Mobile meets cloud: The latest technology innovations you need to explore

By Steve Jin

Technologies have been changing in an accelerated fashion, especially after the internet revolution. The internet has had a profound impact on the way we work and live, and with universal connectivity and the latest technology, it’s now possible to do things that were previously unimaginable.

Today, we see two big innovations pushing the internet to the next level: the cloud, which is on the server side, and mobile, which is on the client side. Because both sides are important for delivering the complete solution to users, we’ll discuss them both together.

As a technologist, I know many key technologies that can help your company make a successful move to mobile. The following are a few of the ones that could decide the success or failure of your project:

Cloud APIs

The developers are the drivers of the latest technology and ultimately decide the future of a project. When it comes to the cloud, APIs play an essential role. There are two types of APIs: one is for management, and the other is for execution. The first one involves computing resource provisioning, lifecycle management, monitoring and billing, like IBM SoftLayer. Neither of these are related to the application logic itself.

With the cloud service providers, customers no longer need to worry about managing data centers. The service providers work on data center design and operations so their customers are free to focus on their core businesses.

The execution APIs relate to application logic or service. For example, platform-as-a-service solution IBM BlueMix provides developers with APIs to work with databases, messaging, authentication and more. Unlike the management APIs, these APIs will be integral parts of the applications.

The power of the execution APIs is that you can get things done without having to know the details. For example, if you want to have image recognition but you don’t have in-house expertise, you can use IBM Watson and instantly leverage the thousands of talents behind the scenes. You will need to know the interface, which is essentially a contract between you and the service provider. Compared with the design and implementation, this is a lot easier.


To effectively use the cloud services, you need to know the APIs and know them well. Depending on types of clouds and your role, you may only need to know one or two sets of APIs. However, knowing the big picture always helps.

Development frameworks and tooling

No one builds applications from scratch today. Most mobile applications are built on top of frameworks. You can build native mobile applications or web-based applications. Native applications will most likely require both iOS and Android support. A common framework that works for both operating systems would definitely help productivity and speed to market.

Web-based applications may work better given their universal support on almost all platforms from Windows, Mac and Linux to Android and iOS. Here, JavaScript plays a central role in the development. The JavaScript community is probably the most active community today and has created the richest set of APIs and frameworks, the majority of which are open-source. Today, you can find nearly all the APIs you need to create your cloud search engine product.

The free choices are great, but they can also be a bit confusing sometimes. As always, the question is which is better? As you may expect, there is no single best answer: It’s always a function of technology, requirement, team skills and culture.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become popular due to a simple reason: people want it. The cloud makes it possible, and mobile makes it accessible.

Although mobile computing power may be many times more powerful than a mainframe in the ’60s, it doesn’t always meet the requirements for AI. Cloud computing can turn the AI into a service and offer it for applications to consume. It can run on-premises as a private cloud or be shared by many customers as a public cloud.

Mobile applications can focus on interactivity, presenting AI results to users. Given the limited screen size of mobile devices, AI can really help enhance the user experience by interacting with them in a natural and intelligent way. Over the years, expect to see more mobile applications that can see, speak and listen.

The latest technology is changing rapidly. To ready yourself for the cloud and the mobile revolution, explore and master cloud APIs, mobile frameworks and AI.

Written By

Steve Jin

Founder and CEO of DoubleCloud Inc.

Steve Jin, Founder and CEO of DoubleCloud Inc.(, a startup company focusing on search and automation engine for the clouds. He is the author of VMware vSphere and VI SDK (Prentice Hall, 2009), and creator of vijava - the de-facto Java API for the No. 1 virtualization…