Archive for February, 2012

MWC 2012 Barcelona – What a Difference 20 Years Can Make!

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Article first published as MWC 2012 Barcelona: What a Difference 20 years Can Make! on Technorati.

This coming week is Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain where more than 60,000 mobile industry experts will gather to share the latest and greatest in mobile technology. This event is both a showcase for the industry and also a soapbox for luminaries. It also demonstrates how far the industry has come from the early days of a conference in Cannes, France where technologists, engineers and management from fledgling GSM mobile operators got together to talk about increasing penetration and getting manufacturers to develop low-cost portable handsets. In fact GSM was dubbed “God Send Mobiles”, so desperate was the industry!

What a difference 20 years can make. The first ever text message (SMS) was sent in 1992 and now we send more than 7 trillion a year on a global basis. Ahead of the show, comScore released a report “2012 mobile future in focus” that shows that smartphone penetration in the UK and Spain has achieved over 50% and that more than 48.4 million consumers access social media in Europe utilizing mobile phones; this represents an increase of over 76% since last year. Media and industry analysts are having their inboxes swamped with pre-show press releases about new developments covering everything from blisteringly fast chip sets and infrastructure to offload systems, 5G Wi-Fi and mobile payments, as well as a plethora of new mobile devices. ZTE will be reportedly announcing 8 new devices, prompting gizmodo.com to point out that “less is more” and that launching 8 devices isn’t impressive but actually indecisive!

It’s been quite a journey from the pre-mobile era and yet some things never change. The first ever roaming arrangement was signed in 1992 between Vodafone of the UK and Telecom Finland. In the early days of GSM, the cost of roaming calls made outside of your home country was astronomical. Over time the cost has come down, although not that significantly. Now, with the growth of smartphones, the issue has become the cost of data roaming. I use T-Mobile in the US, for example, which doesn’t offer a comparable data roaming package as, say, AT&T. With AT&T you can buy a 50 megabytes package for $25 while roaming but with T-Mobile those same 50 megabytes will cost you a staggering $750.  I guess I’ll be buying a prepaid SIM while inBarcelona …. or using Wi-Fi!

As key trends and news emerge in Barcelona this week that will be impacting your digital life in the near future, we shall keep you informed.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

We are All Digital Technologists by Osmosis

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Do you feel overwhelmed every time you read about the introduction of new technologies? Do you hear how they’re going to be having a dramatic effect on the way you do business in the future, and panic? You don’t need to fear the coming evolution because the chances are that you’re already a technology expert and actually quite adept at adjusting -although you may not know it!

Technologists with hindsight

Most of us have become digital technologists by “osmosis”. In other words, if we look back dispassionately over the past 30 years, with the benefit of hindsight we can see just how much our life styles have been changed inordinately with the advent of digital technologies. We have a natural inclination to think of ourselves as novices where new technology is concerned. Yet if we step back and look at the way that we’ve embraced and adapted to the changes introduced to us over the decades, we should give ourselves more credit. We have “absorbed” these new technologies and have every reason to be confident about taking advantage of the opportunities they bring for our professional and everyday lives.

At KeySo Global we help our clients recognize that they are far more technology savvy than they realize! We point to the analogy of the frog in a pot: the premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out. If it’s placed in cold water that is slowly heated, however, it will not perceive the surrounding danger and will be cooked to death. In other words, we’re not always cognizant of the fact that we’ve been slowly adapting to the digital world changes occurring around us; we need to become more aware of these changes, and have the confidence to embrace them and incorporate them into our personal and business lives.

Four technologies that rocked our world

In order to put things into perspective, consider four major technology developments in the 1980’s that significantly changed the way we live and work today:  the personal computer; the cellphone; the establishment of a global Internet and the creation of the Sony Walkman. While the impact of the first three may be obvious, the Walkman was the device that pioneered the way for people to access personalized portable entertainment, anywhere and at anytime.

The 1980’s introduced these new technologies and the 1990’s brought about their integration into society. For example, GSM cellphone technology allowed people to roam the world, the development of the World Wide Web and Internet browsers allowed people to access information, and the creation of TiVo gave people the ability to time-shift entertainment. All of these brought technology into the mainstream. Add to these the development of the iPod and iPhone and the rise of social networking in the 2000’s, and it’s clear to see how these technologies have permeated our society and culture, and just how well we’ve all adapted to the changes they’ve brought about.

Convergence opens new opportunities

We believe 2010 was a transitional year that saw the convergence of 3G & 4G technologies with cloud computing, social media, and Wi-Fi. The evolution of smartphones and the introduction of touch screen tablets has built on this convergence and enabled a faster, easier and more compelling interactive consumer experience. Social media in turn is leveraging this interactive access to the mobile network, and uses location and context data to provide personalization of services and information, with particular focus on retail opportunities.

The confluence of technologies and services is changing the way consumers live and work. It is also generating an ecosystem of companies that are creating applications and services which are stimulating the economy locally, nationally and globally. In a recent study it was estimated that 450,000 jobs had been created by companies developing apps.

Shifting business models

Mobility, Internet and computing capable devices are not only impacting their users but also the way in which companies interact with their customers. As a result, large and small companies need to recognize that the business models of their industries, relatively static for many years, are changing around them even if they haven’t yet started to adjust their own. Our advice to any CEO or small business owner is the same: open your eyes and look around; observe the opportunities that technology is now enabling and identify how you could apply these same technologies to enhance your company’s customer offering and business performance.

There is a plethora of opportunities out there to enhance your business model. If you need help identifying these opportunities, we at KeySo Global are here to help and can show you how they can be applied. Contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Convergence Trends and Innovation at CES 2012

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

A shorter article on this subject was first published as Convergence Trends and Innovation at CES 2012 on Technorati.

The Consumer Electronics Show 2012 statistics (153,000 attendees, 34,000 international attendees, 3,100 exhibitors, 1.86 million square feet of exhibit space, and 20,000 new products) give an indication of the scale and diversity of attendance but give no color to the reality of convergence that will occur between Digital World technologies and the digital lives of consumers over the next 12 to 18 months. In the next couple of paragraphs I’ve highlighted some of the exciting convergence trends that we see emerging.

Interactive Gestures in the Living Room

TV’s seem to be getting bigger and thinner with brighter 3D Hi Def capability that in some cases requires no glasses. If you can see beyond the existing concept of the TV, you realize that the center of the living room is becoming internet connected and consequently smarter in its ability to offer a variety of interactive services to augment viewing. This increased smartness requires new paradigms for interaction with other devices and sources of information, media and preferences. Thisrequirement to share is being enhanced by the increasing use of Wi-Fi Direct in multiple devices finding their way on to the living room couch. Interestingly, the world of gaming has provided the consumer electronics industry with new perspectives of how to interact with couch surfers and their devices via gestures. Think iPhone type scrolling, pinching point and zoom capability but with hand gestures to enable scrolling through TV guides to select, explore and expand videos or TV programs.

Digital Interactive Cockpits

One really interesting demonstration was a see-through LCD TV where you could see a static bowl of fruit behind the screen as TV/video images appeared on the screen. Where could this innovation lead?  Ford, Mercedes and Kia were showing the way in which new display technology and processing power will enhance the dashboard. Although it was not found at this year’s CES, the concept of a clear LCD windscreen can’t be that far off! This coupled with gesture capability being demonstrated by Mercedes and other enhanced augmented display technologies, will revolutionize the way vehicles are controlled. The real challenge that the automotive industry faces is adapting the rapid cycle of development of ICT technology into their traditional 7 year product development cycles.

Connected Medicine

The medical world is also on the verge of experiencing the power of connectivity in the form of devices, apps and cloud solutions that monitor everything from diet to diabetes to heart rate with full ECG capability built into phones. Again, the rapid pace of technology development is struggling against bureaucratic approval processes and the ability of the existing health care industry to adjust procedures and personnel to adapt and handle the opportunities that these new solutions deliver. Imagine a scenario where monitoring devices are given away to people for free as part of their health plan, with the revenue being generated from the monitoring services. The opportunity to reduce hospital visits and enhance health regimes that elevate overall health levels benefits everyone but requires structural and procedure shifts to accommodate the change.

Device Proliferation Drives Differentiation

The explosion in smartphone and tablet devices with common operating systems (Android & IOS) and brilliant high resolution screen technologies and interfaces have enabled much of the convergence technology above. Sony, for example, demonstrated their new 2 screen tablet that closes like a clam shell and which has an on screen keyboard. As usual CES did not disappoint with multiple devices being announced that continue a trend of increased thinness, lighter weight, solid state memory, and more powerful processors than were in PC’s only a year or so ago. These are seemingly available from an ever increasing number of Chinese and Asian vendors, undoubtedly increasing price pressure as they all struggle to differentiate themselves.

Differentiation is difficult but a small (Fujitsu & Toshiba) number of vendors at the show are producing waterproof phones and tablets. Equally, vendors are exploring the space between tablets and smartphone’s in the 5 inch screen category. Samsung was hyping the note with their “S Pen” where artists drew caricatures on the screen that were then printed and displayed. The introduction of natural interfaces such as drawing, voice recognition, touch and gesture will most definitely enhance our ability to better utilize the devices and incorporate them in to our lives.

Dolby & Video Chat

From a technology perspective, 5.1 Dolby quality sound was demonstrated by Qualcomm who emphasize that the processing power of their chipsets now enable HD sound processed from 5 microphones on the device. Amateur video will never be the same again! Equally, the use of 5 microphones also means that noise cancelling and filtering will in the future allow much clearer video chat in areas of high ambient noise.

Redefining Human Interactivity

This is just a snapshot of some of the convergence trends and innovative thinking on display at this year’s CES, prompted by the availability and accessibility of a wide variety of new Digital Life technologies. As one final thought for consideration, Ericsson demonstrated how the human body can be used as a conductor for transferring data from one device to another. With one touch of your smartphone, you can transfer the video that you just took directly onto your TV. With the advent of the Internet of Things, the concept of the human body as a node within the net and a transfer mechanism for data means the Digital World is fast becoming the truly interactive place we knew it would be!

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC

www.keysoglobal.com