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Selected Highlights
Mobile applica-
tions - More
than a hype


Apple's App
store and


A platform for
portable apps -
Open source
initiative BONDI


Mobile Web applications -
The approach
of Research in


Challenges for
mobile applica-
tions - Strategic considerations by eMobility


Challenges for mobile applications

Strategic considerations by eMobility



Luis M. Correia
IST/IT – Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal

This article presents some of the challenges in the development of applications for mobile and wireless communications, addressing specifically the areas of Health and Inclusion, Transport, and Environment, as well as the Future Internet.  These areas have been identified by the European Technology Platform eMobility as strategically important for the future of mobile applications. 

The perspective

The demand for smart mobile phones has been steadily increasing in the last few years, namely since the iPhone made its appearance in Summer 2007.  As expected, Apple competitors ran to offer similar products to the market, and, nowadays, there is quite an offer of touch screen phones with a myriad of applications.  In parallel, the “war” on the smart phones’ operating systems started as well, being expected to last still for a while.  But, for users, the bottom line is really what applications can be used on the phone.

Many (not so say, most) of the applications that run today on a phone can be considered of the gadget type, i.e., they offer (perhaps) a not very useful service to the user, rather mapping a website onto the phone.  Often, the user runs the application a couple of times, in order to try it out, and then stops using it.  Of course, other applications are really useful, and offer clear benefits to the user.  Still, clearly, in the future users have to be offered applications that go much beyond this point, providing a real added value to the many activities of their daily life. 

eMobility’s Strategic Applications Agenda

The European Technology Platform eMobility has explored strategic directions on how to add value to mobile applications.  To this purpose, its Working Group on “Leading-Edge Applications” has organised several workshops, and established a Strategic Applications Agenda.  Three focus areas were chosen as particularly promising: Health and Inclusion, Transport, and Environment.  In addition, the Future Internet has been considered as well.  For each of the areas, a vision and core topics were defined, followed by a review of the state of the art, and then future challenges were identified.  Annexes present an extensive survey of projects/applications. 

Challenges in key areas

On Health and Inclusion, one has identified the following main challenges:

  • Requirements on energy, size, cost, mobility, connectivity, and coverage.

  • Address of legal and regulatory issues.

  • Adaption to the conditions of users and the device they are using, hence, establishing equality and design for all.

On Transport, the main challenges include:

  • Certification guidelines across a wide range of areas, including safety issues.

  • Provision of the right information based on context awareness, potentially with context prediction.

  • Requirement for standards to provide multiple services, over multiple different platforms, working in different countries.

Environment encompasses these main challenges:

  • Requirement-driven solutions that have a commercial and economic justification, and can be provided at best on a global scale.

  • Solutions that design and implement usability and reliability.

  • Increase of collaboration among environmental organisations, public sector and industry.

On the Future Internet, some main challenges are already foreseen:

  • Understanding of what users would like to achieve.

  • Understanding of the requirements for applications and services.

  • Driving research in the right technological direction, so that advancements may translate into business innovation.

Additionally, there are challenges transversal to all areas, which really need to be addressed by all those involved in their development.  These challenges include easiness of use, overall standardisation, as well as trust, security and privacy of data, whose perception varies.


There are many challenges in the development of services and applications for the daily use in everyone’s life.  By analysing some key areas (Health and Inclusion, Transport, and Environment, as well as the Future Internet), one can recognise that there are some challenges specific to each area.  On the other hand, there are other challenges that transversal to all areas, and that really need to be addressed by all those involved in their development.  These challenges address the aspects required by global markets, as well as the essential aspect of the easiness of use, and include all the features that are related to an individual and its relationship with society. 

For further information, see the eMobility website at

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