Saturday, June 6, 2015

Connectivity trends in Asia

Last week Mary Meeker released her latest 2015 KPCB Internet trends, a highly recommended report on the state of the connected world.

This week, as a presenter and stream chair at CommunicAsia, the largest ICT and media conference and trade show in the Pacific region, I have been noticing the trends for this part of the world.

Internet trends in Asia, which are consistent with the Meeker report are:
- the rise and rise of mobile connectivity, i.e., smartphones vs. 'feature' phones; content and messaging continuing to shift to mobile; mobile ads finally getting traction
-the power and potential of emerging markets, i.e., the fastest growing markets are BIG emerging markets--and there are a lot of emerging markets, not just China
-the impact of ubiquitous connectivity on the nature of work itself

In the Enterprise Mobility track I chaired, we heard some great case studies and industry perspectives on the technical advances and challenges of liberating the workforce from the desktop.  The discussion ranged from BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) issues to data security and the trade-offs of mobility in terms of cost and ROI, and the question of what work will be like in the future.  I am grateful to the presenters and discussants:

Leon Jackson, Head, Healthcare IT, University of Malaysia
Arnaud Brolly, Mobility Portfolio Lead, SITA-Aero
Steve Nash, APAC Principal Mobility Specialist, Vodafone
Stuart King, Precision Workstation, Asia-Pacific, Dell
Shailendra Soni, Principal, ICT, Frost and Sullivan, Malaysia
Kristin Foss, Senior Director of International Product Management, ShoreTel, USA
Marie Petterson, Senior Product Manager, Symantec Asia Pacific

And, we heard some wild and clever advances in marketing, especially in terms of industry partnerships (Spotify), location-based marketing and how important it is for consumer businesses to have mobile-ready web presence, and hopefully a strategy for mobile media.  Ken Herron, digital start-up guru, hosted a lively and informative session with:

Joshua Steimle, Digital Marketing Guru and Forbes contributor
Sunita Kaur, Managing Director of Asia, Spotify
Asif Khan, Founder and President, Location Based Marketing Association

Media Flow Project
I shared our media analytics engine.  You can see a demo of our prototype at this address.
Or, paste this link into your browser:

Product launch - Huawei P8 
A good old product launch with thundering soundtrack, original graphics to highlight the great features of this new smartphone.  The challenge to other players is that Huawei represents the trend of customers being able to buy a good smartphone for the price of a 'dumb' phone.  Players like Huawei are not going to replace Apple at the top end, but they are going to challenge just about every other Android player (including Samsung).  Add to that, the fact that the Android business model is coming under significant price pressure.  To paraphrase Warren Buffett's observation on airlines, mobile is a great industry, but a tough business.

Google for Work
-Keynote address by Kevin Ackhurst, Managing Director, Google for Work, Asia Pacific
1. Mobile first
-restating the obvious
2. Reinvent the PC
-besides mobile, most of us have, on average, around 3 screens to work with at any time
3. Intelligent screens
-Google search and 'smart devices' will proactively provide information on our screens
4. Personalized collaboration
-easier collaboration through simple and affordable collaborative technologies
-collaboration platforms for a mobile first world
-team project management embedded in collaboration tools

-Keynote presentation by Peter Moore, Regional Managing Director, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
-102% increase year-on-year growth in data on Amazon Web Services in the past year
-Gartner ranks Amazon as the leader in Cloud infrastructure readiness
-Moore proposes that the Cloud is the 'new normal'
-new businesses start in The Cloud, because of low cost and low legacy effects
-companies of all sizes need to move faster and the Cloud allows fast infrastructure expansion
-companies will use data more than at any other time in history
-governments will likewise start focusing on using--not just controlling--data more effectively
-AWS has an education platform for schools
-'hybrid IT' involves local services coupled with the Cloud (off-premise storage)

Alongside the busy summit schedule, I managed to catch up and hang out with our digital partners, Unified Inbox.  CEO Toby Ruckert and Margit flew in from Germany, as did the design team from Flanke 7, Carsten Czech and Marcel Ronnfeldt.  Aby Varghese was there from the Bangalore team and Ken Herron made the trip from Florida.  And Camilla Urdahl was there from Auckland.  It was a chance to meet up face-to-face with folks we have been working with remotely--another not-so-new trend in global work, face-to-face 'meet-ups' to deepen working relationships.  It was fun!

Next month, Ananth Srinivasan and I will present our Media Flow work at a conference in San Jose, California in the heart of Silicon Valley, the epi-center for digital innovation.  The CommunicAsia conference, however, reminded me of the importance of this region in terms of ICT consumption and trend setting in our own right.  Moreover, it was a great opportunity to witness the state of the communications industry.

Watching those around me, I saw glimpses into the future, not just of Asia, but for all the world.

No comments: