Bob Iannucci Nokia and Mobile Sensors

June 16, 2008

in general

I’m at Supernova2008. Reporting of events generally. You can find more at ConversationHub.

Kevin introduces Bob Iannucci from Nokia the largest mobile phone co in the world. Mobiles are a key enabler of what’s next. He says Nokia sells more phones in a week than Apple sells iPhones in a year. I’m sure this audience needs that reminder. There are iPhones everywhere.

Bob’s talk is focused on where mobility might go? What’s different? Where will the opportunities emerge?

He says: “Now I’m in Mobility. the pattern I’ve see in the past are where mobility is today. We’re still in the golden age where in the world of mobility the standard platform hasn’t emerged. He comments that it has much more to do with networks and people connections than with hardware and software.

He introduces the world of sensors. Mobile Phones already have sophisticated sensing technology built in. From cameras, radios, accelerometers they can increasingly communicate data that can be aggregated. His bold little metaphor is…. If we think of the population today it is not much of a reach or stretch to expect that for every phone there will be 10 sensors collecting information. The opportunity and the challenge is what will we do with this kind of information.

He talks about an example where Nokia Research took 100 cars and 100 N95 phones with GPS and then were able to predict the onset of traffic interruptions far more effectively than the current traffic systems (which we have paid millions for) by using an infrastructure less system based on people, their mobiles and movements. They have to anonymize the data then we can capture across lots of devices and draw inferences from it. Then we can push it back to identify traffic jams in the future and then pass the knowledge back to the users. So how do you send to the user before they even leave. How can the mobile provide you with advanced warning?

What about sensor that report on personal wellbeing. Could we track influenza? What if we could provide the data on how disease is spreading. What if we could probe weather data? What if it was done over 100’s of millions of users. How would if fundamentally change the weather business? How would it change the science of what we know? A basic are you prepared for this set of questions.

Challenges. Privacy and information security. What about scale? We have only just begun to see what happens when people gather together to provide data for social good? There is no compatibility and standards. The devices are enablers. There is something greater that can be done if they can inter operate. We have a way to go to get there.

He notes that the Internet has outstripped electricity in distribution globally. 3.3 billion subscribers worldwide with over a billion nokia devices being sold. Anything we drop into the pipeline can influence 450 million people in a year. 64% are in emerging markets. We also know the next billion people will be very different to the first 3 billion. Because the ability of mobile phones this group is getting to markets that they were disconnected from before. Suggests that mobile airtime minutes will be the new currency like the Big Mac index.

What is the next realm of social network services? What is needed to make this info secure. What’s needed to enable people to share? How can they share without jumping through hoops. How do we make it commercially viable?

It’s an interesting and thoughtful paradigm. The opportunity is huge for collective action. Perhaps GPS will help enable our understanding. In some cases the “programs” only have to ask. Script for schools is a support program that seems to work; a simple redirect of information. I’d expect Bob view is we will see many more opt-in opportunities to share in the future.

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