Competition. It’s the driving force for markets, sports, academics – and innovation. And there’s nothing like a formal throw-down to get players to bring their A-game.
At Mobile World Congress 2014, IBM invited developers and entrepreneurs to pick up the gauntlet in the IBM Watson Mobile Developer challenge. This global competition encouraged competitors to submit ideas for mobile apps powered by Watson, a cognitive computing breakthrough. These apps will take advantage of Watson’s ability to understand the complexities of human language, “read” millions of pages of data in seconds and improve its performance by learning. Winners will receive design consulting and support from IBM experts to help develop their idea into a viable commercial app that puts the power of Watson in the palm of a user’s hand.
While much attention has been focused (rightfully so) on the brilliant innovators who will propose the apps, I’ve been thinking about the industries they’re going to shake up. Which industries will “win” this competition? Or, more broadly, which industries will be changed the most by mobile analytics?
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There is a myth hunting me since my early days in the Mobile business. It is the myth of the channel – there is a lot of talk and reasoning out there in the business and academical world about digital channels, multichannels and omnichannels which connect enterprises intelligently with the customer. It sounds so easy – whenever a new, fundamental technology shift happens, a new channel can be attached into the enterprise infrastructure, and it’s done. No reason to worry about this new technology anymore. Such technology shifts have happened several times, be it call centers and the phone channel, the web channel or just recently the social and mobile channels. But my experience is that if enterprises strictly follow the channel approach they are likely to fail in fully exploiting business opportunities, or even worse, some of them extinct due to the loss of competitiveness in the new technology era. The simple reason is that “the channel” is the wrong analogy to describe the massive impact of fundamental technology shifts like web, social and mobile.
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Attendees at Impact 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, will have plenty of opportunities to get their hands on the latest IBM products and technologies, especially mobile. There are actually two different kinds of labs being offered at the conference, which runs from April 27 to May 1: scheduled lab sessions, which run at specific times, and open labs, where you can drop in any time during the open lab hours and work on lab exercises at your own pace.
The scheduled lab sessions cover a wide range of topics, some of which are on cutting-edge technology. You can use the Impact Session Preview tool to find a scheduled lab session that interests you. Some of the mobile lab session topics include the following*:
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Life and technology are moving at a rapid pace, and today in this throwaway society products get replaced more quickly than ever. Desktops, which were the machines of the future, are now considered a thing of the past. Corded phones got replaced by hands-free phones, which in turn were supplanted by mobile phones.
So are mobile devices also expendable?
I don’t think so, and here are five reasons why:
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In Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Bracknell quips that “To lose one parent … may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” Something similar could be said for companies that don’t take precautions to protect their customers’ mobile data. Data hacks happen, and they are unfortunate, but failure to design and test mobile applications for privacy leaks and security vulnerabilities is, truly, carelessness.
Not to mention, a data leak is often bad for business and customer trust, and we’re probably all aware of high-profile customer data exposures that have been in the news recently. Issues include failure to protect password data and exposure of private data including birthdates, health and prescription information, and credit card numbers.