Mobile Breakfast Series – The Universe of Connected Devices

Mobile Breakfast Series – The Universe of Connected Devices

Earlier this month, we hosted our 6th Mobile Breakfast Series Event in Seattle at the picturesque Columbia Tower Club. The topic is something that has been occupying everyone’s attention lately with some terrific growth numbers.


We were doing some math earlier this year and the chart above illustrates how fast the mobile ecosystem is subsuming the computing ecosystem as they become one and the same.

As you might have noted in our 2010 US market update, connected devices is the highest growing category in the market at 55%. It is creating new revenue streams and enabling new verticals to get mobilized. It is also disrupting the traditional ecosystems. This made it a perfect time to discuss the topic in-depth.

Our panelists were:

Tyler Davidson, VP, Amdocs

Martin Fichter, VP – Product Management Americas, HTC

Mike Mulica, President and Head of Strategy, Synchronoss Technologies

Ilja Laurs, Founder and CEO, Getjar

Erik Kling, Director – M2M, Vodafone Global Enterprise Group

Wilson Rothman, Deputy Technology and Science Editor, (moderator)




As always, we try to bring players across the ecosystem to have a good discussion from multiple angles. Our panel didn’t disappoint.

First a bit about the panelists to give you some background on their viewpoints. Erik Kling is deep into M2M and Vodafone is pursuing a very aggressive M2M strategy worldwide with some smart value proposition to the enterprises. That can put some of the domestic operators at a disadvantage. Tyler Davidson focuses his energy on managing customers but also thinks deeply about the management of media in the connected world. The rage of apps is carrying from smartphones to tablets and other connected devices as well and Ilja Laurs knows a thing or two about apps – running the largest independent app store and being quite successful at it.

HTC just crossed Nokia in revenues which was just unthinkable even last year. HTC has run a very effective strategy in devices and Martin Fichter is one of the guys who is making things happen in the US market. If you have an iPhone, you have been touched by Synchronoss Technologies. They activate the iOS and other devices. A billion $ company you might have never heard of. Mike Mulica has deep experience in the mobile space and is driving the strategy of connected devices and related software forward. Last but not the least, our moderator Wilson Rothman has been covering gadgets most of his adult life and is a darn good moderator.

The highlights of the discussion was as follows:

  • M2M is getting good traction in consumer electronics, telematics, and medical. Vodafone is doing a ton of business with the medical/pharma companies who would like connected devices without the worry of roaming, certification, etc. Within a year, Vodafone’s M2M group has grown up to 200 people and they are hiring at a rapid pace if anyone is looking.
  • Other M2M areas that are evolving are: security, remote access, home monitoring, etc.
  • Connected devices are accelerating the move from voice to data
  • The fact that AT&T is advertising M2M Vending machines on TV shows it is serious business.
  • HTC passed Nokia in market cap on the back of Android and the 4G devices. For tablets, WiFi is a preferred route rather than operators as that’s what the demand is.
  • With connected devices avalanche coming our way, WiFi is going to be extremely important, need better technologies for WiFi/Cellular migration.
  • Consumers chose a device or a service first and the operator is now an afterthought.
  • Operators need an open environment to operate but want to create a preference for them – it is like “controlled openness” like Microsoft so they can certify devices and apps that go on their network
  • All this connectivity does need billions of $ of investment so there is a need for a toll for these services. However, we need to reduce friction with security, payment, and plans.
  • Apple doesn’t want to be an operator but does want a free ride like NetFlix and YouTube.
  • WiFi is not only necessary, it is essential for the survival of the industry.
  • Amazon launching an app store is a good thing for the industry, puts pressure on Google a bit.
  • Companies like Skype would pay the operators for better bandwidth but the process is a bit cumbersome.
  • Battery Life. Enuff Said.

We also announced that our annual thought-leadership summit on mobile – “Mobile Future Forward” will take place on Sept 12th in Seattle. We have some terrific speakers lined up which lead to some fabulous discussion. Stay tuned for more information early May.

My utmost thanks to David Smith, SVP at Enterprise Ireland for his notes from the event. It helped refresh my memory and pointed out things that I had missed amidst running around.

Thanks all for coming and making it a successful outing. Our next Mobile Breakfast Series is going to be on Mobile Commerce and Payments in late June. Stay Tuned for details.