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Mobility LIVE! 2015 - Day 2: More Mobility, IoT, Startups

The 3rd annual Mobility LIVE! Conference (the largest mobility technology conference in the southeast) took place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta October 28-29th

Wrapped up Day 2 (the final day) of Mobility LIVE! at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The annual event brings together thought leaders in the mobile space in a series of speakers and panels.

I recapped Day 1 on Thursday. That was exhaustive. For Day 2, I’m going with 3-5 take-aways per talk and panel. Except, I’ll add a brief intro to each speaker/ panel to summarize.

Yesterday was all about the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables. Today was a continuation on IoT, but also more focus on mobility as a whole and startups.

Kicking us off was a chat between Glenn Lurie, AT&T Mobility President and CEO, and Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services at Apple. In many ways, these two helped usher in the mobile world as we know it today being key members along with Steve Jobs and Ralph de la Vega in bringing the iPhone to market in 2007. Glenn and Eddy recall those negotiations between AT&T and Apple and the relationship between the two ever since…
  • The initial discussions between AT&T and Apple were anything but amicable. Neither company understood the other’s business and vision. Apple wanted to completely upend the way carriers operated with phones (iPhone, specifically, of course), but never once showed AT&T the iPhone till AFTER the deal was done. They reached common ground by understanding each others’ needs and metrics for success over time. They built world-disrupting models on personal trust. You can see the strong trust and relationship in their interaction together on stage with the quips and remarks – fun to watch.
  • The first “OMG THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD” moment came when Glenn and Ralph finally got to touch the iPhone (after negotiations, mere months before launch). The second occurred when Glenn and Ralph heard of the App Store when iPhone 3G was releasing. Eddy and Steve only thought there would be 100s of apps… they didn’t fathom the beast the App Store is today and how it’s created whole new businesses, industries, and more.
  • Other phone manufacturers at the time were hardware-focused. They saw software as a “necessary evil”. Steve and Eddy saw the opportunity in software to do so much more. As we know today, the iPhone is a great device, but the software and the App Store are the greater opportunities.
  • Apple actually started developing a tablet before the iPhone. However, after first pinching and zooming, they realized the bigger opportunity to implement touch on phones. They pivoted towards the iPhone immediately. In fact, AT&T’s phone specs didn’t have any place for touch… specs all illustrated buttons. Apple didn’t want any buttons (except maybe the one for Home).
  • Apple’s mission, as instilled by Steve, was to not make iterative improvements to solve problems. Instead, they wanted to hone in on large problems we all encounter, or build the platforms to allow others to solve more specific, complex problems. Eddy and Steve believed you can’t be iterative when it comes to innovation.
Michael Zito, General Manager of AT&T’s Smarter Cities, moderated a two-person panel of David Cummings, CEO of Atlanta Tech Village, and Charles Curran, Senior Director of Qualcomm Ventures. Michael was the keynote speaker of last year’s Mobility LIVE! Day 2, and speaking as a former entrepreneur who exited, Michael peppered Cummings and Curran on startups and venture investment, especially in Atlanta.
  • Atlanta is “best of breed” in many areas including internet security, marketing technology, logistics companies, finance technology, and payment processing. Having the 3rd highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies helps. Processing 70% of all payments in Georgia helps. Having Georgia Tech as a “secret weapon” helps.
  • There needs to be more involvement from the big companies around ATL (the Fortune 500s) to engage with startups and entrepreneurs to solve problems. There has been growing involvement, though, as seen in innovation centers from Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, AT&T, Georgia Pacific, and the like all at the Tech Square corridor.
  • Yik Yak is a great Atlanta consumer story which is very outside the norm – Atlanta is a big B2B startup hub. The founders of Yik Yak had the idea in college, launched in Oct. 2013, and had 60K college students by Feb. 2014. They’ve raised ~$70M with no revenue, and show no signs of slowing down as a major consumer success startup calling Atlanta home.
  • 0.3% of venture-backed startups make 95% of the profits… only 0.1% of startups raise venture capital. Yikes!
  • On advice to ATL entrepreneurs: Atlanta needs big hitters (those who have been very, very successful in the past) to support startups and entrepreneurs. Also, capital can be attained from anywhere with “mobile capital” à smaller investments across geographies, greater meritocracy.
Consumer Products and Connect Retail panel moderated by Jeffrey Sawyer of Accenture. The panel included Tom Daly of The Coca-Cola Company, Tim Henderson of Microsoft, Nicu du Plessis of SportsMobile USA, and Lee Wagner of AT&T. The panel focused on how IoT is influencing their companies and their companies’ clients. 
  • There are many challenges to IoT and connecting everything. Starting “small” with one connected retail store is a challenge. However, the challenges get exponentially more difficult once you bring scale to the equation (think Moore’s Law). The largest hurdle is and will be security.
  • Retailers are trying many different technologies to add value to their businesses from social to mobile. Retailers like Macy’s, in particular, and Bloomingdales are leading the way with iBeacons, smart fitting rooms, interactive kiosks, and more.
  • As everything gets more and more connected, true value will be realized when there is greater interoperability (systems talking to one another). However, there will be a “creepy” factor where people will be fearful of “big brother”. The key to overcome this, however, will be the value-add. What was once feared in mobile banking before is now replaced with ubiquitous mobile banking adoption – value > creepy.
  • Example of ThyssenKrupp including sensors on their elevators. The company measured everything about their elevators from weight to cable tension to time from button-push and elevator movement. Given 40% of the world’s power consumption can be attributed to buildings and 10% of that energy consumed by elevators, ThyssenKrupp has the data to now lower meaningful energy consumption. ThyssenKrupp can now mitigate energy costs for its customers.
Mapping Mobile Commerce – From Online to Offline and Back panel moderated by Asif Khan, Founder and CEO of Location-Based Marketing Association. The panel included many media/ advertising executives including Duane Smith of 22squared, Kelly Hogue of Millennia Media, Ed King of MaxMedia, Robert Russell of UPS, and Steve Solari of Skyhook. With the large number of advertising agencies present, the panel was able to discuss technology in several environments. UPS added another element not necessarily from the traditional brick-and-mortar, but with location services for its trucks. Skyhook, then, provided insight as an infrastructure partner. And given Asif’s organization, there was a distinct locational interest to proceedings.
  • “What does location-based marketing mean to you?” was the first order of business. Across the panel, proximity/ location helps drive relevance of advertising content to viewers. Location can identify audiences and provide insights.
  • There are lots of technologies to identify location. Some are more accurate than others, but is the cost for more accuracy worth it? In stores, you can evaluate point-of-sale (POS) data, dwell time, compare campaigns of location-captured and non-location-captured, heat maps, etc.\
  • As said earlier, location drives relevance. Retailers aim to drive traffic to their brick-and-mortar stores. Once there, the retailer must create an engaging customer experience to increase dwell time and drive conversion. But post-sale (or after the customer leaves), retailers need to re-engage customers to drive return visits or even visits to their online stores.
  • Evaluating technologies can be difficult. Many technologies sound good, but can be difficult to tie to specific use-cases. Also, scaling technologies like iBeacons can prove to be difficult. For tech considerations, retailers must ensure tactics and tech is directly tied to metrics. Also, retailers must consider privacy and security concerns.
  • An audience member looking to present business cases for retailers around retail technologies asked about metrics to evaluate the success of technology within the four-walls. A quick list: return visits, recency, frequency, distance traveled (from home to store), emotional, Net Promoter Score (NPS), foot traffic, online activities, and even social magnification (shares).
Jim Bailey, Global Managing Director of Accenture Digital Mobility, took on the daunting topic of Insights on the Future of Mobility all on his lonesome. Armed with slides of statistics after statistics, Jim painted a picture of a connected life… Or more specifically, what Accenture dubs “Living Services”.
  • Here are some numbers: 212B sensors by 2020. 50B connected devices by 2020. End of 2014, 80% of Fortune 1000 companies would have public APIs. 31EB (that’s exabytes = one billion billion bytes) per month in 2020. A BMW 5-Series uploads 1GB of data per 10 miles driven. 89% of businesses (across the globe) believe IoT will have a fundamental impact on their businesses, but only 7% have a comprehensive strategy for IoT.
  • 1990s was the internet and web era. The 2000s was the age of mobility. 2010’s ushers in living services. Living services is the combination of Digitization of Everything (products with built-in smart tech) + Liquid Consumer Expectations (cultural shifts raising our expectations for best-in-class experience across categories).
  • Living services requires three components: 1) Knowing your customer; 2) Flexing technology; 3) Design. Up till now, we have been in a “process-led” innovation world. Tomorrow, we’ll be in a design-led innovative world.
  • Can you guess what he views as the biggest risk to all of this? (It’s security.)
The Investors Perspective on Mobile was moderated by Dr. Phil Hendrix, Founder of immr. Hendrix spearheaded a diverse investor panel of Sig Mosley of Mosley Ventures, Blake Patton of Tech Square Ventures, and Alan Taetle of Noro-Mosley Ventures. The investors range in experience from 1 year and 5 deals to over 122 deals spanning 20+ years. Being an entrepreneur, I was excited about this one.
  • Given the disparity in experience, the investors have seen varied levels of investment evolution. Mosley, the most senior, recounted the much longer time to develop products and bring them to market compared to today. Costs are significantly cheaper… what would’ve cost $50M to build a successful company 10-20 years ago may only take $15M today.
  • In mobility (and indeed, in general), the investors see lots of opportunities. Blake is high on IoT. Alan is high on healthcare. Sig is high on virtual reality and security. To this point, the investors stuck to their “guidelines” 99% of the time… rarely did they break into unfamiliar territories. When/ if they did, investments usually didn’t end well.
  • As touched on before, the investors rarely played in new sandboxes where they never played before. The investors, with the exception of Alan, were reluctant to enter healthcare companies due to the complexities – capital intensive, regulations, insurance, etc.
  • There are goods and bads in ATL as an investor, of course. The investors explained ATL’s exponential growth in entrepreneurial activity to be a ripe condition for investments. Sig and Blake, especially, are early-stage investors, and have been very active. Long-term success of investment in ATL will depend on the ability of startups who attract early-stage funding to attract later-stage funding outside of ATL.
  • Motivations for investment in early-stage startups or startups, in general, was very straight-forward for this panel – the entrepreneur/ team. They test the passion of the entrepreneur as s/he will invariably “wander in the desert”. Will s/he find his/ her way and stay focused to see the company to success? The investors also test for coachability especially for early-stage entrepreneurs who need the guidance. Alan remarked: “Intelligence + Self-Awareness” over Experience.atlanta, startups, entrepreneurship, mobility, internet of things, investors, venture capital

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