Happy 40th Birthday Mobile Phone

April 8, 2013

40-years-of-cellphone-history
Forty years ago we took a giant leap into digital space and untethered by wires made the first mobile or cell phone call.

Today Australia boasts nearly 30 million mobile SIM cards for a population of almost 23 million and 60% of the entire worlds population has, or has access to, a mobile phone.

In developing nations the mobile has allowed people to skip the wired computer that they were likely never to have gotten and instead turn immediately to the mobile phone for health, banking, communication and so much more.

We have come so far in the last 40 years, changed our belief and understanding of the world and our place in it that it is often difficult to remember life before this magic little mobile box, but this week David Dowsett of Radio ABC Wide Bay and I took a nostalgic look at mobile phones and a futurist glance at where their headed.


13 trends for 2013

December 3, 2012

Tablet PC computer with 2013 New Year counterIn 2013 we will see an Australian election that is bound to slow business down and the economy for a couple of months. We will see Europe and America continue to build a new normal around their economy’s and future as they continue to grapple with the legacies of the past.

We will see a year where innovation will become the buzz-word as we move out of a relatively deep cycle of global negativity and doom and gloom to one where we see possibility and renewed hope.

2013 is only days away and it’s already set to be crammed with innovation, gadgets, new thinking and challenges..

This week Nicole Dyer of ABC Radio Gold Coast and I chatted about my 13 trends for 2013 which include:

1. Big Data – The answers we seek have got to be hidden somewhere amongst all this data that’s we’re drowning in. Internal records, online information, social media chatter, third-party providers, and the list of information sources go on. We know all this stuff is out of there and most probably could be useful, but how do you begin to make sense of it all. Welcome to the next frontier and the next set of tech billionaires. The rush is on for data gold and we will see a slew of one stop digital solutions that offer to make sense of all of your fractured information and turns it into one screen profitable wisdom.

2. Mobile everything – this may sound old and ordinary, but the first mass used smart phone was only 5 years ago and the shift to this becoming our default personal assistant and digital best friend has been quick and taken for granted. As we continue to take great big gulps of digital oxygen from our devices, our addiction will only continue. In this post iPhone era, where our desire for mobile gadgets will be far less brand dependent and more about features and cool and Apple, as cool as it is and was, will start to lose its’ cool.

3. Appy Days – an industry that hardly existed 5 years ago is now mainstream, a viable career choice set to turn over $12 billion next year. It has quickly moved beyond from just being about angry birds and games, to having a serious business side, with these little digital front doors keys poised to be the death knell of traditional websites.

4. Bring It All Together – we want everything now and in one place and that’s exactly what we’re going to get. Much of next year’s innovation will take lots of seemingly disconnected bits and pieces from lots of different places and put them together into one easy to use and purposeful space. The travel app that gives you a true door to door experience, booking you a taxi from home; let’s you know if the plane is on time; checks you in; informs the hotel how far away you are and checks you into the hotel, and guides you to your room when you get there and opens the door for you.

5. NFC – Near Field Communication, or a technical thingy that casts a virtual net from your mobile device to digitally connect you to your surroundings. This one has been in the wings for quite a while and we came close to a launch in 2012, but 2013 is make or break time for it.

6. It’s not rude to point / I know that face – mouse and keyboard – they’re so last century. 2013 is the year of the gesture, face recognition and voice. Every great sci-fi movie has this as a basic staple and now it’s going to become common in an office and living room near you. Mobile devices, ATM’s, cars, homes, TV’s and even fridges will know your face and let you in. Want to change channels on the TV, don’t reach for the remote, just swipe your hand in mid-air.

7. Goggles – 2013 will see the start of a new evolution in personal viewing displays built-in to ordinary looking spectacles. Google and other developers all have versions of the heads up displays buried in glasses due for release in 2013 and although it will take a while for them to come down in price and become mainstream they will find a market.

8. Co Creation – stop doing it on your own. There has been a fundamental shift in management style and business separations in the last decade. One where collaboration and co creation have overtaken control. Business of all sizes are synergistically coming together to achieve common goals and ambitions, sharing resources and talents, but also disbanding and moving on, or having multiple co creative experiences.

9. Chameleon Computers – BYOD aka Bring Your Own Device – one screen multiple uses in multiple places. It’s a work computer by day, a play computer by night and a friend in your handbag when you’re out and about. No it’s not 3 separate devices, it’s just the one device you carry with you everywhere you go and this is newest fad in businesses providing computer hardware to their employees.

10. 3D Printers – need a replacement part for your tractor, but can’t get it delivered for two weeks. No problem, print one out of your very own 3D printer. This love child of Star trek’s “Beam me up scotty” and your old fax machine, is the next big industry and will bring with it a fundamental shift in the way we manufacture, buy, deliver and innovate.

11. Head in the clouds – Our insatiable hunger for 24/7 access to all of our information regardless of where and when we are, has now found a new savior in the heavens. Cloud servers are becoming our preferred and trusted digital storage locker as we move from just storing our emails there to trusting it with our digital lives.

12. Out with the new and in with the old (in a new way) – everything old is new again. In this world of ever-changing “things” we are turning to the past, with a great big dollop of nostalgia, to reinvent what we’ve already had. Expect social media to become ordinary. For Facebook, Twitter and other conversations to become less “full on” and for us to become terribly blasé about all of this. New digital possibilities, apps and businesses will rise to refresh and update traditional offerings. Fashion, food and fun will also receive new twists on old themes as they make their comeback, yet again.

13. IP and Patents are becoming obsolete – First person to market advantage has never been more important than it will become. With the world-changing so quickly and innovative ideas abounding the timing involved in legally locking down ideas, innovations and inventions is becoming less practical and advise from top legal minds seems to be protect your innovation as much as possible, but don’t let it stop you being first to market.

Have a listen now to this month’s FutureTech segment and let me know what you think will be the innovation highlights of 2013


Question: What do you get when you cross developing nations with mobile phones…

November 30, 2011

Answer: The ability to jump over traditional cable dependent technology and provide health services, education, banking and communication to the most remote places on earth, using mobile phones.

It’s amazing, but true that 64% of all the world’s mobile phone users are found in developing nations and of those 80% are in rural areas, this provides a ready technology platform on which innovation and social equity can be built.

In this weeks segment, Adalaine Ng of radio ABC Australia and I take a meander through the use of how mobile phones are closing the gap between the technological have and have-nots.

Listen now: