Thought leaders discuss the Internet of Things, opportunities, constraints, security and more.
“Mobile is eating the world.” Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobile & Business Solutions, made this provocative statement during his opening remarks at the Mobility LIVE! 2015 conference held in Atlanta, October 28-29. Standing before an audience of “key thought leaders and decision makers in the areas of mobile technology standards, strategies and innovations,” de la Vega kicked off two days of panel sessions exploring how mobile technologies are set to touch almost every aspect of our lives.
Bypass the hotel front desk by checking in through an app, and then use your NFC-enabled device as your room key. … Equip farm veterinarians with smart glasses that project reference texts right before their eyes, keeping their hands free as they treat livestock. … You get the idea.
With “mobile” these days encompassing everything from smartphones to personal fitness trackers, drones and toy robots – almost anything not tethered to a power cord – the real excitement and potential, everyone seemed to be saying, comes from the ability to connect these things, to use them for both capturing data and also pushing out information for better experiences, more intelligence, smarter decision-making.
In short, the panel speakers were all buzzing about the same types of capabilities we’ve been helping businesses realize through RFID technology for the past 10 years. But whether you’re talking about a Bluetooth low-energy beacon or RFID solution, wearables or smart infrastructure, the question we should all be considering now is this: with an explosively broadening awareness of the potential for endlessly capturing and sharing data, what are the bigger implications about what’s ahead?
Here’s some food for thought from some of the best Mobility LIVE! 2015 speakers.
The opportunities before us are huge.
Ralph de la Vega, talked about the Internet of Things (IoT) as one of the key things that AT&T Mobile & Business Solutions is focused on right now: “It’s just an amazing trend that I think has no end, because everything now wants to be connected to the Internet. … The latest forecast is for, by 2020, to have anywhere between 25 to 50 billion things connected to the Internet. I don’t care whether you go for 25 or you go for 50 – there is a lot of opportunity there for us.”
Jim Bailey, Global Managing Director of Accenture Digital Mobility, offered a few statistics of his own: With an anticipated 212 billion sensors and 50 billion connected devices in use by 2020, 89% of businesses worldwide already say they believe the IoT will have a fundamental impact on their businesses, yet only 7% have a comprehensive strategy for how they will engage with it.
If you’re only thinking about how to improve today’s existing mobile technology, you’re already behind.
In undoubtedly the most highly anticipated appearance at the Mobility Live! 2015 conference, Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services for Apple, spoke with Glenn Lurie, President and CEO at AT&T Mobility, for Day 2’s Apple and AT&T Fireside Chat, and recalled that when he and Steve Jobs were negotiating with AT&T to produce the first iPhone, Apple refused to let AT&T even see the plans for the phone – an unprecedented demand at a time when carriers had inches-thick specifications books for detailing to manufacturers exactly where buttons and logos should be placed on phones:
“One of the things that people don’t realize is we started building a tablet first, before we ever built a phone. That’s not the way the customers bought in the end, because we shipped the iPad later, but we started building a tablet and that led us to touch and things like pinch and zoom and those types of technology. And when we started seeing that, we really thought, this even better for a phone. … You can’t do the ‘next thing’ through iterative steps. You can make things better, but you can’t get to the next level.”
Expectations surrounding user interaction with mobile technology are growing.
Edenilson Fleischmann, President & CEO Indra USA, discussed what he believes will be the tipping point for acceptance of the IoT: “I think the Internet of Things is really going to be around when we cannot feel it. Technology is good when you don’t have to think about it.”
Nikki Santoro, Vice President of Product & Design at The Weather Channel, talked about the thinking behind the newly redesigned Weather Channel app: “It’s about beyond being useful. It has to be relevant, authentic, and relatable. … It’s not about the app being the hero, it’s about the customer – they’re the smart ones. We’re giving them the power to be ‘in the know,’ even more than just telling them the weather. We’re constantly asking, ‘How can we create programs so dynamically aware that they solve your problems?’”
Constraints help determine where technology adoption is fastest.
Edgard Sammour, Sr. Project Manager at GE Digital Energy MDS, discussed the intersection of edge computing and the IoT: “The power consumption at the edge for a lot of applications is still not there. For example, if you talk about gas meters or water meters, these things – they need to be powered. If you want to connect them to the IoT, they still require connectivity. In this way, power consumption really becomes critical, and the lower the power, the better the adoption is going to be in that area.”
Security is everyone’s responsibility.
With the recent, well publicized hacking of self-driving cars and personal fitness devices fresh in everyone’s minds, security was understandably a hot topic at the conference. Joe Mosele, VP Business Development – Internet of Things, AT&T Mobility, discussed security as a critical component of connected cars and other devices: “Security is going to be one of our number one concerns. … I think a lot of it is the responsibility not only of the carrier to make sure it’s a secure connection to the car, but it’s also important that automotive makers are taking care about what is allowed through to the car, if that is an open connection.”
From Simon Hunt, Chief Technology Officer for Home Gateway Security at Intel who, on one hand, thrills to the potential of technology – gushing over devices like Nixie, the boomerang-like wrist-launchable drone camera that won Intel’s Make It Wearable contest in 2014, and bathroom lights with contextual awareness, turning on at different brightnesses at 4 a.m. than at 7 a.m. – but who also professionally wrangles with the dangers of data security and privacy on a daily basis, offered the following advice: “Assume that everything is insecure.”
Mobility Live! 2015 Key Takeaways
All things considered, there’s absolutely no better time to explore and plan for how this mobile technology explosion can impact your enterprise. Remember:
- Opportunity is out there.
- You can be the game-changer in your space.
- User interaction matters.
- Understand your constraints.
- Take data security seriously.