Here are my final highlights from MWC 2013:The rise of the programmable enterprise
The early days of the internet was about stand-alone, closed environments. This sounds very similar to the isolated enterprise computing and data environment that corporates around the world currently have. If this can be changed, a whole generation of new corporate-driven innovation will occur.
Chet Kapoor from Apigee (apigee.com) presented a compelling case for open, API-enabled enterprises that encourage developers to innovate by using the infrastructure that they would not usually have access to:
- Walgreens, a large pharmacy chain, had an underutilized online photo printing service that was declining as fewer people were printing photos, and more people were moving their photo-taking to smartphones.
- There was also the user experience challenge of getting photos from smartphones onto computers and then uploading them to Walgreens.com
- It exposed its website's functionality to the developer community through API's.
- This allows services like Instagram to offer real-world photo printing, and a new revenue stream, without having to concern itself with distribution or infrastructure.
The opportunities in this space are endless. With the MNOs launching OneAPI
exposing their data, services and billing platforms to developers, we can expect some very interesting innovation during 2013.
Imagine a programmable retailer, bank or airline that allows developers to create alternative user experiences, services and value based on data and infrastructure that has never previously been available.Apple losing its luster
This is the first year at MWC that there has been such an evident shift in sentiment towards Apple. Across all four days, swipes and snipes have been taken at Apple's approach and general arrogance.
What's next for devices?
- Success often garners jealousy and Apple has clearly been a victim of its own success.
- The manner in which it controls its ecosystem has been a brilliant and deliberate strategy to ensure a 'better' user experience, however, this may also be a noose around its neck.
- The Android and Apple duopoly is a concern for MNOs, developers and handset manufacturers. There is a strong call for cross platform interoperability so that a hardware decision does not force someone down a path that excludes them from making their own choices in the future.
- There were repeated discussions about how after creating the new mobile interface paradigm, iOS has become stale and risks falling behind the new gesture-rich, flowing, integrated interfaces that have emerged from Windows Phone, FirefoxOS, Ubuntu OS Mobile and even Blackberry 10.
- A classic chirp, 'The wow factor for the iPhone 5 was that there was no wow factor.'
- A bigger and better screen, lighter device and new, enhanced iOS are all calls that were made to keep the next generation of iPhones appealing.
Here are some highlights from the actual device world:
- Nokia is back. Its Lumia 920 at the high end is a great product and if partnered with a possible Lumia Tablet could do good things in the enterprise market. It also showed off the excellent Nokia 105, a Euro15 phone for emerging markets.
- New technologies like graphene-based batteries may finally provide the breakthrough that this market needs in order to power these mobile computing powerhouses.
- Wearable devices are being mooted as the next major direction that this industry is taking. From smart watches and glasses (spectacles and not beer ones), health monitors and even gesture sensors are being seen as the natural extension to improve information consumption, data capture and device control.
- It becomes particularly interesting when these concepts are combined. Imagine combining voice control with gesture control and integrating these with in-home operating systems that manage entertainment, security and access control.
- Just don't sneeze at the wrong time. You might end up opening the garage door and turning the television off at the same time. This is the dilemma called gesture-conflict. Something that needs to be sorted out before it becomes widely acceptable.
So that's another MWC done and dusted. It has been enlightening and inspiring. Clearly we are at the cusp of incredible innovation and cross-industry disruption - now for the execution bit.
Barcelona. Out.For more: