What Personal Clouds Mean For Mobile Networks

What used to be called the “post-PC” era now has a new name: “the personal cloud” era.  In fact, Gartner has predicted that personal clouds will replace the personal computer as the center of users’ digital lives by 2014.  That’s only two years away, so we better get started.

What replaces – or augments – PCs in this brave new world are mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.  The assumption is that you will have both (and probably a laptop) and that they will all need access to the data stored in your cloud.  That’s how the first couple of popular personal cloud services (iCloud from Apple and SkyDrive from Microsoft) were designed.

The bright future of personal clouds masks the fact that they will be adding significant data and signaling traffic to a wireless network that is already overwhelmed by today’s usage levels.

In its report, Gartner identifies five megatrends that are driving the personal cloud phenomenon.  Two of these will have an extreme impact on the wireless network:

“App-ification” — From Applications to Apps
… They (apps) also raise the prospect of greater cross-platform portability as small user experience (UX) apps are used to adjust a server- or cloud-resident application to the unique characteristics of a specific device or scenario. One application can now be exposed in multiple ways and used in varying situations by the user.

The Mobility Shift — Wherever and Whenever You Want
Today, mobile devices combined with the cloud can fulfill most computing tasks, and any tradeoffs are outweighed in the minds of the user by the convenience and flexibility provided by the mobile devices…

Taken together, these trends mean that apps will be pinging the network from multiple devices, doubling or tripling the amount of signaling and bandwidth consumed.

All of this points to the need for traffic optimization that can help keep this new wave of network usage from overwhelming the infrastructure.  Our Open Channel®, now in carrier trials, tackles the problem holistically to minimize traffic from all apps without needing a rewrite.

The personal cloud is coming soon. Let’s hope your network is up for it.

About Isabelle Dumont

Head of Marketing at SEVEN Networks
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