Archive for October, 2011

Digital World Perspectives from a Week in Chicago

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Chicago may not be the center of the digital world but it can be a great place to find new perspectives!

This week I attended 4G World 2011, a four-day conference and expo that brought together an ecosystem of high tech vendors to talk about LTE – the technology that delivers 4G service to 33 networks in 23 countries, including Verizon, AT&T and Metro PCS in the US. This year’s conference was dominated by presentations highlighting the phenomenal growth in video and data traffic which is driving significant investments in spectrum and network equipment to deliver blazing mobile speeds anywhere that consumers go.                        

Optimism

There was a marked sense of industry optimism as the initial 4G deployments are delivering faster than the anticipated growth in consumer uptake, and technical and operational challenges related to the network and devices are being accommodated with the expectation of exponential growth over the next 4 to 5 years.

Legacy

At 4G World, multiple tributes were made to the legacy left to the industry by Steve Job’s introduction of the iPhone. Ironically, his greatest legacy may not be the device itself but the tsunami of data that his devices unleashed on the mobile networks of the world. Data traffic via mobile networks has increased 4,500 times in the last 13 years and in the last 4 years iPhone users have driven video to over 50% of traffic; it is predicted by Nokia Siemens Networks that this traffic will increase 1,000 times by the year 2020. It was also recognized by the CTO of Clearwire that every prediction on data capacity has been underestimated. Steve Job’s legacy has resulted in the acceleration and major rethinking of the architectures that enable the transport of this data, including the offloading of data from cellular networks to Wi-Fi, the introduction of small cells and the acceleration of LTE technology.

Faith and Trust

This week I heard Gillian Tett,USmanaging editor of the Financial Times, speak at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs about the current crisis inEurope. She identified that faith and trust are at the core of economic, financial, social and political systems; that the European crisis is part of a broader global problem of blind faith in financial alchemy where the following pillars have been consistently eroded and have failed:

  • rating agencies
  • securitization
  • banks’ balance sheets
  • models of valuation
  • regulators
  • the ability of government to secure and protect the system

Resulting from this, Tett noted there has been a shift in market psychology, collapsing of time horizons, credit markets that lack credit and a lack of trust in cyber trading. She pointed out that once this trust is lost it is very difficult to restore it. To compound this, Tett believes that in a world of instant communications and social media a dangerous situation is occurring, that of an accelerating cycle of uncertainty around these global systems.

Perspectives

It was interesting to hear two very different perspectives of the future, especially since both are significantly intertwined. Over the last 30 years, the growth and convergence of the information, computing and telecommunications (ICT) industries have contributed to a seven times increase in global GDP and facilitated not only globalization but also the connection of almost half the planet to information and communications. ICT industries contribute more than 2% of the global GDP, with Apple last year gaining the title of most valuable company in the world.

Men of ideas and vision, such as Steve Jobs, coupled with technology and science have the ability to create significant changes to the world we live in and to the wealth that we enjoy. ICT industries, however, are causing fundamental structural shifts in the way that traditional industries, societies and even politics behave. The structural shifts can be traumatic for those affected, as witnessed not only by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement taking place globally but also by the apparent inability of political leaders to find the answers to the resulting economic, financial and social problems. Converged technologies and social media are now enabling the so called 99% to stay as informed as the 1% while at the same time providing the mechanism for the 1% to more effectively engage, interact and tap into the collective knowledge and expectations of the people.

Connecting the Dots

We can all choose what to believe. If we recognize that change is ongoing, even if we don’t understand the change, with hindsight and a little insight it’s possible to take an optimistic path which will help to establish and rebuild our faith and trust in the emerging system. As Steve Jobs said: “Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference”. If politicians were to adopt this mindset, it might give them faith to tackle the global crisis and address the concern expressed by Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Eurogroup: “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it”.

At KeySo Global we are advisors and consultants about the impact of digital technology on society, business and individuals. Please contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC

Galvin & Jobs: Great “Men of Ideas”

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Article first published as Galvin & Jobs: Great “Men of Ideas” on Technorati.

The onset of autumn has brought the passing of two significant individuals who have shaped what the Economist refers to as “the era of personal technology”.

Since October 5 the media have been swamped with eulogies to Steve Jobs and coverage of memorials set up outside Apple stores by devoted followers. Without doubt, Steve Jobs possessed the unparalleled ability to combine design and technology, and infuse this with the emotive spark that consumers can relate to. He was highly skilled at identifying the right design for the right technology at the right time. Very rarely, however, did the products he introduced push the limits of the technology curve. His passion did not lie in the pursuit of leading edge technology or in the next great breakthrough but instead in the creation of user centered elegant and simplistic devices that slip into everyday life.

October 11 saw the passing of Robert Galvin, better known as Bob Galvin. Bob was long time CEO of Motorola and son of the founder, Paul Galvin. During his tenure, Motorola became an early pioneer in semiconductors, paging and cellular communications. These major milestone technologies required incredible foresight and the tenacity to overcome the challenges of long development cycles and innumerable roadblocks. Bob’s inspiration and commitment resulted in Motorola not only becoming a global player in these industries by delivering multiple breakthrough products but, more importantly, creating a wealth of knowledge and experience that has moved across the industry and the globe.

The life work of each of these men enabled the dawn of an exciting new era. Over the last 30 years computing, telephony, entertainment and consumer electronics have been on a converging path, and many recent landmark products and technology innovations were the result of the vision held by these two remarkable individuals. Their lasting legacies within Apple and Motorola will continue to exist as questions:  “What would Steve do?” and “What would Bob do?” The challenge for the next millennium is to build on these legacies; corporate leaders, employees and new entrants in all industries need to ask themselves “how do we take ideas and make them relevant to the consumer?” and “how do we turn ideas into the technology to make them possible?”

It’s sometimes hard to believe that innovation and growth can survive the turmoil of the current economic climate or that creative solutions can be found for the world’s problems. Statistics show, however, the world’s GDP has actually increased 7 fold over the past 30 years and it’s my belief that these two “men of ideas” were key contributors to this growth. Both were highly innovative and successful men who never lost touch with reality. Most significantly, they both had faith in the power of ideation to generate a sense of optimism for the future. May they now rest in peace.

At KeySo Global we are advisors and consultants about the impact of digital technology on society, business and individuals. Please contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC

In the Digital World which comes first: the Chicken or the Egg?

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Do you hesitate to hire new employees because you fear the economy hasn’t truly recovered yet? Do you anxiously watch for signs of recovery in the form of bank lending, government compromise towards growth, and a future of hope?

I do, with one tiny exception. I believe in our future, now.

As a consumer, I spend more than I probably should but I will not be handcuffed. As a professional, I provide pro-bono services to those people and those companies that I have faith in and that I see are doing the right and wise things to help their customers, their community, and their country. As a person, I give trust up front and only withdraw it when that trust proves false. But I am not afraid to trust in the new – new friends, new business contacts, new ideas, or new opportunities.

Do we wait for the chicken to lay the proverbial golden egg? Or are we waiting for the egg to hatch before we decide to act? In other words are we waiting for everything to get better before we start to invest again, to hire again, to loan again, to spend on goods again? I believe that the waiting’s over and that we should be saying “enough is enough”, taking the bull by the horns and doing something now to jumpstart the change towards recovery and growth that we’ve all been waiting on.

For those who aren’t constrained by necessity to eat “hand to mouth” with their pay checks or unemployment checks, let us stop hoarding money and spend, let us hire to provide jobs for those who want to work, let us lend to those who are dedicated to providing. Most of all let us stop waiting for others to take the initiative to improve our lives for us – let us act now!

At KeySo Global, we are excited about the technological and digital world changes that are affecting our lives but at the same time we are witnessing a new perspective from those people who don’t share our passion. What used to be viewed with hope – the space program, landing on the moon; unrivalled production of the best cars and equipment; an almost euphoric emphasis on innovation and creativity – is now viewed with apprehension.

And that is something that concerns me, both personally and professionally. We have forgotten how to embrace change, and welcome it for being new and different. We have forgotten that we really want hope to remain within arm’s reach and not vanish over a distant horizon. We have forgotten how to be optimistic.

Lending is about trust and optimism, not money. Compromise is about progress and opportunity, not position. Hope is for everyone, not for just a few. It is the essence of the American dream. As Helen Keller said “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.

I have hope and I understand that we are part of an exciting new digital world where we have two choices. We can either embrace the changes and challenges that new technology brings, and take advantage of the opportunities it offers for growth and prosperity. Or we can ignore these totally, carry on as before and allow the optimism we had to disappear into obscurity.

So it doesn’t matter whether the chicken or the egg came first. What matters is how and when we react to the rapidly evolving world we live in.

To learn how you can leverage the opportunities afforded by the Digital World to help you succeed and make it a better place for us and future generations to live in, please contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Benton, Principal, KeySo Global, LLC

Protect your Digital Footprint and zip up your Privacy Settings

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

I recently had the enjoyable task of giving the father-of-the-bride speech at my daughter’s wedding. This is a challenging project for any father trying to blend humor with touching moments of emotional significance from his daughter’s childhood and wrapping up with words of wisdom for the happy couple.

Check your zipper

During my preparation for this speech I looked to the Internet for guidance. One of the more comical pieces of advice was labeled “The ABC of Giving a Public Speech”, which concluded by saying that the XYZ aspect – being confident about your speech – is the most critical. In this instance, XYZ stands for “check your zipper!” Nobody wants to be standing in front of an audience, unaware of their embarrassment, and having attention diverted to the wrong area!

The new Facebook

You may ask what this has to do with social media. At the recent F8 Developers Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced significant changes to Facebook. One of these is the introduction of “frictionless sharing” which more closely integrates applications from media companies and enables personal actions such as reading an article, listening to music or watching a movie to be transmitted to all ones’ friends, providing the user has granted prior permission.

Serendipitous sharing

This “frictionless sharing” is designed to encourage “real-time serendipity” by removing the extra step requirement to manually “Like, Share or Comment” on content, which tends to inhibit interaction. The technical framework for apps has been changed within Facebook so that, rather than requiring you to click to share, the app automatically posts your status update. 

As you install each app, you can grant permission for it to update your timeline. At this stage you’ll need to carefully consider the transparency of the information you’re sharing, how your timeline will be updated and why it may be beneficial for you to opt in.

You, as a sponsored story

Provided a user hasn’t “opted out”, anything they listen to or watch can be openly promoted by Facebook partner companies, such as Spotify or Netflix, as if the user had clicked “like” and endorsed it themselves. Additionally, advertisers can identify individual Facebook users, and their activities and endorsements may be used in sponsored stories to recommend a product to their friends.

As a result of this evolved social media, tighter management of privacy settings for online profiles has now become imperative. Users need to understand what these privacy controls mean in terms of what content can be can shared and with whom, as all actions now constitute the users living online profile or “digital footprint”. The already complex overlap between our public and private lives is set to become even more blurred with these changes as almost everything posted on the web is now becoming public knowledge.

Privacy education

Very soon privacy education will have to be incorporated into school curricula. It should most definitely become a part of everyday dialogue between parents and their children, and in many cases the onus will be on the kids to educate the parents!

Already teachers, police officers and other public employees have to be mindful about the pictures and comments they post for fear of repercussions. A recent example of this is a picture that was posted on Facebook of a teacher drinking wine during her summer vacation in Paris and returning home to find out that parents had seen it and objected, which lead to her dismissal.

Don’t forget to zip up your privacy settings

In future, the anecdotes you choose for your father-of-the-bride speech may well be those poignant and, most likely, edited moments from your daughter’s Facebook timeline. If you’re tempted to get a laugh by including a few more embarrassing snippets that you sourced elsewhere – don’t! The guest who kindly videos your speech on their smartphone and posts it on Facebook may just set in motion a train wreck for your daughter’s carefully groomed digital footprint!

At KeySo Global we are advisors and consultants about the impact of digital technology on society, business and individuals. If you’re interested in acquiring a better understanding of the implications of and applications for your corporate or personal digital footprint, please contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global