Digesting Mobile World Congress 2014: Six Key Themes and Two Future Scenarios

10 03 2014

It’s been a while since we attended Mobile World Congress and whilst we have perhaps missed the buzz, we have not missed the sore feet from walking around those huge halls.

We are therefore grateful to, and warmly welcome Richard Arthur, Telecom guru and Head Communications & Media Solutions Enablement at HP, for this fascinating “guest post” on his visit to this year’s Mobile World Congress 214:-

A record breaking eighty-five thousand people attended this year’s Mobile World Congress in February in Barcelona Spain.   Many of us who were there are still digesting the cornucopia of booths, seminars, parties, and the one too many tapas and Rioja we all had.

Here’s my round-up of the highlights from the show; also linked my video: a smorgasbord of show floor highlights.

Use this link to watch Richard’s High Speed Review Video of Mobile World Congress 2014: http://vimeo.com/88625618

1.     Face time with Facebook

One of the most talked about keynotes was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who took the stage and justified the $19B WhatsApp purchase.  Meanwhile also at the show, WhatsApp announced a voice service on top of their popular messaging.   Zuckerberg also touted a free internet for developing nations initiative which caused much lively debate.  Shortly after the show, Facebook announced the purchase of drone company Titan Aerospace for $60B to support just such an initiative.

 2.     Wearable tech yes… fashionable?

As is usual, mobile devices were the most visible new announcements at the show.   Wearable tech adorned many booths, although less of the Google garb then we might have expected.  Samsung’s curved OLED watch shone brightly and surprised with a Tizen Operating system.   Companies both big:   Huawei, Sony, Motorola, and small:  GoPro,  Fitbit, and Byonym went wearable.

On the Smartphone side, Samsung Galaxy 5 was the most hotly anticipated launch.   However many reviewers and the GSMA preferred others.   HTC One rang up “Best Smartphone” and, impressively the Xperia Z2 shoots 4K video.   I liked the LG flex’s ability to make like Gumby while still featuring a great display. Nokia surprised with the X low end Android phone announcements:  a new tone for Nokia in the run up to their Microsoft acquisition.  HP announced new business tablets and showed off our  Slate 6 phone tablet now available worldwide.   On the Slate 6 CNET said “The overall fit and finish is excellent given the price range, and with dual SIM support it would be easy to see this new line building a fan base.”

3.     Network Function Virtualization made real

As has been the case recently, network infrastructure announcements were less visible at the show.  However, the major equipment providers and infrastructure vendors did make a series of announcements.   Multiple companies launched Network Function Virtualization initiatives.  If you haven’t heard of NFV, I recommend you check out the latest White paper from ETSI on the subject.  This new approach to telecom infrastructure has the potential to revolutionize the network with huge Capex and Opex savings as well as dramatically improving innovation potential in Communications Service Providers.

HP announced the HP OpenNFV program at MWC which included a new organization in HP, architecture and set of newly launched products, plus a partner and lab program.   It featured seven of the nine ETSI defined NFV use cases in live demos on its booth.    LightReading summarized the HP announcement concluding that HP’s breadth and partner program are key NFV differentiators.

 4.     Headline “No News on 5G”

In the network core, vendors traded opposing 5G views, meaning no consistent definition exists yet, however many approaches to improving 4G and WiFi were demonstrated.   LTE Advanced featured in many vendors and some service providers’ show participation.  LTE-A’s main attractions are support for highly variable network topologies including Pico and Femtocells, and aggregation of multiple carriers (frequency bands) to provide much higher potential bandwidth.

5.     Driving the Connected City

GSMA’s connected city program drove a number of “car-as-mobile-device” launches, including Ford’s high profile launch of the new Ford Focus.    This was quite a coup (not a “Coupe”) for Mobile World as the Geneva Motor Show follows only one week later.  HP’s own Jeff Edlund, with Telsta’s Hugh Bradlow, spoke on Smart Cities and how they can be achieved today.

In some of the smaller booths some cool, if not necessarily ready for primetime, innovations could be found.   I particularly liked the “Brewbot” smartphone-controlled personal brewery and “Joseph” the ceramic Bluetooth speaker which can also be a planter or aperitif dish.

6.     Whither the Smartphone OS?

I dutifully made the rounds to catch up on the Smartphone Operating System trends.    I was disappointed to see that Firefox and Ubuntu, as well as Tizen, all big features of last year’s show, still cannot show significant market penetration.  This is a testament to the ongoing strength of OS market leaders Android and IOS.

img_1742.jpgOne day, in the not too distant future…

As always, the GSMA sets out to showcase the technologies, products and services that are shaping the future of the mobile industry at Mobile World Congress.   In closing this report, I leave you with the following scenarios gestated during a sleep deprived and cramped flight home:

In scenario one, Facebook provides free internet to the unconnected masses via drones while Google launches balloons that carry Wi-Fi to places still unconnected.    These brands become bigger than any telecom brand to communications customers in the developing world.

Scenario two hits a bit closer to home and plays out in real time:

Glance at smart watch – beer time.   Tap to connect to Brewbot and verify via smartphone that beer is proper temperature.   Command connected car to retrieve beer and deliver to friend’s house, where chips and dip are waiting in the Bluetooth speakers playing Smartphone DJ mixed music…. 

Oh and don’t forget the Tapas by app.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Rich ArthurEnjoyed this guest blog?

You can follow Richard on his Twitter account:  @RArthurTelecom





What is a Thought Leader?

19 03 2013

Are you a thought leader?  Do you want to be a thought leader?  Yes, I thought so – walk this way and read on:

 

One way to describe a thought leader is that they are knowledgeable people whom we trust to share information on a given subject.

Some of the key attributes that are required to be a successful thought leader include:

 

  • Original – meaningful /new content
  • New ideas/approach
  • Innovative ideas
  • Create and present content that inspires, challenges or moves the reader/audience

People like hearing about new things.  By adopting a new approach to a given subject, if you challenge the way people consider or learn about a topic, you’ll stand out from the herd.  Work on developing material that is timely, accurate and meaningful to your audience.

Get this right and the final element of a successful thought leader is that you will acquire a following of supporters.  People will seek out your knowledge, request your comment or ask for your guidance because you are a trusted source.  You will be known for having your finger on the pulse at any given time.

There are some easy steps you can take to commence your Thought leader program.  It is not simple to achieve and success does not come to you over night.  It might take 6 months or even 18 months to receive concrete feedback but if you are consistent and contribute to the following model you will win.

IMGP0340Define your goals.

Who do you want to reach/communicate with – who is your target audience?

What topic(s)/issues are you an expert on?

Why do you wish to influence?

 

It may be just a small platform of people or a large global group.  It clearly is simple to commence with a smaller number or group as success will be easy to define.

What method of communication does your target audience use (some may only prefer email, others social media, for some groups newsletters via mail or email is still a valid way to communicate or for others face to face meetings or conference or industry events is important).

The key point is that you need to get your word out.

You need to be consistent and develop information that can be sent out on a regular basis to your target audience.  Choose your mix carefully.

Blogs – better to write one thought provoking/informative article per month than ten badly composed articles each week.  Remember it takes time to build up readership.   Even if you do not usually write articles, it is important to write down your thoughts.  Think of this as an extension of you speaking.  If you do not place material online, your chance at becoming a thought leader will be limited.  If you do not have a blog, submit suitable articles/viewpoints or comment via your company website or via industry online sites.

Like minded.  Seek out other thought leaders in the same industry.  Exchange comment on social media sites and offer links to your articles.   Offer to write articles for online and printed publications.  Contact key editors and let them know about your talent and knowledge.

In the Flesh.  You need to be offline as well as online.  Seek out speaking opportunities at key industry events.   Offer you expertise to conference producers seeking expert speakers or panelists.  Attend key conference and meet as many movers and shakers as possible.

 

 





Five steps to business success.

19 03 2013

I was listening to a podcast by Chris Cardell and took the following interesting notes.

In this ever competitive world the benefits of being perceived as a thought leader in your business sector is paramount.

There are some excellent lessons you can learn from the top one percent of successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the world.  By taking on board a new approach to the way you do business; you will achieve more in twelve months than you have in the previous  twelve years.

The way you can achieve astonishing success and to accelerate business growth is by applying five simple ingredients:

  1. Action and speed.  All successful businesses are those that are fast to market with a new innovative idea.  As a leader you need to have the compulsion to take massive actions – implementing marketing, online strategies, new products, price increase, communicating with customers, firing ineffective staff and suppliers and replacing with those more efficient players.  You need to take action 10 x faster than others.
  2. You cannot thrive if you implement everything slowly – you try it out, then implement fast.    Take action simultaneously and not sequentially.  It creates some chaos – most entrepreneurs are surrounded by chaos because if you run your business too slowly, progress will be slow, step-by-step.  It will also allow your competitors to catch up and win.
  3. Attitude and mindset around failure.  Winning businesses have a radically different view of failure.  Fear of failure is a barrier to entrepreneurial success.  You need to embrace failure.  These experiences are not real failures – they are results to learn from.  Example, Richard Branson has failed in business, many times.  He faced these set backs and failed again but it in the end he has had huge successful and great business results.  He is one of the top thought leaders in his class.
  4. Marketing mastering.  Coming out of the recession we are facing a new economy.  Survival of the fitness.  Working with an average marketing plan and you will be crushed.
  5. Immunity to criticism.  As you grow your business, taking risks will give you results.  People will try and stop you or slow you down.  There will be pressure and you need to manage this.

By applying the above steps to the way you manage your business, you will reap huge differences in the way your company will grow in the years ahead.

 





Ladies can you have it all? “Are you leaning in or out?”

17 03 2013

Are you leaning forward or back?  With the recent release of Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, book, Lean In, the internet has been buzzing with commentary, support or disgust.  It has spurred a worldwide discussion on the merits of women in high places or not.  The book is calling to women to stop unconsciously sabotaging their careers, by having children or put it another way, having a life outside of the boardroom.

I do not want to open the can of worms that debates stay-at-home-mum v career ladder climbers etc as I believe many woman around the world have been leaning in for decades.  They know the shots and have made their decisions with a clear mind.

Whilst I will disclose I concur with the general position that corporations and boards should close down their old boy networks and open and welcome into their dusty boardrooms to talented, qualified women, I live in the real world.  In the majority of corporations, men still hold the highest percentage on senior roles and seats on boards.  Prejudice rides high and when faced with two equally qualified candidates, men will typically elect to hire another man over a woman.

Research confirms time and time again, that customers prefer men.  Sad but true.  It is therefore no surprise that men still hold the lion share of power, but it’s shocking to learn that men still receive higher remuneration for the same job.  The median wage for women is lower than the median wage for men in most countries.  There is a general scholarly consensus that the majority of the differences between men and women’s pay can be attributed to differences in the choices men and women make regarding their careers, so here Sheryl Sandberg has a point.

How can this all change?  Ms Sandberg is making the case that women need to be more proactive in their early career choices and “lean-in” for those leaps up the ladder.

For starters she could look toward Europe.  The gender-quotas has been an important driver for change, and no-where has this more seriously been applied is in Norway.  The Norwegian regulations for 60/40 per cent gender balance on company boards – world known as the quota law– has become a benchmark and a field study for Europe’s aim of increasing the number of women in economic and commercial decision-making. Many things have been said and written about the Norwegian quota, not least the positive affect companies has enjoyed by including women on their board.

It took legislation to pave the way for self-regulatory and complementary measures in Norway, perhaps other countries need to follow their lead.  That’s the only way more woman will be assisted to “lean in” to those C level roles.

In countries like USA, UK and many others there is a need for both parents to work.  The cost of home purchase, cars, education and all the other trappings of middle class living demand that two salaries be brought into a household.  So I believe many women have weighed up their choices.  For those that want to “lean in” they are already there!  They made their choices and now their families are stuck with an absent mother who is probably frazzled at home due to her impossible agenda and constant work demands.  These are the choices people make and whilst Ms Sandberg may believe it is the right choice for her, it is perhaps wrong of her to dictate that more should follow her in footsteps.

Money and power do not equal happiness and so to close this blog, I will end with this  famous story and joke about the Mexican fishermen.  In the spirit of “Lean In” I’ve changed the gender for fun but the moral remains the same.

“An American business women was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one lady fishing was docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican lady on the quality of her fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, that it only took a little while. The American then asked why didn’t she stay out longer and catch more fish. The Mexican said she had enough to support her family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The Mexican lady said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, prepare dinner, take siesta with my husband, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar an dance with my husband and amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed. “I have an MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.” The Mexican lady asked, “But how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “Fifteen or twenty years.” “But what then?” The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.” “Millions? Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, cook, take siesta with your husband, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar dance with husband your amigos…”

So perhaps the answers is, you can have it all, but not at the same time.   For those people driven to work all hours possible, you go for it and lean in.  Meanwhile, for the rest, determine what makes you happy, what makes your life fun for you and your family and go for it as well.  Switch off your phone and take your kids to the park and follow in Mary Poppins footsteps, “go fly a kite!”





Free books in Valbonne to celebrate World Book Day

7 03 2013

Hot on the heels of World Read Aloud Day (6 March) we are celebrating World Book Day today – 7 March 2013.  Now in its 16th year, World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.

There are many exciting events being staged around the world: Storytelling workshops, money off coupons, open house at libraries, author signings etc.

For those based in the south of France, The English Book Centre, Valbonne will be celebrating this unique event on Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7-9th March. 

To encourage more children to explore the pleasures of books and reading, they will be giving a FREE book to any child or teenager who comes to the bookshop during those three days.

Join in the biggest bookshop event in the world!





World Read Aloud Day 2013 – what are you reading?

6 03 2013

Did you know that 774 million* people in our world, cannot read…  And 66% of the world’s illiterate are female?  

Our entire civilization is at stake when girls are prevented from accessing the right to read and write.  All girls must be able to read and write their names, read their medicine bottles, vote, go to school and college, and have the freedom to work,

Based on World Bank research and economic data and UNESCO education statistics, it estimates the economic cost to 65 low and middle income and transitional countries of failing to educate girls to the same standard as boys as a staggering US$92 billion each year.  Let’s repeat that fact; the failure to offer girls the same educational opportunities as boys costs developing countries almost $100 billion each year in lost economic growth.

*These facts are confirmed  by my source: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy – Date Verified: 2.20.2012.

Reading educates and empowers people – both women and men.  Family poverty hits girls hardest as they are pushed to find work to support their family.   Girls drop out of school more – with a 29% decrease in primary school completion for girls versus 22% for boys.  With no ability to read, people cannot learn and this disability typically results in a life of  poverty, disadvantage or crime.  This trend is confirmed by reviewing, for example, the percent of prison inmates, in the USA who can’t read is 63%.

Reading workshopImagine a world where everyone can read…

If this was true, how could reading improve the lives of street children, children in conflict with the law and children in the worst forms of child labour?  Many children have multiple problems and belong to more than one category or move between categories over time. Many of the root causes and factors that impact on the lives of these children are similar – namely poverty and this drives lack of education and opportunities many take for granted.

With those sobering thoughts in mind I call everyone to celebrate by arranging to read aloud, give away a book, or taking action in any way you can.

As a children’s book writer, I ask that you celebrate World Read Aloud Day on 6 March 2013.

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

As a young girl, I can never remember my father without at least a book or newspaper – often both – in his hands. He would read to us, tell us stories and sing songs each night as he put us to bed with my mother.  He encouraged my brother and I to visit the library each week, and we were given a free reign to choose any book to take home to read. He allowed us to select our favourite comics at the newsagent, and set up a regular home delivery each week, so that we did not miss out on our favourite stories or pop-world gossip.  This style of reading was fun – it was different from the forced reading we had to do at school, and yes, this approach assisted me to love reading.

That’s why I was so keen that I would follow my father’s example and ensure my kids took up his love – to read books. As soon as they could hold anything, I thrust black and white board books into their hands. I followed this up with the full range of wonderful look and feel books that exist, and ensured that they were read to each night. Now to my delight, they love books as much as my husband and I and of course, their late Grandad.

March 6th would have been my father’s 76th birthday.  I think he would love to know that his birth date has been chosen as World Read Aloud Day.

A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give to any child – take a moment to determine how you can pass on this wonderful gift to children in your life.

Take action for the Global Literacy Movement!

Please link to the site below if you are interested in launching a LitClub in your community: for Girls or Boys, or for Mothers.

If you would like to register for World Read Aloud Day, coming up on March 6, 2013, click here.

- See more at: http://litworld.org/actnow/#sthash.f6PXMZbF.dpuf

“Together we can change the world, story by story.”




From Small Cells to Big Data – 5 mobile trends from GSMA Barcelona Mobile World Congress 2013

5 03 2013

My Global Event Reports warmly welcomes Rich Arthur, blogger and technology guru in his spare time; when he is working, he heads a telecom software and service group in HP.   Here he offers a whirlwind review on the fascinating themes and trends at this years’ Mobile World Congress.

Monday back in the office after the furor of Mobile World Congress feels like the calm after the storm.  More than 70,000 people attended the show and I’m pretty sure they were all waiting for a taxi Monday night at 8pm outside hall 8.     Picking through the main themes washed ashore in the cyclone of MWC news, sessions and exhibition activity, I extracted my top five themes.

For a more general take, have a look at my “taster” video (below) of what caught my eye visually at the show.  Think of it as Tapas before the dinner below.

Looking at the conference program, it was interesting to note that the top exhibition and announcement themes were not particularly aligned with the conference.  Conference topics revolved more around operator strategies and services whereas show floor topics were generally more concrete (pun intended) featuring network infrastructure, devices and apps.  What follows is a mix of the two.

Devices

Increasingly Mobile World Congress show floor is all about devices and their accessories.    The GSMA provided gadget hounds a preview with their Sunday press day.  Samsung’s Note 8, described as “almost hilariously huge” by the Huffington post, some new Firefox OS devices and HP’s own Android Slate 7 were among those making the news by Monday morning.  Tens of devices had been announced by the week’s end and booths were crammed with odd sight of video crews with their large cameras and bulky lighting equipment bearing down on small colorful handsets. “Here we have located the Sony Xperia  Z in its native habitat”.

Smaller, cheaper, lighter, faster, larger – devices are moving in all different directions at the moment although rectangular seems to be the design thread.   The tyranny of the touch screen glass looks to have eliminated competing form factors for the moment. Innovations seem incremental as opposed to game-changing.

Device OS

Seems new Device Operating systems were back in the news despite the launches of Windows 8 and Blackberry 10 over the last few months.   Industry debate continues to rage about which OS can take on the IOS and Android duopoly.    Two new operating systems were all over the show this year, with Mozilla’s Firefox OS garnering the most discussion.    This and Tizen, along with some others, such as Ubuntu and Jolla, were mostly touted as supporting the push for the next wave of low cost smartphones.

Mozilla announced that 17 operators were committed to its “open web initiative”, and devices were shown on multiple stands including Mozilla’s own, where the ZTE Firefox OS device was demonstrated.    Operators like the openness of the platform, which is HTML5 based, and Mozilla overall, which is a non-profit organization “dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands.”

Tizen was also in the news, this Intel and Samsung operating system is also Linux based and has the backing of the new king of the mobile smartphone castle, Samsung, who seems to have committed to roll their own Badu operating system into it.  However Tizen devices appear to be behind Firefox in terms of commercial availability.

Fira de Barcelona - Home to Mobile World Congress

Fira de Barcelona – Home to Mobile World Congress

Small Cells

There was big news in Small Cells with many announcements and many vendors presenting both indoor and outdoor small cell solutions designed to support both enterprise and consumer demands.   There was some debate over whether Femtocells (the small devices often used at home to provide better indoor coverage and which are managed in a very limited way), are really Small Cell devices versus other Small cell approaches which are more like mini-base stations.

As is often the case an industry group rides to rescue with a set of definitions and deployment guides – in this case the “Small Cell Forum”.

M2M and Cloud

Machine to Machine and Cloud continue as two major areas of interest.    On the cloud side debate continued around the business case for cloud for mobile operators and case studies.  For M2M, the connected car drove the discussion, with the Vice Chairman from GM taking the stage to proclaim “the car is now a device”.  Ford meanwhile showed Ford Ecosport connectivity. See a related blog on our site.   M2M verticals were much discussed, including healthcare, transport and smart city/home.  HP featured our own M2M and cloud service platforms for telecom operators.

Big Data Analytics

What the IT industry is calling big data and analytics, is often couched under the term Customer Experience Management (CEM) in the Mobile industry.   This topic was broadly addressed in the conference program and in the show.   Business opportunities from big data, as well as the tie in to CEM and Quality of Experience, were discussed.  The recently announced HP Telecom Big Data and Analytics solution, including our own HP Customer Experience Assurance solution was featured on our booth.

Good opportunities for IT vendors are available as the mobile industry invests in another round of what we used to call Business analytics, but this time including high velocity (real time) and unstructured data as well as traditional structured “off-line” data.   Unstructured data includes e-mails, social media, phone calls and video.

Other areas

There was surprisingly little discussion on Enterprise Mobility as a topic on its own, considering the huge opportunity this represents for operators.  As enterprises mobilize their workforces and grapple with employees more and more bringing their own devices to the company (BYOD), opportunities abound for mobile operators to support the process such as – mobile device management, enterprise mobility platforms, hosting of enterprise applications, and cloud services replacing enterprise apps.

HP is starting a “Mobility 2020” vision collaboration which debuted at MWC, following on from our successful Enterprise 2020 work.    Some initial scenarios are described here.

To support more efficient mobility, HP announced our own Integrated Home Subscriber Server (HSS) to help MNOs provide seamless access to heterogeneous networks.     As MNOs integrate Wi-Fi and LTE into their networks, the IHSS offers a seamless experience for mobile network users.

In previous years, app stores have been big news at MWC.  While apps were again very present, especially in the App Lounge area around hall 8, specific apps and app stores were not the major news they have been.

Rich ArthurSee you next year

My personal view is that the show has almost completely moved away from its roots as a pure mobile network operator and supplier show, to a much more general mobility show, embracing enterprise and consumer needs and the broad spectrum of internet players who are now increasingly dependent on mobile.     This is reflective of the fact that mobility is no longer an add-on to existing consumer and business services and business processes, but is rather at the core them.    Facebook already counts more usage via mobile than fixed and eBay did more than $10B in mobile commerce revenue in 2012, representing more than half of their total.

It’s a tumultuous mobile world, and an exciting time to be part of it!








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