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The 5 Big Take-Aways from Mobility LIVE 2015: Where’s Mobility Heading?

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Last week, I attended the 3rd annual Mobility LIVE conference in Atlanta. This year’s event had a distinct Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearables flavor with the intersection of mobility.

I heard from over 15 speakers and panels ranging from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to early-stage entrepreneurs and to execs at ad agencies and investment firms. Topics spanned location-based marketing technology, wearables, the future of mobility and connectivity, to Atlanta’s budding entrepreneurial ecosystem and investors’ takes on the future.

Poring over my Day 1 and Day 2 notes from the conference, I’ve distilled the conference into 5 take-aways for your enjoyment. Here we go:

Security is the greatest concern. Every panel noted security as a concern as more devices become connected and wireless. However, I’m wondering if there’s a sense that the companies will figure out security. Instead, it’s about overcoming security concerns for the public who are incredibly skeptical of Big Brother, too. But even then, there’s a level of comfortability with execs in believing the value to be gained will outweigh concerns.

Power consumption is the second concern. You can see this every day in frantic searches for outlets to charge smartphones. In the IoT age, sensors will be affixed to devices that currently lack power sources. With upwards of 50B connected devices by 2020, cost and efficiency of powering devices will be a daunting challenge.

Carriers will be the big winners, and they’ll deserve it. In 2006, U.S. mobile data usage was 11PB (1 petabytes = 1E6 GB). In 2014, usage shot up to 4.1K PB (4.1E9GB, ~73K% growth). In 2020, mobile data is estimated to surge to 31EB per month (~3.72E11GB annually!). Those ludicrous data numbers will flow, largely, wirelessly. The cellular companies today will have the unenviable task of developing the infrastructure to support this throughput, and they’ll have access to all of it. Wow.

Jury’s out on the effectiveness of wearables today. There are no clear standards, guidelines, and the like for wearables. Step counters can be easily faked. Smart clothing isn’t where we need them to be. Meanwhile, there are no educational programs to help doctors understand wearable data. With 33% of wearers abandoning their devices within six months, users aren’t seeing value out of wearables today. The industry must establish guidelines on data collection and analyses. Opportunities for wearables will depend, also, on interoperability of devices – exercise devices connected to nutritional devices connected to emotion devices, etc. There will be security and privacy concerns. Will there be enough value from wearables to overcome these fears?

Atlanta still has so much potential for startups and entrepreneurship. The city is rich with large corporations and strengths in FinTech, MarTech, Payment Processing, Supply Chain, etc. Entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, and shows no signs of slowing down. With the cost for entrepreneurship nose-diving over the years, Georgia Tech’s presence, density of large companies, and the like, Atlanta is primed to grow through startups. But to continue growth in this trajectory, entrepreneurs must have better access to the larger corporations in Atlanta.

If you were at Mobility LIVE last week, what were the big trends you noticed? From the above, where do you see opportunities to build the Next Great Startup?

If you haven’t already seen, take a look at the Day 1 Notes from Mobility LIVE and then Day 2 to see the more detailed take-aways. Very interesting insights.


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