Literature Review On Mobile Apps Information Technology Essay

In order to achieve a competitive edge over competitors by investing into emerging ICTs and growing their international market, Mobile Construction Ltd is considering innovative ways of providing their service to global customers. As the Global Reach Manager, the CEO asked to explore the potential of delivery and retrieval service for enterprise-wide, on-demand mobile Apps. Also, the Global Reach manager needs to identify benefits and barriers of using mobile Apps, as well as strategy for effective use of existing Apps and development of new Apps.

2 Literature review on mobile Apps

2.1 Mobile Application Market

Early mobile application solutions required enterprises to choose between cradle-based synchronization through a wire line network or a pure online wireless solution (PENTA group, 2010). However, Mobile applications are a rapidly rising segments of the international mobile market, which consist the software runs on a mobile device and performs certain tasks for the clients. Because of the various functions including user interface for basic telephone and messaging service as well as advanced services, mobile Apps are widely used by customs. Also, mobile Apps are a large and continuously growing market and served by an increasing number of mobile App developers, publishers and providers (the Mobile Marketing Association group, 2008). New research suggests that the global market for mobile applications will explode over next two years. Research has been done for Getjar, the world’s second biggest Apps store, said that the market will grow to $17.5bn (£12bn) in the next two years and downloads would rise from 7bn last year to 50bn by 2012 – a 92% increase (BBC News, 2010).

2.2 Existing Mobile Applications

For a technical aspect, mobile Apps can be divided by the runtime environment they are executed:

Native platforms and operating systems, such as Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux.

Mobile Web/browser runtimes, such as Webkit, Mozilla/Firefox, Opera Mini and RIM.

Other managed platforms and virtual machines, such as Java/J2ME, BREW, FlashLite and Silverlight.

(Mobile Marketing Association group, 2008)

IPhone has acted as a revolution of global mobile phones. It has set a platform to develop all sorts of mobile Apps helping paint a better picture in mobile computing. The advantages of iPhone is that it is numerous with multi-touch interface, accelerometer, GPS, proximity sensor, dialer, sqlite3 database, OpenGL ES, Quartz, Encryption, Audio ,Game and Animation , Address book and Calendar including latest features of iPhone Gaming .

Windows mobile application is the latest technology every mobile technique should process. This technology allows the user to browse the internet, send receive mails, check with schedules contacts, and prepare presentations, in short manage your whole business with the usage of your mobile.

Android has been creating waves in the coming times with high technical interface in the mobile world. This latest innovation helps the publishers to deliver applications directly to the end user and easy downloads of applications can be achieved.

The term BlackBerry has become the synonyms of the word Smart and Trendy. BlackBerry Smartphone are the world’s most desired integrated communication device. This brilliant application not only meets a single need of one person but the usage can extend to an entire enterprise be it a small scale or a huge industry. (, 2010)

2.3 Infrastructure

Cellular technology have largely expanded the frequency use of mobile phones, the first generation cellular mobile telephones developed by using incompatible analogue technologies while the second generation cellular mobile telephone and GMS was developed by using digital technology in 1980 (Gans G.S. et al, 2003). Over thirty years of mobile cellular networks advancements, data transmission over cellular systems has been major breakthrough in recent years. Third generation systems (3G) have been developed as new mobile cellular networks, which is known as IMT-2000 (International Mobile Telephony-2000) by ITU(Wiley J. & Sons, 2005). 3G have met the single-user data rates requirement of the IMT-2000 on a technical level. However, it is limited 3G services in some areas such as video telephony (Agilent Technologies, 2008). ITU has received six candidate technology submissions for the global 4G mobile wireless broadband technology known as IMT-Advanced. And it is expected in October 2010, the selected technologies to be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced – to qualify as true 4G technologies (ITU, 2009). The south Korean government is already developing 5G access which may be ready soon after 4G service put into market, although 4G cellular wireless still waiting (MNM Media, 2009).

Cloud computing is described as both a platform and type of application. As a platform, cloud computing can be physical machines or virtual machines dynamically servers as needed. Advanced cloud computing include other computing resources such as storage area networks (SANs), network equipment, firewall and other security devices. As a type of applications, cloud computing use large data centres and powerful servers host Web application and Web services since it can be extended accessible through the internet. It is said that anyone can access a cloud application with a suitable internet connection and a standard browser (IBM, 2007). Typically, it can divid cloud computing into three levels of service, which support virtualization and management of differing levels of the solution stack, offerings: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) (Oracle Corporation, 2009).

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3 Opportunities for mobile Apps in construction

The PENTA team (2010) insists that the construction industry is a mobile workforce, which comprised of a range of companies with self-performing Electrical and Mechanical contractors to Engineering and Construction firms to specialty concrete and plumbing. Mobile phone is the most convenient device to deliver mobile Apps, particularly for emerging because of it is a daily used device. The most use mobile Apps in construction industry are calculation, drawing, management, measurement and video records which are based on variety of software.


It is quite normal for using smart phones as calculators in different areas. In construction industry, calculations can be used anywhere, such as, material supply, finance calculation, dynamic calculation, structure calculation and calculation in measurement and design. Generally speaking, the calculation in construction industry is not too complicate, therefore it is convenient to install calculation software for smart phones in order to get emergency result and check and calculate. Currently, there are several kinds of mobile apps such as Construction advantage calculator 2.0, AFHTech RC Columns and Beams 1.0.0 and PocketStatics 2.01.

3.2 Drawing

Nowadays the architecture drawing is mainly based on computers, by using powerful design software architects can get the most accurate and clear drawings. Smart phone can also works as minicomputer for architecture drawing by using related software to check the original drawing and do some changes. Also, the architects can create the sketch work and get design ideas in record time without leaving the clients. Furthermore, they can use massage function of smart phones to send their works or ideas to the company. Power CAD Site Master CE 1 has been welcomed by construction workers for years.

3.3 Management

Computer is used by construction manager and builder to get technological solutions of scheduling and delivery the construction process efficiently. Also, site managers and builders use computer to manage contracts, manage delivery, record construction process and manage and record risk happened in construction process. Since, site manager and builders cannot get computers anywhere, it is quite convenient for them to use smart phones with mobile Apps to check and complete their works, particularly in emergency situation. The popular Apps for construction management are Construction Manager 2.5 and Penta Mobile Field Reporting.

3.4 Measurement

Instead of big and heavy measurement equipment for construction measurement work, smart phone with mobile Apps can work well for the measurement task. By using GPS function of smart phones, you will not lose or cannot find the construction site. Also, mobile Apps can make smart phones work as plumb, to get horizontal, vertical and spirit level measuring. Most popular Apps are Kai’s Bubble Level.Net 2.2 and Plumb-bob.

3.5 Camera record

Camera record is a powerful App for smart phones using in construction area. It can take pictures and videos for the visible construction information such as gather site information, get risk information, record construction process, store property information and so on. The Apps can get literature record works together with camera can make the construction information more clear and visible. Also, it will make video conference on mobile phone become more and more popular.

4 Infrastructure/system requirements

As mobile phone needs the infrastructures to support it works, the quality of infrastructure/system requirements is deeply related to the quality of mobile Apps service. The infrastructure/system requirements is summarized as: good network to support data requirement, developed device to support the Apps works, high speed operation platform to support the Apps work well.

4.1 Network

Signal quality is almost the most important factor which effects the mobile communication and mobile Apps works. Since 3G network is the most popular wireless network for Mobile Apps, the majority of developed countries have been developed the communication technologies. Current mobile Apps are mainly produced based on 3G network system, and there are lots of limitation and restrict on improvement of Mobile Apps because of the limitation of data transmission. Therefore, it seems that it is impossible to widely develop the video transmission Apps at this moment. 4G system may make it possible for widely developed the Apps in construction areas when it become commercial used.

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4.2 Device

The mobile phone device is known as the hardware to apply Mobile Apps. The processor is the heart of Mobile device which must quick enough to support the calculation speed. As well, the battery is required powerful enough to support the mobile phone works long time. The screen and keyboard need to convenient for the use of Mobile Apps in construction area. The hard drive or storage space need to enlarge for video or files to store and the run of systems and mobile Apps. The newest Apple iPhone 3GS with 32 G storage space which can record clear video about one day on theory, however, the battery can just support the video process less than 3 hours.

4.3 Operation system

Operation system is the platform of mobile Apps software and many mobile Apps software are produced based on the operation systems. For example, the operation system requirement of calculation Apps such as Construction advantage calculator 2.0, AFHTech RC Columns and Beams 1.0.0 and PocketStatics 2.01 is Windows Mobile 2003. Currently, the most popular smart phone operation systems are Apple OS, RIM Black Berry OS, Symbian OS, Android OS and Microsoft Mobile OS. The diversity of operation systems creates trouble for mobile Apps work well under different operation systems. The adaptability of mobile Apps and operation system should be improved because of the difference of the operation systems.

5 Implementation Strategy

Since 4G system will make mobile Apps more powerful and more convenient, smart phones will play more and more important roles in construction industry. The implementation strategy on mobile Apps which used in construction will be created based on 4G system. Because of the 4G system can enhance peak data rates to support advanced services and applications and the targets of 4G system are established as 100 Mbps for high and 1 Gbps for low mobility (Agilent Technologies, 2008). Thus, by developing the existing mobile Apps in construction areas, it can create the implementation strategy based on 4G system can focus on e-business, video conference and GPS measurement.

5.1 E- business

With the high speed data transfer speed, the mobile Apps for E-business can be developed. The construction companies can receive and send out their contracts immediately after the decision making. Also, the companies can negotiate the contracts price and amend their contracts without delay by mobile Apps. The construction managers can manage the contract by mobile Apps easily, by the wireless with their company computers. Furthermore, the implemented E-business Apps allow construction managers to get the detail information of their clients, material suppliers and their employees. Thus, it is quite necessary to implement E-business in construction organizations.

5.2 Video transmission

4G system can offer high data delivery speed which allows video conference and video transmission as mobile Apps more frequent and more effective. During the 3G period, it can also using video transmission though smart phones, however, the video transfer speed and quality is so poor that it cannot for widely use in construction area. This situation will be totally changed during 4G period when high speed data transfer can enable video conference and video record transmission during different stakeholders in construction organization. Also, video transmission can be developed as distance guidance programme, when the risk happens the recorded video can be transferred to the professional group who communication by video conference with smart phones, also they can guide the construction workers to solved the problems by video conference. Therefore, video transmission will share a large market of mobile Apps in construction area.

5.3 GPS measurement

GPS measurement is frequently used in construction area, particularly in highway construction and energy supply line construction. The original GPS equipments is big and heavy to carry, it mean the mobility of GPS equipments are poor. It can implement the mobile phone to replace the GPS equipments as measurement tools through the mobile Apps. Currently it can use GPS Apps in smart phone for location guides. Since the smart phone is quite convenient to carry and it can work as plump equipment with mobile Apps, it is essential to implement the Apps work together with GPS Apps and developed new GPS measurement Apps. Also, Infrared measurements can be used as measurement apps in mobile phone.

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6 Benefits and Barriers

The benefits and barriers of the mobile Apps in construction areas are difficult indentified sometimes. However, it can general get the benefits and barriers factors for using mobile Apps in construction areas.

6.1 Benefits

The benefits of using mobile Apps in construction areas cannot calculation by how many pounds or dollars, since you cannot evaluate the apps used during emergency.

Generally, the benefits of using mobile Apps can be defined as saving transport fees and dealing with emergency.

6.1.1 Saving transport fees

Mobile Apps are used for connecting with the construction company groups in different areas. Transport fees are saved since mobile Apps can take the roles of many function tools such as camera, pump and professional calculator and so on.

As well, the mobile can used as camera, many managers are not necessary to get site visit in order to acquaint the construction site.

6.1.2 Dealing with emergency

Many emergencies happened in construction area need professional tool to deal with; however, mobile phone with the Apps in construction area can act as the professional tools sometimes. There are huge benefits of mobile phone Apps used for emergency, which cannot measured by money.

6.2 Barriers

Since it needs to develop mobile Apps for enterprise-wide and on-demand mobile service delivery, the network coverage level in different countries has great gap and the internet security problems cannot solved will be the main barriers.

6.2.1 Unbalanced Network coverage

Because the unbalanced economic and technology development of the world, the developed countries such as the UK, the US and the EU countries have already complete their 3G network coverage a decades before, however, the developing countries such as China has just begin the coverage project of 3G network. The developed countries plan to develop 4G network coverage since 2012, but for the developing countries may be need another decade.

6.2.2 Security problems

Using wireless connection in transferring information from construction site to the main office and having that information stored in mobile memory, the security is a big issue which is concerned by many construction organizations. The stolen of mobile device, the leak of commercial secret and the attack by hacker, all these problems will cased the lost of company benefits. Thus, it is quite essential to solve the security problems in mobile Apps.

7 New Apps Development

The aim of the development this new Apps is offering the full service delivery for construction companies globally. The idea of the new App based on 4G system and cloud computing used in construction area, thus the name of the new App is cloud computing construction programme.

7.1 Cloud computing construction programme (CCCP)

Cloud computing construction programme (CCCP) is an idea of new mobile Apps in construction area. The programme will developed based on 4G system, which requires high data transfer speed. The functions of the new App will contain commercial management, GPS measurement, video record and transmission, architecture drawing and risk management. Considering the compatibility of different functions Apps work in one programme, it is planned to divide the programme into small function programmes. The structure of the programme is showed as figure 7.1.

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Figure 7.1 Cloud computing construction programme structure

7.2 Cloud Computing

Since the CCCP is a big programme for smart phone device and operation system, it is considering the new App will use cloud computing to share the capitation and run speed by the Internet. Because of the App can share the Internet as part of processor, the hardware requirements of smart phones to run the new App will be greatly reduced. Also, by using advanced cloud computing to support the new App, it can share other computing resources and data centres and powerful servers host Web. Although this App is support by cloud computing, cloud computing is totally separate from the operational system of the mobile device. In this programme cloud computing is used both as Apps and platform.


The use of mobile Apps in construction organizations has great benefits and advantages. Also, there are many barriers for develop mobile Apps for enterprise-wide, on-demand mobile service delivery and retrieval. However, the barriers of mobile Apps in construction area will be less and less because of the development of mobile network coverage and mobile phone device development.

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