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The "Key" to M2M


After the demise of my wife’s last car (shot transmission at 99,800 miles - sad but true) – we purchased a new Toyota Highlander Hybrid.   Aside from the very cool hybrid technology which provides for silent driving, my favorite part of the car is its key.Wireless Key

The key mechanism on the Highlander is completely wireless.   With the key in your pocket, walk up to your locked car, put your hand on the handle, and then open.   Sit down in the car, press the start button, and voila - the car springs to life.   I find this key to be a great example of rethinking a function that we all take for granted – for the better.  

BUT … There is always a but … 

I really don’t want an additional wireless gizmo to carry around.   The “real key” in my life is now my smart phone.   I get into the same car and magically my phone pairs with the car and enables hands free phoning.   I can browse my address book, place and receive phone calls, with no additional steps.   

The key unfortunately reminds me of a car I purchased in 2002 that came with its own phone.   The car integrated beautifully with that phone – unfortunately, that phone was horrible and was years behind what I was already using.   I ended up with two phones, neither of which gave me the experience for which I was actually looking. 

Consider this: have you ever misplaced your keys?   I personally have left them in every corner of my house.   I have washed them, thrown them away, chilled them, locked them in the car & even jumped into the ocean with them – you name it, I’ve done it.  I am willing to say that in the grand scheme of things,  the amount of time that I have spend hunting for the various keys in my life  is dramatically worse than the inconvenience that I have experienced by not being able to use my car phone.   

What I would really like is to nix the key and replace it with my smart phone.  I already know that my phone can talk to the car – why can’t it do just a little more? 

Furthermore, I can now grant access to my car for other phones in my family – no more $300 keys!   If a phone gets lost or stolen - I’ll disable it.   I can’t do that with the hardware key.   Let’s take it one more step … Let’s imagine that my car is wirelessly enabled – now I can use my phone to start and heat up the car without going outside. All the administration associated with my keys I’ll do in the cloud.   In short - no more key chains - just my phone …

Now if you take this to the next level, think about all of the things that we carry around today that could and should be replaced with my smart phone.

  • Loyalty cards
  • Credit Cards
  • Garage door openers
  • TV, DVD, Cable remote controls
  • Pictures 

Frankly, anything in my wallet could and should be replaced by my smart phone.  I see a future where there are no more wallets, no purses, no keys, no cash, no change …  Paul Jacobs, the CEO of Qualcomm, calls the phone the remote control for our lives.   If I can use this remote to spend less time searching for the way to start my car in the morning – I’m all in!

2 Billion New Voices!


Live from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona …

2  Billion New Voices!

I was blown away by a comment that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, made in his keynote yesterday at Mobile World Congress.   Eric said “Over two billion new people will join the Internet in the next two years” … He went on to add (this one I’m paraphrasing) “think about the possibilities - two billion new voices that have never been part of the conversation:  What will they say?   What will they contribute?   How will the planet change through their participation?”

I found this thought amazingly exciting.  Think about it … through the mobile Internet, people living in areas without modern facilities, sewers, roads, and even schools will have the opportunity to access a world of information.   They will have an opportunity to have their voices heard.   They will be hard to ignore!  Will people rise up and change their condition …  think Egypt …  

I was traveling in India a couple of years ago and I remember seeing a young child standing in an alley - just watching the traffic go by.   The child was school age, but was not attending school.   The look on his face – hopeless…   kid

I’m excited to think that Eric’s comment could help bring a world of information to that young child.   What will that child have to say?   Could he be the next Gandhi?   The next Einstein?   A diamond in the rough just needing an opportunity to shine?

Improving the human condition - this is the real value and purpose of the Internet.   I for one – want to hear what that child has to say!


Live from Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, Spain


Live from Mobile World Congress … 

Topic of today’s session: “Biggest hurdle in the transition to the mobile cloud – User Trust (59%)”

OK, I am blown away by Fabrizio Capobianco, President of Funambol’s opening statement. Remember that this is a cloud forum, but, and I quote, “I will not put my baby pictures on the cloud because I don’t want someone to make money on me.” It was an ultrasound picture.

Did someone just drop me onto Mars? Do people really worry about this? Perhaps it is because many of us are in Cloud Central in the U.S. and we understand the benefits of having places to share our photos, movies, and activities with our loved ones and friends. For that value, we are willing to sacrifice some level of control on our personal activity to fund the very services that we utilize. Hmmmm…

OK, now Huawei is talking about clouds. David Bernstein is observing that we have many clouds, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, plus many, many more. David notes that consumers want only one cloud—not many. He is drawing the analogy that having multiple clouds is equivalent to the days when CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online were alive. The general consensus is that new protocols are needed to enable cloud interoperability. Hmmm…I’m thinking that Web Services (RESTful with JSON for you techies in the audience) is the answer to this. Wow! A lot of people are working on this problem, but is it really a problem? There are hungry people out there, guys.

OK, moving onto Microsoft and Richard Ang, CTO of the Communications Sector. Richard is talking about the cloud trends that we would be familiar with in the U.S. One phrase of his that I like is “Digital Turns Social.”  Sharing our information is only the first step. The consumption of that information by others creates a social context. Ultimately, it is the social experience that is overpowering all our other fears, particularly privacy.

OK, I’m off to Google. Stay tuned for more posts…

We Have Seen the Light – and its Name is CLOUD!


Microsoft Pickets at Cloudforce

It made me think!   Why is Microsoft picketing  Could it be that they don’t like what the cloud is doing to their business?  Could it be that cloud computing will demolish IT as we know it?   Could it be that Microsoft has figured out that they are a dinosaur?   Hmmm…

Today millions of people and an entire ecosystem of companies selling billions of dollars worth of goods are involved in an activity that history will paint as the rough equivalent to “sticking a needle in your eye.”  

 Picture this:

  • You allocate a significant percentage of your people and dollars and have them work on things that are out of your core competency
  • Once you have done that, start buying parts that you have to put together, operate, and be totally responsible for
  • And for the cherry on the top – you will have to pay the companies that sold you the bag of parts just to pick up the phone when you call

Sound like a good deal?

No way! Yet, I would say that is a fair description of the global IT market as it is today – and it’s painful!      

Benefit can be derived, but high costs, risks, and distractions to your core business are CRAZY OUT OF CONTROL!

The way I look at it, IT in its current incarnation is going the way of the dodo bird.   The global pervasive network called the Internet allows us to consume our IT in a better way – hosted and operated in the cloud by companies who make it their business to do it well.  And the best part, if you don’t like it, you change.   No bag of parts, no big capital expenditures to hold on to, no regrets.  You can even call them without having to pay something extra.   It’s all good.

Over the next 10 years – the “old” tech companies will either completely reinvent themselves or perish!   This is their buggy whip-to-automobile moment.   Cloud is it – it’s cheaper, better, and easier.   

So to Microsoft – I am sorry – we will not go back to the old ways.   We have seen the light – and its name is CLOUD!

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