Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Federated Caching in the world of the 64GB mobile

There is something that is beginning to irritate me, ok something else.  Its mobile applications that don't cache.  I'm fed up of travelling on a train or being on a plane and the end result being that my iPad or iPhone app doesn't work because I'm in an area that doesn't have reasonable network coverage.  I was using the App earlier when it had WiFi and it was all fine but the app requires me to be 'always connected' which I just feel is plain lazy.  My mobile phone has about 16GB of free space, my iPad has slightly less thanks to the videos but its still several GB of space.

I'm particularly talking here about BI tools and enterprise apps which have no concept of a variable network.  If I've approved a travel expense for someone via email then when I connect the email gets sent, if its on a mobile 'always on app' I can't do that.  Why?  I'm actually losing functionality over email.  If its a BI app and I'm looking at sales reports for a given geo then if I can't access it on the plane then I'm losing functionality over Excel.

Federated Caching is often a tough challenge but is one that we've solved over, and over, and over again in IT.  It shouldn't even be 'save to' on the device it should be a case that if you are doing the reports and have a cache size set on your device then the application should automatically pull the information locally.

The next generation of enterprise mobility will be about removing things like email and Excel or it will just be another pretty technology that does some stuff better but I'm still forced back to the old tools when I step outside the mobile view of a perfectly connected world.

Federated caching needs to be your starting point in a mobile world, you need to leverage the power of the device in a smart way not use it as just a browser and you need to deal with the reality that your users will not always be connected no matter what the adverts say.

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