Cloud and Mobile: A Future Together

Cloud and Mobile: A Future Together

Antonio Miguel Rosado da Cruz (Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Portugal) and Sara Paiva (Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9916-8.ch001
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Abstract

Mobile computing and Cloud computing are two of the most growing technologies in number of users, practitioners and research projects. This chapter surveys mobile technologies and applications, along with cloud computing technologies and applications, presenting their evolution and characteristics. Then, building on mobile devices limitations and mobile apps increasing need of resources, and on the cloud computing ability to overcome those limitations, the chapter presents mobile cloud computing, and characterizes it by addressing approaches to augment mobile devices capabilities. The chapter is settled after some views about future research directions and some concluding remarks.
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Introduction

A long time has passed since the first telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. From then, it has been possible for people to communicate from long distances. The first (analog) mobile phone appeared only almost 100 years later, in the 1960s, adding mobility to the possibility of making long distance calls. The 1960’s device was too big to be transported personally, so it had to be installed in vehicles. Only in 1973 the first handheld mobile phone (analog) was created. And, the first digital cellular networks have seen the light of day in 1977 (Cruz, 2012).

Just a few years ago, when talking about mobile devices, what would come to one’s mind were mobile phones. Today, mobile phone is just one feature of what is called smartphones. Smartphones and other smart devices have processing power, different operating systems and incorporate sensors, GPS, electronic compass, accelerometer, etc., having added the goal of mobile computing to the previous goals of distance communication and mobility.

With the appearance of iOS and Android operating systems, around 2007, together with the massive deployment of mobile high-speed data networks, such as 3G and 4G, mobile smart devices have become part of every day’s life, allowing for people to access the internet almost anytime, anywhere (Islam & Want, 2014). We live in a world where more smartphones are activated every day than babies are born (Waugh, 2012).

Despite its increasing features and capabilities, mobile devices aren’t able to substitute personal computers for most working and domestic applications, especially when storing data or collaboration between users are a must. For aiding in these tasks Cloud Computing, another recently boomed technology, may come in handy by providing backend services to some mobile applications or providing an environment where to offload mobile apps execution.

Cloud computing is built on technologies like system or platform virtualization, distributed systems, and web services, some of which have been around for nearly 40 years (Pearce et al, 2013; Phaphoom et al., 2013). It made utility computing possible, as it was conveyed by the MIT in the early 1960s. Currently it is possible for organizations to pay only for what they use, in computing power or storage capacity, as well as in electricity or other utilities. This makes possible to reduce corporate’s investment amount in IT, because organizations need not invest in datacenters sized for the maximum capacity they think they will ever need, leading to the more efficient use of shared datacenters. This also enables organizations to focus on the IT services they need to hire, being confident that the hired IT services’ capacity or resources will elastically grow or shrink according to their usage needs (Phaphoom et al., 2013; Costa & Cruz, 2012).

This chapter presents an overview of mobile devices and associated technologies, identifying their limitations and recognizing their resource scarcity. Then, the chapter presents cloud computing, its characteristics, service and deployment models, and related technologies. Afterwards, and building on mobile devices limitations and on the cloud computing ability to overcome those limitations, the chapter presents mobile cloud computing, and characterizes it by addressing approaches to augment mobile devices capabilities. Finally, some directions for future research are presented and some conclusions are drawn.

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