The Future of Mobile Computing

Mobile BraceletMobile computing is at a cross-roads right now and is, again, on the cusp of another evolution. Dell is going private, and HP stock is down by double digits. With smart phones, tablets, and PC hybrids, something’s got to give. If you’re using a touch screen smart phone for public safety, all is well until you start exposing it to real emergency situations, including extreme climate, rapid inputs that jam up the operating system, and constant reboots and updates. None of these are perfect scenarios when lives are on the line. Not to mention, it is often difficult, in a lab, to simulate high stress conditions and the human behavioral interaction with the device under stress. You probably know what I mean. Think about your operating system not responding on your smart phone when you keep punching the icon again and again only to throw your phone into a tizzy and then have to hit the “power off”.Forget the touch screen. Enter next generation wearable computing. Thalmic Labs has come out with a gesture controlled armband which can read muscle impulses and recognize common arm and hand gestures. Myo is Thalmic Labs’ armband, which can, via Bluetooth, connect user devices and use gestures to interact with the computing device. A gesture algorithm was created by Thalmic through integrating common nervous system reactions in the arm and hand muscles and developing an algorithm of computer instruction. As smart phones and tablets get lost in the shuffle, computing will become more integrated with the human as wearable devices interacting with micro computing devices begin to get traction.
Copyright Trends Digest 2013 All Rights Reserved

Light Radio – A Disruptive Lightning Strike for the Telecom Industry

Light CubeFinally, we can welcome a disruptive event in telecom industry –the arrival of a tiny two inch cube that threatens to topple thousands of tacky old telecom towers. The proud creators are Alcatel Lucent and Bell Labs. It’s a welcomed event, particularly since these little cubes can be cobbled together to create the right infrastructure and bandwidth at a shockingly enormous power and cost savings, according to Alcatel Lucent. This is one of the more disruptive trends that we’ve spotted for awhile in the telecom industry. First of all, carriers are wrestling with significant issues, such as having operated at low or below cost for many consecutive years. They’re now forced to make a profit while simultaneously upgrading networks to 3G-4G/LTE. Not to mention, standards globally are still shaking out, and networks are in various forms of evolutionary adoption from 2G to 4G via WiMax, Cellular, satellite, and everything in between. Furthermore, phone companies are staring down the dark abyss of some key trends, such as market saturation and must develop novel ways to increase growth, while maintaining enormous capital costs for upgrading technologies. Particularly in the U.S., baby boomers may be high tech but, like we told you ten years ago, older boomers are not necessarily taking advantage of all of the features. In fact, 80% of older boomers are only using 20% of the features. For cellular providers growth is always a bit of a good news/bad news story. The good news is that as mobile users make their mobile device their primary computing device, unlimited applications continue to grow. The bad news is that mobile providers, already in a state of price sensitivity, are constantly dealing with the proposition of diminishing returns. Alca-Lu’s adorable little cubes, if they work as planned, are a global market disruptor of gargantuan proportions. Not only do they offer a huge power savings as well as a configurable capability to extrapolate the right bandwidth configuration, but they offer the potential for a broad array of new business models. What business models you might ask? Let’s think creatively for a moment. Maybe the wireless companies should focus on customer service and let a business partner expand operations and pick up the more nominal capital costs of testing and deployment. In fact, in terms of creativity, we have a long ways to go in the telecom market. Doing away with those cumbersome, awful looking towers eliminates a range of problems including environmental issues, OSHA issues, property leasing, and some more complicated aspects of power supplies. Now let’s talk about disruptions to the rest of the market if these cute little cubes manage to take off. First of all, the tower market will be tripping over its guy wires to survive. Line of sight technologies might remain tethered to a tower for awhile until bandwidth, spectrum, handset, and meshed networks can be resolved in the public safety arena. Do you really want to haul a tower around the Grand Canyon when you could just drop a cube in your backpack? There are some definite winners and losers in this space if light radio takes off. Tower manufacturers and O&M providers could be the big losers in this disruptive swing unless they can adapt to other segments. Also, this raises an important question about the roles that carriers want to have in the longer term. In the U.S. market where Uncle Sam has been footing the bill for getting broadband out to the boonies, lower cost of ownership and ease of access might offer new franchising opportunities or opportunities for smaller companies to make more localized investments. As long as the carriers ultimately get subscribership and can guarantee quality of service, who cares?

As a general trend, companies often don’t recognize disruptive trends outside of their own markets because they are too caught up in an industry-specific myopic vision of the future. Don’t worry, this happens to every industry. But as new models take hold, convergence offers significant multi-market advantages that will bring about new business models as service providers look outside of their own industries for opportunities and advantages to gain economies of scale. TD

The Future of Mobile Computing

Future ComputingMobile computing is at a cross-roads right now and is, again, on the cusp of another evolution. Dell is going private, and HP stock is down by double digits. With smart phones, tablets, and PC hybrids, something’s got to give. If you’re using a touch screen smart phone for public safety, all is well until you start exposing it to real emergency situations, including extreme climate, rapid inputs that jam up the operating system, and constant reboots and updates. None of these are perfect scenarios when lives are on the line. Not to mention, it is often difficult, in a lab, to simulate high stress conditions and the human behavioral interaction with the device under stress. You probably know what I mean. Think about your operating system not responding on your smart phone when you keep punching the icon again and again only to throw your phone into a tizzy and then have to hit the “power off”.Forget the touch screen. Enter next generation wearable computing. Thalmic Labs has come out with a gesture controlled armband which can read muscle impulses and recognize common arm and hand gestures. Myo is Thalmic Labs’ armband, which can, via Bluetooth, connect user devices and use gestures to interact with the computing device. A gesture algorithm was created by Thalmic through integrating common nervous system reactions in the arm and hand muscles and developing an algorithm of computer instruction. As smart phones and tablets get lost in the shuffle, computing will become more integrated with the human as wearable devices interacting with micro computing devices begin to get traction.
Copyright Trends Digest 2013 All Rights Reserved

“Big Data” for Small Organizations — Coming Soon…

landsat imageHave you heard the words “big data” tossed around like a football during Super Bowl season? The idea of “big data” is really about using powerful processing algorithms to link lots of disparate pieces of information and then string them all together into a big picture. Right now federal law enforcement agencies like DEA and the FBI have powerful databases and data mining toolsets that can link all sorts of data repositories, such as satellite images, vehicle ownership, federal, state, local, and many other data banks and create assumptions based on analytical associations. IBM has been on the forefront of this business for a long time and has spent many years developing semantic research and continually improving the art of data mining. Several very important technology trends are beginning to intersect that will change how, where, and how fast we can move data: 1) High performance computing speeds of processing power will soon be available to everyone via cloud computing; 2) Powerful data mining tools made to interact with high speed processing are moving at a fast clip; 3) Cognitive computing analytical tools (artificial intelligence that can think and make associations like a human) are one of the tech by-products of the War on Terror; 4) Advanced broadband that can stream data back to the end user is on its way via LTE; and 5) New business models that move software away from the “per server” model to hosted “per user” applications in the cloud will soon be the new norm. Many people watched the “intellect” of computing as IBM’s Watson, the computer, played Jeopardy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC3IryWr4c8

The marriage of big data with artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities has massive implications for public safety and society. Over the next decade, technologies will likely rapidly disseminate and enhance advanced data sharing among local, state, and federal public safety organizations as cost models continue to scale and broadband availability and cloud computing bring applications closer to the user. It’s going to be a very different world!

Copyright Trends Digest 2013 – All rights reserved

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