If you approach any mobile device user and ask what the term "mobility" means to them, chances are their response will have something to do with the ability to work somewhere other than an office. But is that all there is? The portable device has been in the hands of consumers for decades–that's nothing new.

As developers, we know mobility means more. It has a much broader scope, especially to those responsible for creating apps supporting the hundreds of mobile devices available today. That doesn't even include those yet to be announced –CES is coming up in January and there will undoubtedly be an array of IoT technologies readily available.  
As mobile industry developers, we must now help redefine the terms "mobile" and "mobility." The complete definition stretches beyond devices—more complex than mere portability. We need to factor in the entire ecosystem, including the developer community, available tools and technologies as well as enterprise priorities.
For example, would you say a worker, who puts hours upon hours on the road, day in and day out, visiting hundreds of homes and businesses per week is not mobile? I wouldn't say that. They're far more mobile than the average business person who spends the majority of their time at a desk. But based on current definitions, if I'm using my iPad to do expense reports, I'm considered part of the "mobile" workforce, but the other is not.

Educating the Masses

Mobility is an all-encompassing concept—from device to developer and backend systems, connecting devices with data for always-on access. There is a distinct difference between mobility, mobile devices and our ability to mobilize a workforce. People need training to recognize the intricacies of the mobile landscape, so they can understand the different ways to become "mobile."

So how do we do this? How do we educate the masses? Let's start with acknowledging the developer. When users download an app, they aren't immediately thinking of the developers who put in a tremendous amount of hours coding to make the app ready for any device they may choose to use.

Some devs code each device natively. Some take advantage of cross-platform tools to deploy hybrid apps for many devices all at once. No matter their methods and practices for development, the dev community is working at a fever pitch. They're far too busy keeping this mobile lifeline open to the world by constantly coding—then evolving that code—to meet market demands.

Whether we're dealing with an enterprise-level app or the next version of Candy Crush, coding persists. And with the continued mobile revolution, the developer now has more visibility (and more accountability) within the enterprise than ever before.

The Bigger Picture

Next, let's look at the technology—the platforms used to create these complex apps. They're often overlooked, as is the massive amount of data associated with them.

Shining light on the intricacies of mobile apps, their inner-workings, including the fact that every device is different and not all apps work on all devices, is a huge step forward. Factor in the backend systems that support them—and make line-of-business apps, chock-full-of real-time data and now you've really got something!
This idea of fully-defined mobility is basic knowledge to the dev community, but is a virtually unknown to the larger consumer marketplace. But, when centralized under this basic way of thinking, everyone can benefit. Why? Because we'll be looking at the big picture, the true definition of mobility and not just the device of the day.

This blog was originally posted in Mobile Enterprise, May 10, 2015.

Aaron Mahimainathan is Chief Product Officer at Telerik, a Progress company.
About the Author

Aaron Mahimainathan

Aaron Mahimainathan is Chief Product Officer at Telerik, a Progress company

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