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Mobile World Congress: Connected Living

Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest mobile shows in the world, took place last week in Barcelona. As always, the conference attracted the mobile industries top players including Samsung, Android, Sony, LG, and HTC. This year, a major underlying theme across the 1,800+ exhibitors on the floor was connected living. Technology is quickly moving beyond phones and tablets and toward watches and other wearable devices. Chinese telecom giant Huawei unveiled a smartwatch that became one of the most talked about products of the event, with a design based more on a traditional watch than the flat wristbands that we have become used to seeing.

The conference was home to other innovative product announcements, including iris recognition smartphone technology, virtual reality devices, and—demonstrating just how much technology is intersecting with our everyday lives—Ikea even unveiled furniture that can charge your phone.

Fitness bands used to track your health and exercise activity also dominated the conference, including one created by HTC and Under Armour. Volvo, Renault-Nissan and other manufacturers premiered connected cars that are far more connected than ever before and include gesture controls, remote locks controlled via smartphones, video conferencing and real-time road safety analysis and communication.

Personalized technology is in our immediate future and based on what we saw at Mobile World Congress, we will have many choices about who provides us with it. Mobile technology will be the connector between health and fitness, entertainment, finance, transportation and of course communications in our daily lives. We are quickly nearing the point where technology will be part of everything we do!

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Looking to make an impact with global audiences? It might be time to think mobile first.

2014 marked a milestone for mobile. Giving credence to Mary Meeker’s somewhat shocking 2008 prediction (“mobile to overtake fixed internet access by 2014”), Americans used smartphones and tablets for more than half of their internet usage, surpassing PCs for the first time. A majority of that usage was app-based. And this trend is not limited to the United States, or even to developed economies.

Consider this: In India, there are 120 million smartphone users. That number is double what it was less than two years ago. In South Africa, which has an unbanked population estimated as high as 67%87% of individuals own mobile phones—36% of those being smart phones.

The proof points for devoting time and resources toward a mobile friendly, if not mobile first, strategy are stacking up. Organizations looking to reach, engage and compete at the global level need to take note.

According to Forrester Research Inc., merely owning or having access to technology, such as a mobile device or tablet, will inherently change behavior patterns and preferences. As more and more people are exposed to mobile devices and tablets, whether through personal choice, work use, gifting or lack of other options, the less they rely on traditional devices like laptops, desktops, digital cameras, print media and television.

For companies looking to grow, it’s time to move beyond the “think global and act local” theme of a decade ago. Today, organizations need to not only think mobile, but actively be mobile.

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The Evolving Landscape of TV is Eerily Similar to Desktop Computing

What do Blockbuster Video and Netflix, CDs and iTunes, PCs and tablets have in common? The former in each grouping either is or will become obsolete in the coming years. This is certainly true with respect to Blockbuster and CDs. Given the incredibly quick proliferation of mobile technology, is there reason to believe that the PC won’t go the same way or at least become less relevant in the near future?

The age of mobile digital consumption is upon us.

Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, DishTV announced a new Internet TV service called Sling TV. The premise behind Sling is that millennials are cutting the cord on traditional cable and only want to watch (and pay for) those programs they watch most. The new offering allows DishTV to offer a streaming service similar to the likes of Hulu Plus and HBO Go for mobile devices. DishTV understands the changing dynamic of the television consumer and that they now are demanding that the content they consume – whether it be movies, music, documents or other work information – be delivered to them in a format that is user friendly and that can be obtained anywhere and at any time. And this means mobile!

We have every reason to believe that apps are to the PC as Sling TV is to regular TV. It will be very interesting to watch how both of these sectors continue to evolve and enable businesses and consumers to take advantage of cloud and mobile technology. Companies that don’t embrace the mobile paradigm may soon find themselves in the same situation as Blockbuster Video and CDs. Beware ABC, CBS and NBC!

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