Devices and networks operating in wireless environments impose numerous requirements, such as usability and interoperability, on current technologies, applications, and services. These requirements are crucial and should be taken into account when designing and introducing any new technologies, applications, or services to the market. Without addressing these requirements, the new technology may not be accepted by end-users, carriers, service providers, enterprises, and device manufacturers. Each party will have independent reasons for not embracing the technology.
When evaluating mobile technology, end-users commonly look at aspects such as usability, performance, quality, and pricing. In this case, usability means that an application enabling the new technology is intuitive and easy to use without requiring the use of manuals. On the other hand, the performance of the application should not be dramatically weaker than in a wired environment. Typically, users do not tolerate slow response times. Quality is also very important, as mobile applications and terminals are commonly put though physical use that can best be described as "rough." The last, but not least, item in this list is cost. This includes not only the purchase price of the application for the end-user, but also the cost of using it.
For wireless operators and service providers, different aspects are important when introducing a new technology in a mobile environment. Their concerns relate to the usage of overall network bandwidth and the overall cost for enabling a service. It is obvious that the amount of airtime used is important for wireless operators, as more and more operators focus on providing billable services over their network. In that case, the usage of the bandwidth should not consume too much of the limited resources. In addition, operators carefully consider how much they can invest in new mobile technologies without knowing the exact revenue potential.
Device manufacturers also need to address the concerns of end-users. In addition to that, it is crucial to ensure that it is actually feasible to implement a new technology and embed it into a wireless device. This needs to be done in a cost-efficient and competitive manner which typically means a small footprint with an attractive feature set.
Mobility and wireless technologies offer some definite advantages over wired ones, although there are also limitations. A connection to an infrastructure can be created at any time independent of geographic location. As a consequence, access to data can be established without any major delay or conscious preparation. In practice, mobility gives more freedom to the end-users, and more room to service providers to create new kinds of applications.
Data synchronization, and especially mobile data synchronization, can be used to address many limitations of wireless environments, such as low bandwidth. On the other hand, data synchronization itself can substantially benefit from the advantages of mobility and wide-area wireless networks. Necessary and up-to-date data can always be offered to end-users independent of their location. SyncML, an open synchronization protocol, even expands the benefits of using data synchronization in mobile and wireless environments. Necessary and up-to-date data can be delivered to end-users independent of the mobile devices and network technologies used, as the standard-based approach can be exploited to connect the devices and services.