Mobile technology is like the shell game. The objective of the game is to guess which of three shells a ball is placed under as they are moved around quickly. The better the operator is and the longer the game goes on, the harder it is to keep up. Mobile technology sometimes feels this way to me. Just when I think I understand what it is and where it is going…it changes, and leading-edge companies are changing with it in order to break away from the pack.
Mobile World Congress was held a week ago in Barcelona and during the four-day conference, companies introduced new hardware, software, partnerships and innovations. The most intriguing were the new innovations. Wearables and IoT were in the forefront of the innovations across industries. From a network standpoint, the challenge of IoT is the diverse range of use cases – from low-cost, low-power (sensors) to high-throughput, low-latency applications (autonomous vehicles). There is a goldmine of opportunity in the data from these devices, and companies recognize that.
It is forecasted that more than 20 billion “things” worldwide will be connected by 2020, and as many as 100 billion in 2025. Beyond the networking challenges, the largest overall IoT challenge is to make sense of the data. The term big data should be renamed “huge data.” Once the IoT hits the main stream, understanding what data to use and what data to ignore will be essential. Knowing how to use the data to create new and better customer experiences, develop new services and drive company revenue will be the key to differentiating yourself from the competition.
- IoT will connect many of the devices we have in our homes, from smart garage doors to smart thermostats to smart refrigerators. Companies like Google and Samsung understand this. Google bought smart thermostat maker Nest Labs, and Samsung purchased connected home company Smart Things. In the food and beverage industry, having a connected kitchen could save as much as 15 percent annually.
- Ford is reinventing themselves into an automotive and mobility company. In 2015, Ford owned a small percentage of the total transportation market (approximately 6 percent). In order to expand, they rolled out the Ford Smart Mobility program. This program combines autonomous vehicles with data analytics to provide the ultimate customer experience through innovation centers and loyalty programs.
- Vuzix developed a pair of smart glasses that enables precise positioning down to the millimeter in the transportation industry. During the airline cabin installation marking process, operators designate exact location where seats and cabin furnishings should be affixed inside the aircraft. According to a presentation by Lance Anderson, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Vuzix, this innovation has helped reduce the time spent per aircraft on marketing operations by 85 percent, and dropped the error rate to virtually zero.
So the shell game continues in the mobile space. Mobile is moving at the speed of life. The challenge to support billions of highly connected devices, understand the critical data from these highly connected devices and create net new services for consumers that they haven’t even thought of yet are the end games. There will be winners, and there will be losers in this game…You just have to keep your eye on the shells, no matter how fast they are moving.
Check out this research study from the IBM Center for Applied Insights to learn more about making your next mobile development project a success.