I recently attended Mobile World Congress. It was jammed packed with people and cool stuff. As I worked my way through the show, here are some of the key things I took away. I hope it is useful to you, and would like to get your thoughts.
A connected world is here.
OK. Don’t laugh. The first thing that caught my attention was a connected toothbrush (yeah, yeah). It monitors how you brush, indicates when you brush too much or not enough, and you can share brushing data with your dentist. The toothbrush is an indicator that everything (suitcases, chairs, drink containers, socks… You name it.) is going to be connected. IoT is definitely something that manufacturers of physical things need to pay attention to because with embedded, connected sensors, the opportunity is here to understand how users are interacting and using the product through every stage in the lifecycle.
It’s time to play and position.
Both manufacturers and enterprises need to get ready to get a piece of an enormous opportunity and to prevent going the way of RadioShack – but only once the hype is gone. When I look back to the year 2000 and the e-commerce trend, I see the same type of opportunity evolving, but this time with “things.” At the time, the ability for e-commerce companies like Amazon to instrument (gather data) on customer behaviors and actions was the differentiation that made them winners. Today, the era of instrumenting how we use things is starting. The question is do you want to be an Amazon or a RadioShack? Invest in IoT. Get to know your customers and operations intimately. Otherwise, risk becoming the RadioShack of your industry.
Companies that will be successful are those that are able to improve products faster because they understand, through data collection, what their customers are doing with the product. For example, Microsoft is taking this seriously. The company is putting all its sensor code into Open Source so that integrating and feeding data into their Microsoft Azure Cloud solution will be super easy.
Data sensing is cheap – and getting cheaper.
When it comes to telecom innovation, I was taken aback by SigFox. Using open spectrum, the company has built a super low energy radio with a 40 km range and a battery life of 1 to 5 years! It is limited in its ability in terms of the delivery of 12 byte message and so many times a day. Get this, though, to monitor compressed air tanks in Paris, a customer only had to deploy 20 antennas. This is a great example of where deploying IoT can reduce costs for solutions that fit the 12 bytes constraints such as positioning of an object, a container, a garbage bin, or even a package! These types of solutions will shake things up in the carrier world.
Enterprise security and Android: Samsung’s make or break.
This year we saw a shift in focus from consumer mobile tech to the mobile enterprise. The Samsung booth was packed with enterprise partners working to lend legitimacy to Android within an enterprise context. Samsung is taking this to heart by partnering with BlackBerry and on their newest device, the Samsung Knox.
Microsoft can still pack a house.
With standing room only and people crowded outside the booth listening in, Microsoft showed they are still very much a player. People know that Microsoft can move mountains. They have already started showing how, with the flip of a switch, they can become relevant in the mobile world by supporting Office on iOS and Android. Within 24 hours of the announcement, the app became the one of the most downloaded apps.
With a new leadership team, Microsoft has renewed energy to make a go at it. There is still much to be seen about Windows 10 including productivity enhancements starting with the bundling of Office365 with their Microsoft devices, in addition to maintaining continuity of the user experience across devices. It’s funny to say this about Microsoft, but they get that as business people we are constantly on the go and running from one meeting to the next. The company makes it convenient to start a task on the phone and finish it on the desktop.
Let me know what you think. I look forward the conversation!