SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Dave Michels | April 26, 2012 |

 
   

Who Needs Clients?

Who Needs Clients? I avoid clients on my desktop PC--however, and I don't totally understand this, I search for apps on my mobile device and become disappointed when they don't exist.

I avoid clients on my desktop PC--however, and I don't totally understand this, I search for apps on my mobile device and become disappointed when they don't exist.

There are two kinds of clients. The first one is always right, the second might be totally wrong. The latter refers to locally installed software applications. The model went from clientless mainframes to a more complex client/server to simpler browser-based web pages. The question is, what's next?

The Web model offers numerous benefits including universal access from virtually any endpoint. Plus, HTML5 promises an app-like interface experience. But it appears client/server, fueled by explosive growth in mobile devices, has no prospects of retreating.

There are three broad approaches to delivering mobile applications:

* Mobile Web, aka "Internet-Lite," is largely being rejected.
* Browser apps: No local client, the application runs remotely, with minor exceptions.
* Native Apps: A local client optimized for the specific mobile platform that accesses remote data and services.

The mobile Web optimizes the experience with small screens and expensive data plans. The goal is to send as little information as possible to ensure quick and efficient loads. It's the Jack Webb Internet: Just the facts. It's a content compromise, and with Web-savvy smartphones using wi-fi, 3G, and 4G, there is much less tolerance for compromise.

The native approach offers the potential for a richer experience via integration with device resources such as gyroscope, GPS/location, camera, and NFC (near field communication), as well as platform nuances such as menu navigation or gestures. However, native apps introduce complexity and restrictions. End-users must proactively install apps prior to use. This involves a visit to the platform's store, such as Apple's Appstore or Android's Play store. These stores are miracles of modern software distribution: not only do they provide a search-enhanced selection with reviews, but they also handle distribution, installation, and license management. Unfortunately, they also introduce a third-party layer of rules and restrictions.

The requirement that users pre-install applications doesn't seem to be a big detractor in the mobile world--customers love their platform stores and love installing apps. The platform vendors love them too, as they get to share in the revenue, and each app purchase increases customer loyalty (investment anchor) to a given platform. The stores also provide a competitive barrier to entry. Apple has the leadership spot in applications, then comes Google's Android--Microsoft and RIM offer relatively small libraries.

One of the reasons it is so hard to attract developers to commit to a new platform is because it is not a trivial exercise. Each platform requires different skills, different betas, and different store processes. Each platform has multiple devices and carriers that may require separate testing. Each version also requires ongoing resources for maintenance and platform upgrades.

Despite these issues, native apps are favored on mobile devices. End-users look to the app store before searching the general web to find solutions to given problems. Native apps create a rare opportunity to control and manage interactions, which can be an important part of a go-to-market experience (think Instagram). A well-executed app that receives positive feedback and ratings will rise to the top of a given store category. This provides the developer additional incentive over traditional software distribution methods to create quality content. Some developers also enjoy the fact that apps can access more local information--particularly social apps that find connections in personal contacts.

Is going back to the client/server model really in our best interest? Clients offer a potentially richer experience than the web-based versions, but supposedly HTML5 corrects or at least minimizes this. Does it really make sense for end users to want to be locked into a specific platform, as happens with the client/server model? Do end users benefit when competition faces major barriers? Is it reasonable to expect app developers to increase their costs with the burden of multi-platform support? Mobile devices have created a Bizzaro world of computing!

The web enabled a new era of choice and freedom. Read news here, shop there, search and go anywhere. Apps make no sense conceptually, yet they are winning. For two quarters in a row now, Google reported a decline in cost-per-click advertising revenue--indicative of a migration away from web pages to client apps.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently revealed concerns over the openness of the Internet. In a recent Guardian interview, he stated the biggest threats to the Internet include government pressure to control information flow, the entertainment industry's efforts to control piracy, and walled gardens from companies such as Facebook and Apple. A backlash of accusations of hypocrisy resulted in Brin insisting his comments were taken out of context.

Some argue that browser based solutions are no more interoperable than native clients. 4ormat, a small startup, claims it saved $100,000 by not supporting any version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Firefox, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all tweaking their browsers to optimize their corporate strategies.

Personally, I avoid clients on my desktop computer when given the choice. I use as many cloud based services as I can, and that allows me to move between devices without compromise. However, and I don't totally understand this, I search for apps on my mobile device and become disappointed when they don't exist. The fact is, the client/server approach is winning; it's a mystery, but apps are preferred.

Dave Michels is a contributing editor and Independent Analyst at TalkingPointz.com





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.