The Age of Mobile Computing

Mobile Computing

Take a walk down a busy street, hop on a bus, or grab a table at your favorite café or hot spot for  dinner, and you’ll likely see many of the people around you engrossed in some level of activity with their smart devices in their hands, eyes cast downward, fingers feverishly tapping the keypads with urgency and importance. Whether engaging in social media, gaming, shopping, banking, general internet surfing, or something else, mobile computing has undeniably taken over our collective consciousness.

With the uptick in mobile usage, the demand for mobile apps is soaring. According to Business2Community, 52.2% of all online traffic across the globe came from mobile devices in 2018, an increase from 50.3% in 2017.  Additionally, mobile apps account for a whopping 89% of mobile media time, compared to 11% spent on actual mobile sites.

For both B2B and B2C businesses, installing mobile apps that feature the latest in smart technology - such as with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) mobile computing solution - can help distributors and manufacturers perform ahead of non-mobile competitors, leading to a sizable advantage that can turn into significant growth.

At VAI, we’ve seen a steady increase in mobile interest from our customers, and to keep up with the demand, our mobile development has increased by 130% over the past 5 years. We expect this trend to continue in the next decade because businesses today have come to rely upon the advantages of having mobile business functions that ultimately serve every area of operation.

An example of this can be seen with one of our customers whose mobile app accessibility literally meant the difference between going dark when the power went out, or staying abreast of the workflow as if nothing happened.  The Pied Piper Exterminators, Inc., a leading pest control service provider in the Greater Bay Area in Northern California, achieved the latter, having experienced no interruption to its order processing while using the VAI S2K Mobile Order Processing application during the recent power shutdown by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).  

For nearly two days, The Pied Piper’s service area was greatly impacted by the power shutdown at its corporate office in Scotts Valley, CA. During this time, the company’s field agents had no connection to its IBM Power Systems server running IBM i operating system, and were able to continue utilizing the VAI designed Apple iOS service app in an offline setting.  Once power was restored, the app automatically synchronized data with the company’s IBM i server. As a result, they were able to place and process orders, email service completion notifications, and post invoices and payments to accounts receivable, all without missing a beat. 

The Pied Piper’s recent success is a testament to the capabilities that mobile apps can bring to businesses everywhere, and overall, our customers regularly report business improvements. The S2K mobile suite of apps are each designed to carry out a specific business function, from accurate, real-time data access and payment collection, to signature capture and cycle and physical counting. These capabilities, and more, deliver the function that doing business today necessitates.

For many businesses, mobile computing is no longer a “like to have” option. Staying ahead of the competition requires staying on top of the technology curve. The technical advancements and advantages in the age of mobile computing and mobile application usage are still being discovered and indeed, still being developed, but as more businesses adopt to these smart business tools, “like to have” is fast becoming, “need to have.”

Debajyoti Das

Chief Architect, Mobile Development