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Mobile Cloud Platforms: The Backend of Mobile Apps

  • September 2013
  • -
  • Smith's Point Analytics
  • -
  • 51 pages

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The explosion of mobile applications and devices has lead to an extremely crowded and fragmented market leaving mobile developers searching for new opportunities to differentiate and improve the user experience. Increasingly, successful mobile apps are supported by data feeds and services in the cloud such as databases, messaging, location, and social networking status. At the same time, enterprises are realizing the importance of the mobile channel and are moving beyond devices and applications devising new strategies to broaden their reach. Extending enterprise data and services to mobile developers via APIs is an approach enterprises are increasingly pursuing. These macro trends are driving demand for mobile cloud services platforms.

Mobile cloud services platforms are software suites that help enterprises create and manage APIs that extend data to mobile developers. These platforms also help mobile developers integrate APIs into their applications and support the network side or back-end of their apps. Over the past few years, vendors have focused on either servicing mobile developers with mobile back-end–as-a-service (mBaaS) solutions or enterprises with API management platforms. These types of platforms are quickly merging into a single offering connecting mobile developers with enterprise data and back-end services.

We expect the market for mobile cloud services platforms to grow from $579 million USD in 2013 to $4.4 billion USD in 2017. A large portion of the revenues generated from the market will be from API management and discovery services, where as back-end services will comprise a shrinking share of revenues.

The myriad of Internet connected mobile devices that continue to come to market has overwhelmed content providers and enterprises in their efforts to support multiple device types with integrated applications. To overcome these challenges a new computing architecture is emerging that separates the client side UI from the content and server side logic. Mobile cloud services platforms are playing into this trend by providing uniform data feed and services that allow application developers to focus on building the client side of the application. This reduces cost as mobile application developers typically have limited experience with server side software and vice versa. The primary value proposition of mobile cloud services providers is helping enterprises “mobile enable” their data and helping mobile developers simplify the process of creating a back-end for their apps.

The expanding opportunity for mobile cloud services platform is attracting numerous competitors and the marketplace is quickly becoming crowded. The space has attracted significant amounts of venture capital and Fortune 500 companies, such as Facebook, Intel, and Ca are acquiring market players. Development tools vendors, enterprise software vendors, SaaS, IaaS, and start-ups will battle to influence and control the mobile channel. Vendors are competing in a number of segments of the value chain including discovery, aggregation, developer support, utilities, and API creation and management. Some areas of the value chain will generate higher revenues where others will be much more strategic.

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