We've all had times in which are so busy that we don't know if we're coming or going but it exciting none the less. I had one of those last week. First, I was a guest at the Grand Opening of the AT&T Foundry in Atlanta in the Centergy Complex at Georgia Tech (at the corner of Spring & 5th Street) on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
The Foundry concept is a center to enable the development of innovative new software and hardware in cooperation with partners and the local universities. There are now four AT&T Foundry's (Palo Alto, Plano, Tele Aviv and Atlanta). Each Foundry has a major corporate sponsor that also participates in the research and development efforts. In Atlanta, the Foundry's partner is Cisco Systems.
The AT&T Foundry in Atlanta is part of the Centergy development at Georgia Tech that focuses on technology and entrepreneurial development.
Clay Owen of AT&T Mobility was very kind to give me a tour of the facility. The Grand Opening had a number of technology demonstrations to show what kind of work will be done at the Foundry centers. Some of these demonstrations are part of commercial products and some are still in the development stage. And, others were the backing of entrepreneurs who have a start-up business that is getting ready for commercial operation. Thus, the Foundry is a combination of an incubation center combined with access to university staff for R&D and intent to commercialize a number of projects that could make a difference in the world.
Here's a summary of the demonstrations that I saw at the AT&T Foundry Grand Opening (see photos at the end):
- Connected Car - AT&T has developed a 'connected car' software and services platform that could ride on top of any operating system. It isn't a commercial product (yet) but a number of trials are underway. What makes this interesting is that the user's smartphone is part of the solution but not directly with the in-car dash but, rather, the user's smartphone communicates with the connected car Cloud so that a set of unified information and services can be enabled in the display in the car (including GPS information, vehicle status and services such as news, weather and sports.
- High Definition Audio - AT&T demonstrated a quite amazing use of advance signal processing where they were able to take someone speaking in very challenging situations and then have the result be high definition audio to the listener. They had someone talking in a crowded restaurant/bar and another one driving in a car. They also showed the 'before' and 'after' signals that clearly demonstrated visually the voice filtering.
- Digital Life Home Automation - Digital Life is now a commercial product by AT&T. However, they set up a demonstration of the entire system using a small model home in which all the different elements were on display at the same time.
- Video Conferencing (with Cisco) - This was a conference room that used large screens so that those on the conference call would appear to be life size. While impressive, this kind of video conference is being supplemented with the participants who are not in the room using mobile devices instead of large screen desktop computers.
- Soneter Water Flow Analytics - Use of ultrasound technology to sense the water moving in pipes and to provide useful information to property owners, insurance companies and end users. What's amazing about this is that with only one sensor, the system can detect any faucet in the building, home or apartment complex. That's because each faucet or shower has a unique flow profile that can be detected and analyzed. Thus, this system can not only provide flow rates but detect when any device is leaking.
The Grand Opening had a number of well-known people in Atlanta (see photo). They did a clever 'ribbon cutting' ceremony via M2M technology: they had a large display in which they opened the AT&T Foundry which then turned on the lights in the main hall.
I then flew to Las Vegas to appear meet attend the ITExpo/M2M conference and with clients. I also spoke on a panel session about how future technologies will dramatically affect business.
On Wednesday, Aug. 28, I appeared on the radio show "Your Family Matters
" hosted by Dr. Keith and Amber Bridges Kanner. This show focused on cyberbullying. I discussed how serious cyberbullying has become and how technology is starting to provide assistance for school administrators to intervene before a serious (and often life threatening) situation results.
On Thursday, Aug. 29, I appeared in the morning on an RCR Wireless
"Hangout" session also about cyberbullying that was quite unique. RCR promoted a 'video chat' session in which Bruce Miller (Xirrus), Jonathan Horvath (Smith Micro) and I had an open dialog hosted with Martha DeGrasse, RCR Wireless News Editor about the challenges of managing connectivity in the K-12 sector. I related my research on the cyberbullying issue and how technology is helping school administrators detect cyberbullying and severe depression and taking action before something terrible happens.
Next, I appeared with my co-worker James Brehm on the panel, "Five Technologies that will Change Business." James provided a great summary of how Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is going to affect the future of business. I brought up five technologies that I felt would change mobile and wireless in the business environment: 1) biometrics, 2) voice, 3) imaging and rich media, 4) location based services, 5) next generation Hotspot 2.0/PassPoint.
My final appearance of the week was on a webinar produced by FierceMarkets and hosted by Fred Donavan. I presented on the state of the wireless industry and then went into more detail about mobile device management (MDM), mobile content management (MCM) and mobile application management (MAM).
Weeks like this demonstrate how exciting it is to participate in mobile and wireless as an industry analyst. I learn something every day from those in whom interact. My job is then to give value back in the form of thought leadership that provides insights and understanding to others.
I love being an industry analyst since it allows me to have such a varied experience from day to day and week to week.