Moving Beyond Wireless Barriers
We believe that companies today are only scratching the surface of what they can accomplish in the wireless world, and the highest hurdle they must navigate is their uncertainty about rapidly changing technologies. This concern is not ungrounded: While there is a need to act quickly, correctly anticipating the changes presented by evolving technologies is critical.
Delta consultants have the expertise to help companies manage the key technical challenges they face as they attempt to implement wireless business solutions. Companies unsure of which wireless technologies best suit their businesses should first consider how the potential scenarios would benefit their employees, customers, and business partners. Once companies envision the potential of wireless solutions—including improving communications, productivity, supply chain efficiency, and customer service—there is often little reason to hold back on tackling the technological challenges.
Challenge: The wireless-provider industry lacks a clear migration path between current wireless data-access technologies (second generation), which have limited bandwidth, and super-speedy third-generation (3G) packet technologies. Promising speeds of up to 2Mbps, 3G technologies support real-time access to sustain high-quality audio/video and other bandwidth-intensive business and consumer applications.
However, much of the hardware that operates on current wireless networks may not be supported as 3G infrastructures are deployed. Furthermore, coverage and compatibility challenges can stem from the multiple digital wireless standards currently used in the United States—time division multiple access (TDMA), code division multiple access (CDMA), cellular digital packet data (CDPD), global system for mobile communications (GSM), and others.
What to do: Companies should consider creating a modular set of solution components, including the user access device, the wireless network, the gateway, the Web/application/data servers, and the legacy systems. Inevitably, as certain technologies and standards change, the companies will be able to swap out relevant components without overhauling the entire infrastructure.
Challenge: Just as some companies jumped into eCommerce before fully integrating their operations, businesses today risk falling into the same trap by implementing isolated wireless solutions with limited back-end integration and business value.
Getting the right data to the mobile user in a usable format that is then updated and accessible to others in the enterprise is critical to a successful uCommerce application. The mobile device, the data display, the wireless carrier, and the gateway, eCommerce and legacy systems all have to be integrated and fine-tuned to deliver maximum business value.
What to do: To derive the greatest business value from wireless solutions, companies should consider extending existing infrastructures to their wireless channels, linking these channels to core business processes and applications such as customer relationship management and supply chain management.
Challenge: Wireless access to enterprise applications introduces new and unique security risks, as organizations must consider ways to prevent outside attacks on the end-user device, on over-the-air transmission technology and on connectivity from the carrier network to the business intranet.
What to do: To achieve the most secure wireless environments, companies should consider deploying end-to-end solutions that take into account the wireless transport medium (encryption) and the carrier-to-client data links (more encryption). As an example, our partner has developed an integrated Mobile Services Platform that utilizes Microsoft mobile technologies at both the carrier and the enterprise levels to provide more enhanced, secure end-to-end wireless messaging.
Challenge: To facilitate ease of use, wireless content must typically be designed with a number of major constraints in mind, specifically the small screens and limited keypads of mobile devices and wireless bandwidth and coverage constraints.
What to do: The most critical step in determining the best end-user interface and architecture is to consider the type of information that will be delivered wirelessly and its function. Several key technology solutions that can enhance the user experience are multi-media and voice-enabled mobile devices, and offline synchronization capabilities for geographic areas lacking wireless coverage.