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June 14, 2012

IT companies must gear themselves up for “post-PC” era: Gartner

Mobile advertising projects targeting smart phones and tablets will exceed native PC projects by four to one by 2015

By CBR Staff Writer

IT organisations must rapidly evolve mobile applications and interfaces to meet sharp increases in demand across B2B, B2E and B2C channels, as workforces and consumers increasingly access IT applications and content through mobile devices, according to Gartner.

The report, report "Mobile Applications and Interfaces: New Approaches for a Multichannel Future," notes that CIOs and IT decision makers must address these three key implications of the "post-PC" era.

Gartner Fellow research vice president David Mitchell Smith said the release of the iPhone five years ago marked a shift towards a mobile-dominated future.

"With phones and tablets becoming a platform for the delivery of applications and information, and not simply a communications tool, the era of running applications solely on desktop and notebook PCs is rapidly being superseded by a fast-moving, diverse era of ecosystems that span consumer electronics, business computing, fixed-location clients and mobile clients," he added.

"This shift in computing to mobile devices, and the ongoing trends of consumerization and ‘bring your own device’, mean that IT leaders and application development teams need to take a multichannel approach to applications across business-to-business (B2B), business-to-employee (B2E) and business-to-consumer (B2E) channels."

Gartner report offers to help IT leaders and application development professionals prepare for this shift.

The research firm , however said, too many IT departments and end users still assume that only desktop applications are needed.

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Gartner recommends going for a mobile-only, mobile-first or legacy assessment during application development, identifying specific demand for mobile applications in B2E, B2C and B2B sectors in the next 18 months and implementing an architectural and tool framework for future context-aware apps.

It says application developers need to retool as mobile-centric design replaces desktop-centric design for user interfaces.

The surging interest in and use of mobile devices across consumer and business markets means that mobile interfaces are setting expectations for the usability, appearance and behavior of future systems and applications, Gartner revealed.

The leading edge of this change is the touch-and-gesture interface that is fundamental to mobile devices, but beyond this both audio and video channels are being used to expand this new user interface.

Spoken commands drive searches and application actions, while the emerging video channel is leading to facial recognition and in-air gestures.

Another key observation made by Gartner is organisations need to reallocate resources since mobile advertising projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by four to one by 2015.

Gartner has recommended that organisations should make tactical investments in mobile application development tools, enhance automated testing and support plans and use HTML5 as the lowest common denominator.

"When building UIs for multiple screen sizes and operating systems, new tools are needed to make applications function correctly on different devices. There’s no automatic way to do this — it takes engineering skills to design the right outputs," said Smith.

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