Monday May 09, 2016

Oracle Mobile Cloud Service 2.0 is Here!

Authored by Suhas Uliyar, Oracle Vice President, Mobile Product Development

Blogging about the 2nd major release of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service is personally very exciting! Not too long ago a few of us with many years of mobile experience amongst us, sat in a room and drew up the plans for building – from the ground up – a cloud based enterprise mobile platform, Oracle’s Mobile Cloud Service (MCS).

Our goal was to simplify enterprise mobility and help mobile developer build Better Apps Faster. With these goals in mind, we released MCS in July 2015 and in a short 10 months, we are thrilled to see its success and momentum in the marketplace. Our design goals to be open, agnostic and built on open standards, are being adopted by customers of all sizes, across all industries from around the world. With Oracle MCS, organizations deliver modern experiences to their employees and drive modern engagement with their customers. One of our fundamental principles was to be open and agnostic to mobile client development tools so that developers could develop in their tool of choice and make it simple to consume enterprise services from a Mobile API catalog without requiring them to understand the complexities of enterprise data and security policies. We have customers using native tools from Apple, Google, Xamarin, Sencha, Ionic along with Oracle client development tools, Mobile Application Framework (MAF) & JET, to build engaging experiences integrated with a variety of backend systems.

We have continued to innovate with quick and agile releases of MCS and today I am very excited to share with you the big strides we have BETTER apps with MCS Location Based Services and help enterprises build apps FASTER with Oracle’s Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) capabilities, called Mobile Application Accelerator (MAX). These capabilities are targeted at what Gartner refers to as “citizen developers.”

Before I tell you more about MAX, let’s first take a look at what we’ve delivered with Location Based Services..

About Oracle MCS and Location Based Services

Many enterprises like retailers, event organizers, transit systems, financial services, hospitality and educational institutions are engaging with consumers and have invested significantly in enabling seamless user experiences across mobile applications and the online world. They are able to get insights related to app downloads and in some cases user behavior across multiple channels. However, many of them have neglected a key value that mobile provides that the online world does not - the consumer’s physical location! When you consider that 93% of US retail sales still occur in store, enterprises are missing a key connection between the physical and online world.

The challenge with GPS is that indoor spaces often block cell signals and make it difficult to get an accurate location. This is where Beacons become a viable solution. Beacons, a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop, use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit or prompt directly to mobile devices. Companies like Estimote are poised to transform and reinvent a contextually rich mobile experience.

“It’s a no-brainer. Beacons increase the granularity of information that Oracle MCS can use to help businesses provide a contextually rich experience to their customers”  Steve Cheney Co-Founder of Estimote.

In-store retail and offline payments are in the first wave of beacon applications. Retail outlets are adopting beacons to provide customers with product information, flash sales or deals, and speed up the checkout process with a completely contactless payments system. Consumers seem receptive to beacons as a way to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Half of American adults already utilize their mobile devices in stores. Consumers could also use them to inexpensively automate their homes. For example, beacons could turn on lights in a room as soon as someone with a smartphone has entered them, or open doors or window shades.

Mobile represents the bridge between the digital and physical world and is becoming the most valuable tool yet for marketers, allowing them to be contextual, relevant and useful. To help build BETTER apps that take advantage of location services, we made it easy by providing a 360 degree view of contextual location information for the app developer to enable better decision support and engagement on the mobile app. MCS 2.0 provides a declarative framework with an easy to use  Admin UI, for the definition of Places, Devices such as Beacons, and Assets as first class entities along with the ability to query interesting information about these entities and the association between them from the mobile app via Platform API’s.

MCS 2.0 can help drive B2C & B2E use cases like:

  • Obtaining contextual information for Places & Things of interest (to drive mobile app logic):
    • Return all Places with the label ‘Parts_Warehouse’ that are within a specified GPS circle, and route me to the nearest one with parts in stock for Acme washers.
    • Return all active iBeacon devices where the device's name or description contains the text ‘LAX_Terminal1’. Set my app to range for the Beacon ID’s that were returned since I checked in for my flight.
  • Personalized mobile user targeting based on geofence or beacon proximity
    • Send Ana a complementary Molly Moon’s ice-cream voucher when she checks in at the new Forever21 store in the Uvillage Mall (where Uvillage Mall is denoted by a GPS and has ‘child’ Places within it for Stores id’d by Beacons associated with their location)
    • When a Platinum Member enters the Delta lounge (id’d by a Beacon), send them a NewCo promotion.
  • High-value Asset Tracking
    • Update the last known location of a fork-lift (id’d by a Beacon) to be ‘North Yard’
    • Give me the last known location of a hospital bed (id’d by a beacon). If it’s not in the quarantine area of the hospital (also id’d by a beacon), send an SMS alert to the floor nurse on duty.

About Oracle MAX

Investment in mobility solutions is expected to continue to grow through 2016. But the increased investment in mobility solutions is promising amid growing concern that demand for mobile app development services is happening much faster than organizations are able to deliver. Businesses are finding it challenging and costly to develop, deploy, and maintain mobile apps as rapidly as demand dictates, according to Gartner. Gartner says using rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools that can produce apps quickly, are crucial for enterprises to help bridge the gap between mobile app demand and supply. Significant innovation is driving this market and replacing traditional coding approaches, such as native development tools, with more effective RMAD tools. MCS 2.0 introduces the notion of no code rapid mobile application development (RMAD) with Mobile Application Accelerator (MAX). MAX is key to helping build better mobile apps FASTER allowing professionals with no programming background, to rapidly assemble mobile apps and continuously iterate on their designs. MAX is a highly visual tool and seeing is believing. To get a great overview, watch the following video recording of Oracle MAX in action.

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For more information and to test drive Oracle MCS 2.0 at cloud.oracle.com/mobile

Hungry for more? Watch Suhas Uliyar and Chris Marsh (451 Research) discuss the New Imperatives in Enterprise Mobility. And don't forget to follow the latest @OracleMobile.

Monday Apr 20, 2015

Mobile Cloud Service - Avoiding Apphazard Mobile Delivery

By Ian Wallis, Moble Technical Director, Oracle EMEA

IT organizations are reporting that their traditional three tier architectures are straining to support the needs of mobile users both for customers and employees. And why is this you ask? Well I believe there are many factors causing mobile to stretch and stress traditional IT, a few are listed below:

  • Change – the rate of change in mobile is high with a continuous stream of new devices, features, form factors, operating systems and updates.
  • Innovation – mobile devices can do unique activities such as measure, hear, smell, respond to movement, touch and gesture and many more
  • Connection –the need to handle less reliable connections such as 3G, Edge, GPRS and public WIFI networks
  • Personalisation – mobile devices are personal and apps need the right info at the right place at the right time to avoid being highly intrusive
  • Communication – a trend towards smart endpoints and simple messaging rather than centralized systems and orchestration models
  • Speed of continuous delivery – with the move to Agile development and DevOps, picking the right tool and technology for the job is crucial to be able to work quickly and effectively
  • Processing and battery life - mobile applications work best with simple REST based services rather than more heavy weight XML Web Services which are processor intensive
  • Scale – successful mobile apps can scale very quickly to a global audience of billions of smartphone users
  • Security – a completely new security model with different operating systems and devices, as well as controlling access to data and systems

This struggle has heralded the emergence of new IT delivery models to address the need for scalable mobile services. Services that can support a fragmented set of web and enterprise systems and technologies. Services that can be mashed up to form great mobile apps. One new category of technology is Mobile Backend as a Service (mBaaS). Not an ideal name, as an analyst recently pointed out at an event in Stockholm, asking: “Mobile Backend as a Service, is that even legal?”

Personally I prefer the term Mobile Cloud Services, which combines cloud and service integration with mobile-specific services such as offline functionality, data synchronization, push notifications, location and many others. These Services typically are built with cloud and mobile first in mind, and they leverage node.js infrastructure to provide mobile friendly services sometimes referred to as micro services or micro APIs.

Mobile Cloud Services need to cater for the diverse set of personas involved in developing mobile applications. New roles like Mobile Experience Designer, Producer, Mobile App Developer, Micro Service DeveloperData Scientist and DevOps Engineer have emerged, and these roles need to collaborate, working in parallel rather than sequentially. This includes the ability to create re-usable libraries of mobile services to fast track app development.

Over time I predict that the capabilities supported by  Mobile Cloud Services expanding to include a range of devices an "things" that are well beyond our current understanding of mobile.

Start considering Mobile Cloud Services to avoid the risk of haphazard mobile delivery. To download our eBook on Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, click here.

Follow us @OracleMobile 

Monday Mar 09, 2015

Barcelona, Mobile World Congress, and 93,000

93,000+

That’s how many visitors came to this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. With 8.1 halls, each of which was the size of Moscone South's usual exhibit hall - that’s a big show! And Barcelona, what a gorgeous city. It’s no wonder Picasso spent so much time between Barcelona and Paris.


While I didn’t get a chance to see Zuck chat up internet.org, I did get a chance to meet customers excited to hear about Oracle Mobile Platform. In particular, the upcoming release of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service was a highlight of our demos. Not to say that Oracle Mobile Security Suite and Oracle Mobile Application Framework didn’t also stand out - they held their own in terms of interest, but the upcoming cloud service is a mobile game changer.

If you’re unfamiliar, Oracle Mobile Cloud Service is an enterprise Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) that makes it easy to rapidly build mobile apps that access backend systems. As a cloud based platform  client and server side developers can easily collaborate. MCS offers built in mobile analytics so managers can fine tune access and gain insight of all their mobile deployments. Common mobile services such as security, data storage, sync and push notifications are standard making mobile development and deployment easier than ever. 


I just wish we could have shown it to all 93,000 attendees. Maybe next year. But if you can't wait, catch the upcoming Oracle Cloud Day in San Jose on April 30th.

Monday Nov 24, 2014

Oracle High Scores on GigaOm Research - Sector Roadmap: cross-platform mobile development


" Oracle is uniquely positioned to bring new developments to its MADP solution first and best — an advantage that could be profound in the months and years to come."  - Rich Morrow, GigaOm Analyst

GigaOm analysts Rich Morrow recently covered cross platform mobile development, a hot topic given the effort it takes to develop enterprise apps that fulfill  the needs in a BYOD world, and Oracle is helping to fulfill the needs end-to-end needs for enterprise mobile development. 

Areas covered include:

▪ Write once, deploy to several native codebases

▪ Tight integrations to back-ends or middleware

▪ A focus on specific use cases

▪ Consistent “app identity.” 

▪ Support for popular coding environments.

▪ Native device support

There's some great information covered in the report. Get the whole story here.  For instant news related to Oracle and mobile, follow us @OracleMobile 

Monday Jun 09, 2014

Game of Phones

Game 

of 

Phones

There’s an excellent DZone article titled: 2014 Guide to Mobile Development. It’s loaded with excellent information including some results from a mobile related survey to more than 1000 IT professionals. Without giving away too much, these highlights should convince you to read the entire article. 


Web and Hybrid apps are gaining tons of traction particularly in the enterprise. If you want to better understand the differences between Web, Native and Hybrid, this article has you covered.

Enterprise developers are increasingly more interested in cross platform tools. Makes sense right?  I mean, unless you have infinite resources (e.g. Facebook) and can afford to write native apps to every platform, finding something that can meet your needs for iOS and Android makes sense.  And toss in the possibility of Windows Phone …and oh, just to be current, the addition of Apple’s new mobile language, Swift, to add to Objective C.. and oh boy.  Why not check out cross platform tools? BTW, don’t  forget testing on each platform, and maintenance and the next versions of the app. It’s not one and done. If you’re successful, you’re never done.

Various mobile vendors are represented and many provide some great information.  Oracle's own Suhas Uliyar, VP of Mobile Strategy, represented with some great insights into the challenges of mobile back end integration (SOA, mBaaS, etc.) and moving from "mobile first" to a "mobile plus" world. BTW, Suhas was recently named Top 100 Wireless Technology Experts for 2014 by Today's Wireless World magazine. 

And if your not yet convinced, DZone did a very nice job with their mobile infographic stylized after the insanely popular series, Game of Thrones.  Even though there were no dragons illustrated, worth the price of admission just for that.  

Check it out here.

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