
e markup languages
and optimize them

for delivery to mobile devices
. IBM's
WebS
phere

Transcoding
18

Publisher
[
7
]
and Oracle 9i Wirele
ss are examples of such products
.

Microsoft
takes
a different approach by providing

a programming tool, Mobile Information
Toolkit
,

to support the development
of
mobile
W
eb applications in one code base
. C
ontents
can be generated dynamically
in various formats
for

more than one hundred devices.


2.

Notification services.

In an increasingly mobile environment, people want access to
the information they need regardless of

where they are. Notification services can
provide data subscription and delivery mechanism
s
. Applications that use
notification services can provide their customers and employees with the information
they need when they need it to empower them to make t
imely and informed decisions
[
6
,

26
]. The user is required to subscribe to the service by specifying triggering
events when the notification should be generated and sent to the user.

Delivery
preferences
can be

specified

in advanced.
N
otifications are

sent to users' mobile
devices as SMS
or
to their
e
-
mail account
s
.

Notification service is
an essential
component of the mobile infrastructure and
is a unique feature in some innovative

mobile
applications.

3.

Security
.


Securing information from unauthorized access is a major problem for any
network


wire
-
line or wireless. In
a mobile enterprise
, anytime

and
anywhere
access
to mission
-
critical data by mobile workers
is necessary for th
em to perform

effectively in the field. Such
a
trend is a major security challenge for the
mobile

infrastructure because wireless communications rely on public airway
s
. For sensitive
business data, proper measures
,

such as
secure end
-
to
-
end encryption
,

a
re required to
protect the privacy and ensure the integrity

of the data. There are multiple
facets of
security in mobile computing including: network security, system security,
information security, and physical security. Security mechanisms of existin
g IT
infrastructure
s

provide the basic foundation for
mobile security management.
Security technologies
may be
embedded in mobile devices and
also integrated in
various layers of mobile architecture.

Important security technologies include
firewalls, a
uthentication servers, biometrics, cryptography, and Virtual Private
Network (VPN)

[
38
]
.




19

6.

Standards for
m
obile
c
omputing:
Markup
l
anguages and
Web
s
ervices




Many standards have been

developed to provide interoperability among vario
us
mobile devices and software

components.

A m
obile computing arch
itecture

should
be
defined and developed according to
standard
s to ensure
the flexibility and expandability

of the
mobile
architecture
. In this section, we focus our discussion on software

standards
for mobile computing.

6.1


XML and
m
arkup
l
anguages


XML definition language
is a meta
-
language to define new markup languages.
Currently, there are tw
o "standards"
used as XML definition languages: XML 1.0 W3C
Recommendation and XML Schema
. The structure of a document is defined by XML
DTD or XSD files. The content is captured in actual XML documents. There are two
approaches to handle the display aspect of XML documents: XSL

and XML parsers.

XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language) 1.0
is
a W3C Recommendation
[
39
]

that specifies
how one can convert a
n

XML document to another document format
.

XML parsers are
program libraries that can be used by a programming language to process XML data.




There are seve
ral web page specification markup languages such as WML and
cHTML.
Wireless Markup Language (WML) 1.0 used in WAP
-
enabled phones is a
XML
-
compliant document format. cHTML use
d

in
DoCoMo's
i
Mode is

a subset of
HTML for small information appliances.
WAP 2
.0
has
adopted XHTML

which is

a
reformulation of HTML

4 as an XML 1.0 application
.
iMode

may migrate to XHTML
in
the near future [
34
].

When a mobile device request
s

a web page implemented by a
20

server
-
side scripting program such as ASP a
nd JSP, the program can detect the
requesting
browser type by examining the HTTP_USER_AGENT CGI variable

[
43
]
. The program
can then dynamically apply an appropriate XSL template file to transform an XML
document
to

a format (e.g., WML
,
cH
TML
, XHTML, and HTML
) that is appropriate for
the requesting mobile device.

6.2


SynchML


As mobile computing devices continue to proliferate, users

will demand
ubiquitous
and consistent

access to up
-
to
-
date information and applications.

IT
organizati
ons
will

need

standards to ensure consistency and a common data protection
protocol for

mobile device access to the corporate server.

SyncML is the leading open
-
industry standard for universal
synchronization of PIM

data

l
everaging
XML

standards

[
22
,
32
]
.


SyncML is sp
onsored by leading

mobile and wireless organizations
and vendors
such as
Ericsson, IBM, Motorola, Nokia,
and
Open
W
ave
,
etc. It is a

standard

for
implementing two
-
way
synchronizing
mechanism for
all device
s and applications over
any

network.

Some vendors
have

remained non
-
committal. For example, Microsoft has
developed its own ActiveSync

synchronization software for its
Pocket PCs

for
applications such as
Microsoft
Outlook
.



6.3


Web
s
ervices


Web ser
vices provide a standard
-
based approach to implementing distributed
components. Web services offer data and business logic services over standard protocols
such as HTTP, XML, and SOAP over the Internet. Gartner, an IT research firm, defines
Web services
as "loosely coupled software components delivered over Internet
-
standard
21

technologies" [
37
]. "Loosely coupled" implies that the Web services are impendent of
any programming languages, platforms, and object models. Using the ubiquitous
and
low
-
cost Internet, Web services can easily provide software functions over the internal
networks and the public Internet
for

mobile computing applications

[
24
]



M
obile computing devices
that are
capable of
consumi
ng Web services
can

use
distributed components implemented as Web services

to get access to legacy data and
applications

[
40
]
. This approach
will
enrich the
functi
onality of mobile applications as
well as
increase the

reusability of
distributed
software comp
onents
. As a result,
maintenance of
business logic that is shared by both
mobile and non
-
mobile applications
will be
easier.



7


Con
clusions


With mobile computing and wireless networking, p
eople can conduct business
es

at any time without been
constrai
ned by
the availability of
physical
networking
connections or
specific computing platforms
. With information deliver
ed

to employees
at their fingertip
s

while away from their offices, employees can increase their
responsiveness

and productivity.
The prop
osed methodology in this paper is an attempt
to identify some
guidelines and formulate a life
-
cycle
approach
to assist
ing

enterprises in
planning and developing enterprise
-
wide
mobile
strategies

and applications
.


The methodology may also help researche
rs identify areas
where
fu
rther research
may be called for
. F
or example, in our

literature research, we found that there is a lack of
research on mobile

workforce
s
. More rigorous and large scale studies on mobile
applications
usage patterns are
very much

in need
. Field

studies of how

companies plan
22

and
deploy their mobile
strategies

in conjunction with measurements of the r
esulting
business performance
improvement
can help
the
further development of the proposed
methodology.



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