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What's Next?

That brings us to the end of this discussion of the mobile enterprise, but no article is complete without a bit of crystal ball gazing. Some predictions for the future mobile enterprise include

  • Location awareness

  • Multimodal (text and voice) user interfaces

  • Increased use of multimedia

  • Use of powerful hand-helds, replacing laptops for some

Dozens of location technologies are currently competing in the WAN and wireless LAN space. Location-aware applications are already in use in the transportation industry for tracking goods and vehicles. Location-specific and targeted information will create new classes of mobile enterprise applications. Integration of text and voice interfaces is in its infancy. The future promises more intuitive user interfaces that take advantage of each type of interface, where natural. Increased bandwidth of wireless networks, improved displays (see Figure 3), and greater processing power of mobile devices make possible a whole range of multimedia applications. Finally, hand-held computers will become powerful enough to replace laptops for some applications, particularly those that require unobtrusive technology.

Figure 3Figure 3 SVGA glasses for use with laptops of PDAs.

The mobile enterprise is in its infancy. As the technology matures and enters the mainstream, there is a very real potential for cost savings and profit. Now is the time to begin; evaluate your current mobile workflows, and get your feet wet by executing a simple pilot project. Measure the benefits and anticipate the risks, bearing in mind the challenges and issues raised in this article.

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