Guest Blog Post by Sander Biehn, AT&T
When talking about his most important discoveries, Sir Isaac Newton admitted he could never have done it alone. He quipped, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” What he meant was that he had used common and well understood theorems and formulas on which he built his new ideas. In that way he had stood on the shoulders of others to get a better view of how to apply existing knowledge to his new ideas.
Today’s enterprises are taking a chapter from Newton’s book as they begin to mobilize and virtualize their business. Whether it is by using a cloud service to house their application, or by using common programming tools and interfaces to build and manage the application, businesses are beginning to rely more on common infrastructure to do most of the work. By doing so, enterprises can more quickly and easily deploy their applications.
I think IT is embracing platforms because of past trials of going-it-alone. If you consider the world of Enterprises Software, impediments to rapid progress due to proprietary code are well known in the banking and transportation verticals. New platform-based cross-carrier services are welcome additions to avoid future complications in a rapidly changing environment where the pace is just too much to keep up with on one’s own.
When it comes to new application development there is an enormous benefit in working on platforms. Here are a few of the reasons and examples of enterprises using the pre-existing building blocks of a platform to quickly deploy new technology.
- It is versatile: Cloud computing is a platform that takes the guess-work out of sizing a new application. In the cloud, computing and connectivity can shrink or expand to fit the needs of the application and ensure acceptable performance. Likewise, with the cloud's economic model you only pay for what you need and you never need to invest in new hardware when the application becomes too big. Getting funding and becoming profitable with new applications is easier with a cloud-based strategy of starting small and then growing.
- It is easily upgraded or changed: When a M2M application for remote machine diagnostics needs to be repurposed to start collecting on-site big-data analytics, the platform can adapt without having to be re-written. By building on a carrier’s mobile platform such as AT&T M2M Application Platform powered by Axeda, dozens of plug and play sensors and software APIs can be added to the application so it can evolve without long delays and expenses in 'updating the code'. Additionally the latest firmware is pushed from the network for quick updates to a globally deployed M2M network.
- It covers the details: A major advantage of working on a platform is the suite of pre-existing tools to manage, expand and upgrade the application. For example, creating a helpdesk for a new M2M application is often an overlooked detail when writing a new home-grown application. Platforms, like AT&T’s Control Centre using Jasper Wireless, provide the necessary management tools for application tracking, application usage, performance, and even a monthly billing system.
What success stories do you have about working with a common set of tools? How is the idea of a platform helping your business navigate mobile application build-out for either B2C or M2M?
I had the opportunity to attend my first AT&T Developer Hackathon this weekend in Las Vegas as part of the AT&T Developer Summit. If you’ve never been to a Hackathon, you can picture it as the geek’s version of the Warrior Dash or the Spartan Race. But instead of mud covered runners and obstacle courses, the hackathon contestants are caffeine infused teams of innovators building killer applications with the latest technologies including the Axeda Machine Cloud and the AT&T mobile network.
It’s amazing what these teams built in less than 24 hours. In the machine-to-machine (M2M) category there was a home security app that involved a rocket launcher, a carbon monoxide detection system that incorporated social media to alert friends nearby who can help in an emergency, and a brain wave monitor that connected to your mobile phone to route calls based on your mood or level of activity. Some were fun, some were cool, but all of them were interesting and innovative.
So, all you weekend warriors out there, next time you’re looking to unleash your inner beast, may I suggest exercising your brain rather than your legs. Not only will you be less sore on Monday, you may be a little richer. The winner of the latest Warrior Dash jumped fire and ended up covered in mud. The Best Overall winning team at the AT&T Hackathon walked away with a cool $30K. Sounds like a no brainer to me.
Jump start your hacking skills at Axeda Developer Connection and stay tuned for more information on all the winning M2M applications!
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.
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
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!