Over the last decade we’ve seen a huge amount of change in the way we use IT. This is everything from what we’re using mobile phones for to the games we play and everything in between. I did a presentation for a company a little over a year and a half ago which talked about how we’ve pushed our technology further and further because of games and the companies that develop them, and at the end I started talking about how everything is getting smaller and how because of that everything is going mobile.
This is something that is going to be true for a while. We’ve progressed from machines that used to fill entire rooms to machines that fit in your back pocket which are now ten times more powerful than that 2 ton machine that used to exist. It’s caused some fairly massive changes in the technology we’re producing for those phones and iPads or other Tablet brands and is meaning we can do more and more on them. It’s an interesting concept for a developer as to what you should do when your users are now using their tablets and phones for a lot more, especially as our screen sizes and resolution are getting better without compromising the size of the device. So we’ve seen a surge in people wanting to do more on their device, which has lead us to need to develop for users on the go.
The problem is, when you solve a users needs you can cause a lot of issues as well. This can manifest in a few ways like “Should I employ someone to develop for this?”, “Do I just get training for my current staff?”, “Is it going to last or is it just a fad?”. The latter is one that has caught my attention the most. With IT we see a lot of things come and go very quickly, for example PDA’s and Pagers, and only leave a blip on the radar. But other things will leave you behind and your knowledge will be trailing if you don’t pay it any attention. So the question comes as “How long is mobile data going to be a thing?”.
FileMakers solution to this mobile problem was FileMaker Go, a fast little application that simply hosts a database on the client. This solution to being able to access data on your mobile device though has, as stated before, caused a problem. It works perfectly if you’re working only on a mobile device and it’s never going to be on a desktop machine, but what happens when you need your data to be everywhere. What we’re talking about is mobile syncing over the internet, the ability to input data in one place and make it appear in another. It’s a really complicated issue that some companies, including ours, are trying to solve through either a separate program, such as SyncDeK2Go or through inbuilt functionality.
I believe this mobile trend has an expiry date, but it’s not going to be a short one, and clients are always going to want as much access to their data as they can get. The issue, though, is how much do we, as an industry, invested into it to make it last for longer, and to that I believe we’re going to be investing a lot. As an industry we’re probably going to be dealing with mobile data in much the same ways as we have been at the moment, but it will probably shift a little in the way we do it; whether that be on even smaller devices or on some sort of holographic screen. We can only continue to work to the best of our ability and continue to shift the playing field to cause more problems and create more solutions.