Archive for the ‘The Law’ Category

Zoomin Market Revolutionizing Grocery Shopping

Friday, March 6th, 2015

This week, in my Kauffman FastTrac class, our guest speakers were John Yerkes and Matt Rider, the founders of Zoomin Market. John literally grew up in the grocery industry, while Matt cut his teeth optimizing and redefining logistics and reverse logistics processes for multiple companies across the wireless industry ecosystem. Together, they saw the opportunity to fundamentally redefine how Americans shop for groceries.

While drive-in grocery stores are popular in Europe, Zoomin is the first drive-in grocery store in the United States, and it’s all enabled by mobile technology. The disruptive threat is so significant that WalMart has been watching the company’s every step.

So, what is a drive-in grocery store? The process is fairly simple. You shop online, filling your virtual cart with groceries. You pick a time you want to pick them up, then you complete the transaction and drive to the store. A server brings your groceries to your car and, in minutes, you’re on the way home.

For Zoomin, more than half of their orders are coming from mobile devices, and all of their employees are using tablets to fulfill the orders. Like any grocery store, Zoomin has four environmental zones for foods ranging from frozen to fresh produce, but unlike walk-in stores, the company doesn’t need to keep shelves over-stocked and decorated to appeal to the shoppers eye. They’ve studied Amazon’s stocking system for efficiency (Matt says “let the geniuses be geniuses” and focus on what you’re great at). They use the same wholesalers as their traditional competitors, so their selection and their cost of goods are comparable. However, they can operate in a much smaller building, with much less inventory, and significantly fewer employees than the stores they’re competing against. They’ve chosen to price competitively with no pickup fees (unlike European companies), using their cost advantage to drive richer margins.

Speaking of employees, company culture is very important to both John and Matt. Delighting customers is important to them and they gave a number of examples, from surprising a customer with a product she wanted and didn’t think they had (for free), to greeting the dog of a regular customer with his favorite treat (set aside just for him) each time they pull in for their pickup. All of this, of course, is enabled by the mobile technology that makes it easy for employees to make notes so that each time you pull in they know you better and can serve you better. When asked about their hiring practices, John smiled and explained that they hire “pickers” and “grinners.” “Pickers” are detail oriented perfectionists who make sure that the order is filled correctly and with the quality that delights customers. “Grinners” deliver the order to the customers and establish that strong connection that makes them feel special and appreciated. But to fit in to the Zoomin culture, all the employees have to know how to have fun!

I happened to have a meeting near their store on Tuesday, so I set my wife up with their website and offered to pick up her groceries. She found it easy to place the order. If you want to get your food as quickly as possible, Zoomin says it will be ready in 30 minutes, but we picked a future timeslot after my meeting and I got a notification well in advance that everything was ready whenever I could arrive. When you pull in to Zoomin, you either text them to let them know you’ve arrived, or you enter your 5 digit order code to a touch screen kiosk. Either way, you are then assigned one of the 10 covered pull-through stalls. One of the Zoomin staff rolls out a cart with your shopping bags and loads your car for you, and you are on your way. John and Matt said that the average in and out time for customers is about two and a half minutes. Because of that, the store is drawing customers from a much broader geography than a typical grocery store (customers trading dramatically less time in the store for a little more driving time).

In class, I had asked John and Matt about produce. They said they love that question because everyone’s first reaction is that you’ll never buy produce that you can’t pick yourself. In reality, produce is their top selling category, so in our order, we bought a lot of produce. My wife loved the fact that she could order bananas as either green, ripe, or spotty and she could order avocados as ripe or firm. Most of what we got was fine, but some of the items, although not technically “bad” – probably are different from what we would have picked. (For example, we bought a potato and what we got was the biggest potato I’ve ever seen – a bargain since the price was 79 cents no matter the size – but actually almost a bit scary and not one we would’ve picked.) Also, when the groceries were brought to my car, the Zoomin employee explained that when they went to pull the white organic mushrooms that my wife ordered, they didn’t look good, so they could instead give us white non-organic (and credit the price difference) or brown organic ones instead. I picked the brown ones – and proved that even when I’m just picking up the groceries, I can still buy the wrong item. :) Which reminds me of another of the benefits that reviewers have identified with Zoomin – the elimination of impulse buying of unneeded items. (Ever since our son and I came home with the purple mustard and green ketchup that we thought was so cool, my wife has hesitated to send us to the store together…)

But back to how disruptive this concept can be to the grocery industry. As I mentioned above, Zoomin’s costs are dramatically lower than their competitors in key areas (real estate, inventory, head count). In Europe, many retailers have had to add a drive-in option for their customers, but this requires them to ADD to their building and hire MORE employees, while still maintaining all of the costs for their continuing traditional customers. If this model is successful in the U.S., it will be hard for existing grocers to respond. Which explains why WalMart is so interested in what Zoomin is up to. The week they opened, a handful of WalMart executives showed up with hopes of studying their operation (John and Matt met with them in the church next door instead). A few months later they found a local engineer poking around outside of their building with a clipboard and flashlight. He said that WalMart had hired him to figure out how Zoomin had implemented their refrigeration system. Last Fall, WalMart opened a test concept drive-in store in Bentonville, Arkansas.

It seems to me that John and Matt have thoughtfully implemented a defensible strategy. Convenience, friendliness, and a dramatically better cost structure will be tough, even for WalMart, to match.

If you want to try out Zoomin, be sure to use the coupon code FIRSTZOOM to save $5 off your first order.

Mobile Impact Obvious

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

As my recent set of posts imply, I’m thinking quite a bit beyond the “mobility revolution.” A fascinating article at Wired makes it clear that the impact of mobile has become obvious, and when something is obvious, it’s much less interesting to me. (That doesn’t mean that execution and operations minded folks should ignore mobile – now is the time when the real money is obviously being made…)

Reading this article took me back to early 2012. Facebook’s IPO was the big story and the biggest knock on the company was that it lacked a mobile strategy. Today, more than half its revenue comes from mobile and they are being lauded as one of the few to have figured out mobile. Back then, Facebook wasn’t alone. Perhaps setting the tone for the year to come, in late 2011, the world’s largest technology company at the time, HP, ousted their CEO, at least in part, for a failed mobile strategy (the company doesn’t show up in the Wired piece because they haven’t been able to recover to a leadership spot in tech). Later in 2012, Intel’s CEO was forced to resign because of a failed mobile strategy. (Like HP, Intel rarely gets mentioned these days when folks talk about the companies leading the technology industry.)

2012 was the wakeup call. 2015 is showing which companies jumped and which hit snooze.

Too Mobile?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

I know… I said I would be posting more and I haven’t. I’m sorry. Even this post is something I meant to post in late December and am just now getting around to it. My hope is to start posting some content I’ve written over the past couple of years that I think would be interesting to everyone here.

But for now, let me observe on how this mobility revolution thing is working out for me.

December is a time of year when I do a lot of work with photos. My favorite site for this kinda thing is Shutterfly. Every year we use them for our Christmas cards, and then I make a bunch of personalized calendars as gifts. The last few years I’ve also been making Christmas tree ornaments to capture the main events of the year so each year when we decorate the tree we can be reminded of the wonderful memories from past years.

Anyway, all of this means that during December I ask people to e-mail me photos to use in gifts for particular people. This year is the first year that I’ve noticed that everyone embracing mobility has really caused a problem for me. You see, when someone e-mails me a picture, then I get it on my computer. I can store it in the right folder. Perhaps do some editing, if necessary. Then upload it to Shutterfly for use in the project.

This year, several times, I was frustrated because I asked people to e-mail me photos, but instead they texted them to me. Of course, I’m not surprised that the photos I asked for were sitting on their smartphones, since that’s pretty much the only camera the vast majority of us use anymore. But when I ask someone to e-mail me a picture, and it seems to me that it is just as easy to e-mail as it is to text, and multiple people text me the picture instead, then that is telling. It seems to me a strong indication that we are well into the post-PC era. (BTW – these are not tech early adopters, these are clearly mainstream tech users.) Mobile devices have replaced our desktop devices. We apparently have also entered the post-email era. (BTW – these are not millennials I’m talking about either, each of the people who texted me photos instead of e-mailing them is roughly my age.)

My frustration stems from how much harder it is for me to get the photos into my routine when they are texted to me, but my fascination stems from watching how the mobility revolution has impacted basic behaviors of mainstream consumers. It’s amazing how fast we adopt and adapt.

The (best effort) Internet of Things

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Back in the early 1990s, I was manager of new products at WilTel.

WilTel was a scrappy telecom competitor (focused on the business and wholesale markets) whose greatest claim to fame at the time was being the first carrier to launch frame relay services. Frame relay was a packet-based service that dramatically changed the data networking landscape. It delivered performance significantly better than X.25, the previous option for packet services. In fact the performance was so good that businesses could replace expensive private line mesh networks with much more affordable frame relay networks made up of virtual circuits connecting the same end-points. It was a runaway success. In fact, WilTel’s introduction of frame relay is a great case study in successful self-cannibalization. Private lines were WilTel’s bread and butter, so frame relay meant that the company aggressively introduced a product that replaced it’s core product with a less expensive alternative. Sure, for many of WilTel’s existing business customers, there was a reduction in what they paid the company for the equivalent benefit. However, WilTel was able to not only replace a single customer’s WilTel private lines with frame relay, but also that same customer’s AT&T private lines and MCI private lines and Sprint private lines, resulting in a significant increase in “share of wallet” and a meaningful increase in overall revenue from each customer. More importantly, WilTel became a credible provider to many business customers who had never before considered the company. (Sorry for the rabbit trail, but it seemed like a good teachable moment…)

I can’t take credit for the brilliance of this move. I played a very small role in the launch of WilTel’s frame relay service. (That credit goes to Joe Zell and Christine Heckart.) But I tell the story to make the point of how important frame relay and private line services were to the company in the first half of the 1990s when I moved into the role of manager of new products for WilTel and started to see the emerging potential for Internet-based services. I started preaching that, in the future, businesses wouldn’t need private line or even frame relay services. Why would they pay for all of that, when “the Internet” could just as well deliver their data from point a to point b. (Of course, I was right, I was just about 15-20 years too early. For my last 9 years at Sprint, the company was slowly moving towards shutting down frame relay and private line services.)

Anyway, in my role at WilTel, we started increasing our focus on Internet-based services. All of that came to a screeching halt at the end of 1994. WilTel was in the process of being acquired by LDDS (the combined company would be renamed WorldCom) and I put together a summary of our product development efforts for LDDS’ CEO, Bernie Ebbers. His response: “That Internet stuff – shut it down. The Internet’s a toy. Businesses will never pay for it.”

Now, I know that Bernie gets (and deserves) a lot of grief for stupid decisions he made that destroyed WorldCom (and with it the retirement dreams of thousands of employees). But I tell this story to make the point that there was a time when the Internet was broadly considered “not good enough” for “real” use.

The Internet was designed to be a “best effort” network. No performance is guaranteed. As traffic increases, the network does its best to respond and in general everyone’s performance degrades. (Net neutrality is all about maintaining this model.) Today, Internet service providers have invested so much in the core infrastructure and access networks that this “best effort” is actually good enough for the vast majority of uses that consumers and businesses have, and providers have offered dedicated services, apart from the “public Internet”, using IP-related protocols (e.g. MPLS) to ensure the performance that businesses require for their more mission-critical applications.

But it wasn’t always this way. In reality, you couldn’t count on any specific throughput or even successful delivery from your Internet service. The only thing you could count on was unpredictability and unreliability. For many uses, that was just fine, so people bought it and the Internet grew dramatically. For at least a period of time, Internet traffic grew exponentially.

Wow, that’s a long lead in to my main point…

I think it’s important to realize where we are in the “Internet of Things”. As we are rapidly deploying these technologies, it’s important to have right expectations. In time, the vast majority of IoT applications will be rock solid with high levels of performance, and even today, those applications that need it are (hopefully) being built with the right level of investment in the right kind of core infrastructure so that they will work when they need to. (I’m thinking of things like the government-mandated Positive Train Control.)

Today, the vast majority of applications are “best effort.” If it fails – oh well – we’ll try again tomorrow.

Case in point – my smartwatch. I have loved connected watches for a very long time. In 1994, I bought a Timex DataLink watch. Then in the late 1990s I started buying watches with a satellite connection to the atomic clock. By 2009, I’d written off the future of watches, thinking that the smartphone had replaced them, but around the same time I got my first FitBit fitness tracker. I was ecstatic when fitness tracking functionality became integrated into the watch form factor.

My current favorite smartwatch is the Basis band, which I’ve been wearing for a couple of years. Basis has since been acquired by Intel, and is launching an exciting new product. What I love about my Basis is that it encourages me to develop healthy habits. Everyday, I’m working towards eight different goals, from not sitting too long, to walking at least 2000 steps each morning, to walking at least 10,000 steps each day. There’s also a sense of gamification, earning points by hitting goals allows you to add more habits. It’s great – when it works. It’s absolutely frustrating when it doesn’t.

For example, yesterday, the Basis cloud (which is what rewards me for hitting my goals) told me that I walked 6,640 steps in the morning (yea! – crushed that goal), 5,570 steps in the afternoon (yea!), and only 823 steps in the evening (oh well, can’t win them all). But the really surprising and frustrating data is that Basis thinks I only walked 6,482 steps total for the day. You’re probably thinking what I always think when this happens – that logically is impossible and mathematically is about half of the actual total. But, the big deal for me is that I didn’t get credit for my goal of 10,000 steps, even though I clearly achieved it.

Unfortunately, this is not unusual. In fact, it’s happened twice this week and probably a handful of times this month. I’ve been reporting the problem to Basis for a long time. Their typical response is “do a hard reset of the device” (which really never does any good – it doesn’t recover the data for the current day and doesn’t seem to improve performance over time). The most recent time I reported the problem, after a few back and forths with customer service, I got a more complete response which included this explanation: “The Basis clears the watch memory after a sync to prevent the memory from becoming full and failing to record further data. This clearing of data is the last step in the sync process, and normally, if the sync fails, this action does not trigger. Sometimes, however, data corruption does not register immediately and the action to clear the watch memory is triggered. This results in the loss of data from the watch memory. The totals on the watch face do not reset with each sync in order to keep your daily data accurate, but if a segment of that data is corrupted, the data on the web will only show the information that was successfully uploaded to it. This is why you can see discrepancies in the data on the watch face versus what’s in the app.” Never has Basis indicated that are going to do anything to fix what would be a relatively easy thing to fix (when morning+afternoon+evening > total, update the total…). For these reasons, I won’t be buying any more products from Basis.

But my point isn’t meant to be that the Basis product is a failure. It’s that virtually all IoT products are going to have similar failures. Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G, software, hardware… they all fail at times. The fact that my smartwatch fails to give me credit for what I’ve done is frustrating, but it’s an application that is just fine for “best effort.” And for now, “best effort” isn’t all that good.

Thankfully, if history is any indication, “best effort” is going to keep improving, and IoT will fundamentally change the way that we interact with the world around us, and the way that businesses operate.

Introducing SDG Advisory Services

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Friday was officially my last day with Sprint. Over the weekend I updated my LinkedIn profile indicating the “end date” of my Sprint employment and listing a new “job” as Strategic Advisor for SDG Advisory Services. Thanks to everyone who sent me congratulations on the new “job.”

I’m not really looking for a new job. Although I don’t qualify to officially “retire” from Sprint, I’ve viewed my departure as my “retirement from corporate life.” God has blessed my family and I incredibly over the ~28 years since I graduated from Virginia Tech. He has filled my career with wonderful experiences as a corporate executive (Sprint and Williams), a consultant (TeleChoice), an entrepreneur (Digital Frontiers, Seek First Networks, Christian Homeschool Network), and a communicator (The Power of Mobility book, other book contributions, this blog, Christian Computing magazine, Business Reform magazine and BizNetDaily, Homeschool Enrichment magazine, Network World magazine, over a dozen conference keynotes and many other speaking opportunities, etc.).

I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way and unfortunately seen many more mistakes made by others. Those lessons have been incredibly valuable. I’ve also been blessed to do some things right and to watch others have impressive successes. Those too are wonderful lessons. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to share those lessons with others, sometimes in formal and informal roles as a strategic advisor to companies, events, and organizations, and sometimes in formal and informal mentoring relationships with individuals. These have been some of the most rewarding opportunities I’ve had in my career.

The desire that God has placed on my heart is to focus on “giving back” out of my storehouse that He has filled with rich experiences, knowledge, and capabilities. I believe that tapping into this storehouse could be very valuable for the right businesses and I have created SDG Advisory Services especially for these types of opportunities. I think where I add the most value is in listening (about an opportunity or challenge), framing (helping craft a framework for evaluating options), and then shaping (the work that needs to be done to evaluate the options and make a decision). I think I’m also good at communicating, especially about the impact of technology innovations.

On the SDG Advisory Services website I’ve outlined four types of services for which companies may want to hire me:

  • Communications: Help customers and prospects understand the “big picture” of how innovations are changing their world by leveraging a successful communicator’s writing, speaking, or facilitation skills.
  • Two-Day Strategy Lab: Quickly develop a deep and focusing understanding of what is true about your business, your opportunity, and how to uniquely focus your strategy to achieve your long-term goals through a structured 2-day process.
  • Consultation Session: Uncover, clarify, and evaluate strategic options for specific business challenges and opportunities by engaging an experienced strategist who will ask the right questions and provide valuable perspectives.
  • Strategic Advisor: Improve your business decisions through an ongoing relationship with a proven, innovative business leader who can help shape and inform your strategic approach to business.

Most businesses have done a good job of building the right team to execute on their plan. They know more about the opportunity and their own capabilities than any outside expert could ever tell them. Sometimes, however, there’s a real need for help stepping back, framing the situation, and making the right decision with intentionality and focus, before moving forward. My desire isn’t to bill as many hours of consulting time as possible, but rather to have the biggest impact possible with the least amount of time and effort expended (for both you and me).

If you think I could help, drop me a note and we can chat about it.

CTIA 2014: Connected Intelligence

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Last week, I was in Las Vegas for “Super Mobility Week.” I spoke at CCA and received an award on behalf of Sprint at CTIA, but one of the highlights for me was actually sharing a cab to the airport with Chetan Sharma. Chetan is one of the smartest and one of the nicest guys in the industry. I met him several years ago when he moderated a couple of panels that I was on at GigaOm’s first Mobilize event and it’s been a pleasure to catch up with him whenever our paths cross.

With my own career at an inflection point, I am especially impressed by how Chetan has been able to manage his consulting business. He has kept it very small so that he can focus attention on his family, and yet he has a huge impact on the industry. The work that he takes on leverages his knowledge, experience, and insights to their fullest. That is what I aspire to as well, so it was great to have the chance to reconnect again last week.

But you, my dear readers, probably could care less about that. What I think would be interesting to you is what we talked about in that short cab ride. The most meaningful discussion was about Chetan’s most recent paper “Connected Intelligence Era: The Golden Age of Mobile,” which I had just read on the flight out to Vegas. (You should read it too.) Chetan’s question for me was “what do you think, is this a new cycle, or the old cycle?” I have to admit that my mind probably hadn’t thought about it enough to be prepared for the discussion, so I had to mentally work through a few concepts first…

In the paper, Chetan references theories on economic cycles put forth by Nikolai Kondratiev, Joseph Schumpeter, and Carlota Perez. It is Carlota’s writings on “Technology Revolutions” that I’ve paid the most attention to since they are both more recent (and therefore informed by the Digital, Internet, and Mobility revolutions) and more specific to technology. The first mental hurdle I had to get past, in my mind, was that Carlota looks at long cycles (PC/Digital, Internet, and Mobility are all in the same “Age of Information and Telecommunications”, which followed the similarly long “Age of Oil, the Automobile, and Mass Production”, “Age of Steel, Electricity, and Heavy Engineering”, and the “Age of Steam and Railways”), while I tend to think in short cycles, the Digital Revolution, followed by the next cycle of the Internet Revolution, followed by the next cycle of the Mobility Revolution, etc. So, when Chetan asked me his question, he effectively was restating what he had included very early in his paper “Where are we in the big economic cycles? Are we in the golden age of the last technology cycle of information and telecommunications that gave birth to the Internet and the modern wireless ecosystem as we know it or are we perhaps on the verge of a new age that will transform human history for the next 50 years?”

I think it’s clear that we are at the beginning of the next “short” cycle. Big data analytics, connected devices (Internet of Things), and cloud all point to this next revolution, which Chetan calls Connected Intelligence and that I’ve been calling the Intelligence Revolution. What’s harder to answer, as Chetan readily acknowledges, is whether this short cycle is part of the current long cycle (the Information Revolution) or part of the next one. As Chetan points out, we probably won’t know for sure for at least a decade, but in the cab, I started to formulate a test that might help us think about it.

During that short conversation what came to mind was “what do the products look like?” I can think of easy things like advertising as a means of creating economic value from “connected intelligence” but it’s harder for me to think of other “products” of this new capability with more direct economic benefits. In the steam era, the products were clear. In the steel era, the products were clear. In the oil era, the products were clear. In the information era, the products have been clear. If this is a new era, the products aren’t yet clear to me.

Another way to think about it is in terms of how the revolution increases productivity. It’s pretty easy to see how industry, steel, steam, oil, and information have increased productivity. I think we need to consider whether “connected intelligence” has the same “big bang” transformative impact.

To his credit, Chetan does a good job in his paper outlining potential products and potential productivity improvements for existing products and services. But it doesn’t really seem to me like a huge leap. So, my vote is that this “Intelligence Revolution” is really just the next step in the “Information Age” and not the beginning of a new age.

What do you think?

The Six Cs of Mobility

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Nearly a decade ago I introduced McGuire’s Law of Mobility. Over the years, I’ve refined it a bit to simply say “The value of any product or service increases with its mobility.” and, over the years, the truth of the law has been demonstrated time and again.

But back in those early days, despite having anecdotal examples to point to, I couldn’t really explain “how” mobility increases the value of a product or service.

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at an event hosted by Mobiquity. That event gave me the opportunity to try to capture and communicate thinking I’ve been doing recently about the specific ways that mobility creates value in products and services – either for the end customer (and thus indirectly for the supplier) or directly for the supplier. In some respects, this is the result of looking back with 20/20 hindsight and merely capturing what we’ve already seen, but I do think it’s helpful for those looking forwards to consider how to practically design the value of mobility into their products and services.

So, here are the six C’s of mobility – six ways in which mobility adds value to a product or service:

  1. Connectivity
  2. Community
  3. Content
  4. Context
  5. Commerce
  6. Cost

Connectivity

At it’s core, integrating wireless connectivity into a product or service is about, well, connectivity. What I mean here is specifically full-time two-way connectivity into back end systems that enable the product or service to operate as part of the larger value proposition of the firm, and therefore provide greater value to the end customer.

Community

Some people refer to the “social revolution,” and we’ve certainly seen a dramatic rise in social networks and the huge impact these sites have had on how we interact with the world around us, but I’m not sure whether it’s a separate “revolution” or a subset of the “mobile” revolution or if they are both the same revolution – the “social/mobile” revolution. Whatever the case, the fact that products and services have wireless connectivity built in makes it possible for users to share with their friends and provide support for one another. This is easiest to see in mobile apps, but I’ve also seen it in retail kiosks for sunglasses and makeup, and built into digital cameras, and I believe we’ll increasingly see the opportunity to “like”, “share”, and give or receive encouragement being built into more and more connected products and services.

Content

Wireless connectivity also makes it simple to leverage the reach and richness of the Web with a real-time element and with relevance that goes well beyond what’s possible in a desktop Internet experience. A navigation device that provides recent reviews of nearby restaurants, along with the daily specials would be a great example. (I’d love to have this built into my next car…) Another example is the simple Bible app. When I started carrying a PDA a couple of decades ago, the Bible app was one of the first things that demonstrated to me the power of mobility. Wherever I was, I could read God’s Word. However, a single translation would consume almost all of the memory on my device, so forget about additional resources like commentaries and Bible dictionaries. Today, most Bible apps don’t store any translations locally, and yet, over the wireless connection, you can access almost every translation, commentary, or reference work ever published.

Context

In the mobile community, we’ve often spoken of the unique value of “context” that mobility enables above and beyond what has ever been possible in a desktop application. Because it’s been so broadly discussed, I won’t belabor the point here, but I do believe that the ability of wirelessly connected products and services to adapt given place, proximity, and priority does provide tremendous incremental value never before possible.

All of the C’s listed above are value enhancements that the end user directly realizes. Hopefully that value realization translates into value for the provider (differentiation, premium pricing, customer loyalty, etc.). However, the next two C’s are ways in which the provider benefits directly from the integration of wireless connectivity into the product or service.

Commerce

Wireless connectivity creates a tremendous opportunity for the provider to extend their business into adjacent spaces and realize new untapped revenues. A service provider may be able to offer new kinds of services, not previously possible. A product or service company may be able to present to customers extremely relevant advertising, or may be able to (while respecting and protecting user privacy) collect data that has analytical value for the company or a partner. Many other adjacent revenue opportunities will likely become available to those that are integrating wireless connectivity into their business.

Cost

The final C deals with the opportunity to replace components with cloud content. For example, the first “connected” watch I bought was satellite connected to the atomic clock in Colorado. I thought it was cool geeky technology. I showed it to a jeweler and he thought it was cool because it meant that you could build an incredibly accurate watch with very inexpensive components. Similarly, I’ve often told the story of TeleNav, a company that replaced expensive GPS navigation electronics with software on a mobile phone connected back to maps and data in the cloud. As wireless connectivity gets integrated into every product and service, there will be many opportunities to take costs out of the product or service by replacing expensive physical elements (e.g. highly trained specialists in the field) with content and capabilities hosted in the cloud.

I hope these 6 C’s are helpful to you as you consider how to revolutionize your industry!

New Book!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

There are only 4 days left on this Kickstarter Deal and it’s still a long ways from getting funded. I want to read the book, so hopefully you’ll consider joining in!
————————————–
I am very pleased to announce my contribution to a new book project called shift 2020 – How Technology Will Impact Our Future. It’s a self-published book curated by Rudy De Waele including foresights on how technology will impact our future by some of the world’s leading experts.

The story
The idea of shift 2020 is based upon Mobile Trends 2020, a collaborative project Rudy launched early 2010. It’s one of the highest viewed decks on Slideshare (in the Top 50 of All Time in Technology / +320k views). Reviewing the document a couple of weeks ago, he realised the future is catching up on us much faster than many of the predictions that were made. so, he asked the original contributors for an update on their original predictions and new foresights for the year 2020.
Additionally, Rudy broadened the scope of this new book project and asked new contributors to give their vision and foresights on the following topics: 3D Printing, AI, Apps, Biotech, Cloud, Connected Living, Consumers, Context, Crowdfunding, Data, Education, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise, Fashion, GreenTech, Health, Hyperconnectivity, IoT / IoE, M2M, Maker Movement, Media, P2P Money, Retail, Robotics, Sensors, Smart Cities, Social Media, Society, Surveillance, Transport, Wearables with global input as well as focused on emerging markets such as BRIC and Sub-Saharan

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shift 2020 is designed by Louise Campbell, an award winning UX and design technology professional with years of experience working with luxury fashion E-commerce brands, designing first-class, multi-platform, digital shopping experiences.
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Four Drivers of the Mobility Revolution

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Just over a week ago, I presented “Seismic Shifts in the Mobile Ecosystem” at Sprint’s Open Solutions Conference. The session was well attended and seemed to be well received, so I’d like to share some of the content here. I’ll set up the topic in this post, and then dive deeper in additional posts over the coming weeks.

The basic premise of the session was that there are four key drivers of change that have resulted in ten seismic shifts in the mobile ecosystem. These changes reflect the Mobility Revolution and create opportunity for businesses that can understand and capitalize on these shifts.

So, what are the four drivers?

The first one is

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The second is mobile bandwidth being built into all kinds of products.

The third is ubiquitous broadband (wired and wireless).

The final driver is the emergence of real world interfaces between mobile devices and the real world, including NFC, compass, gyroscope, cameras, and other sensors.

Accelerating the Mobility Revolution

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

It’s been a long time since I last posted. I’m also very behind in responding to comments, I apologize for that and hope to get caught up in the next few days. Between a lengthy overseas vacation and a full

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plate of work, it’s been hard to carve out time for this blog.

But, there are a few news items that are worth commenting on.

The first few items point to Sprint’s commitment to continuing to accelerate the Mobility Revolution. This shows up in a number of ways – Sprint has been scoring well in RootMetric’s network comparison tests demonstrating our commitment to the network investments that are necessary to support the Mobility Revolution.

According to Chitika, we’ve also been increasing our share of the Android market (see graph below). Note that Android sales from our prepaid brands (Virgin and Boost both have Android handsets that are selling well) are not included in Sprint’s numbers and probably are a meaningful part of the growth in “other”. This demonstrates our commitment to the open development environment which is key to customers integrating mobility into all aspects of their lives.

This commitment to the network and platforms necessary for the Mobility Revolution is reflected in how our customers use their devices. According to a Consumer Reports study, Sprint’s smartphone customers use about twice as much data as our competitors’ customers – proving the point that Sprint’s customers are way out ahead in the Mobility Revolution – making mobility integral to everything they do.

The final news item I can’t pass without commenting on is Google’s proposed acquisition of Motorola. This deal is a clear demonstration of the Mobility Revolution in action. Google, perhaps the most powerful company on the planet, has put their money where their mouth is. For a couple of years Google has been saying that mobility is their top priority and now they are proving it. As with any big deal, this one’s not a simple black and white, good or bad news story. I think I can best address it in terms of what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s ugly about the potential tie up.

The Good:

  • Google gains Motorola’s patents, which help in the patent wars in which Big Bell Dogmatists have been trying to slow down the Mobility Revolution by impeding Android-based innovation.
  • Google gains a better appreciation of the complexities OEMs face in building Android handsets, likely leading to improvements in the operating system.
  • Google likely gains traction with Google TV through Motorola’s Set Top Box business, potentially bringing additional value to the Android ecosystem and encouraging some pretty interesting cross-platform innovation (imagine a Netflix or Hulu app with your smartphone as remote control and the STB as video player).
  • Motorola’s strength in low-cost feature phones may provide Google with insights into how to expand the Android ecosystem into emerging markets.

The Bad:

  • Motorola is obviously a strong competitor to Google’s other Android OEM partners. Samsung, LG, HTC, and others are likely to pause and consider their level of commitment to Android going forward.
  • Google gains leverage in the Android and overall mobile ecosystem, making all other players work harder to earn their fair share of industry profits.
  • The deal will require regulatory approval, which will take months, potentially slowing down innovation at Motorola, Google, and other ecosystem players.

The Ugly:

  • Google has to convince everyone that they won’t unfairly favor Motorola over other handset OEMs.
  • RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia are all in unstable positions in the mobile industry. Microsoft potentially has the opportunity to win the hearts of Motorola’s competitors, but if they fail to do so, they may find themselves with an unsustainable market position. Microsoft may also succumb to the urge to keep pace with Google by acquiring Nokia or RIM. And RIM’s only hope (other than being bought) is if enough of the ecosystem shifts from Android to Windows to keep RIM within sight of the pack.

What do you think – did I miss anything?