|The world as a hot spot
|Edward J. Zander
|Chairman and CEO
Edward J. Zander, 59, is chairman of the board and CEO of Motorola, Inc. Prior to joining Motorola, Mr Zander was a Managing Director of Silver Lake Partners, a leading private equity fund focused on investments in technology industries. Before that, Mr Zander served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Sun Microsystems, having previously been President of Sun’s software group. Prior to joining Sun, he held senior management positions at Apollo Computer and Data General. An active member of the civic and business communities, Mr Zander serves on the board of directors of several professional, educational and non-profit organizations. Local business organizations include the Economics Club of Chicago, the Executive Club of Chicago and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. He serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the School of Management at Boston University and as a Presidential Advisor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has also served on the board of directors for the Jason Foundation for Education. Mr. Zander holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and honorary PhD from Boston University.
Today, the Internet follows you; your whole life, digital and personal, is always with you. Instead of searching for what you want, a smart device delivers it to you. Three disruptive forces are creating this world: everything is getting digitized, everything digital is going mobile and broadband is becoming as pervasive, and essential, as air. These same forces are creating a digital, mobile world for the enterprise bringing the seamless experience people enjoy at home and play to their work environment.
When I think about the future of communication technology and, obviously, I think about it often, I envision the experiences people want, not the devices or the technologies involved. What they want is effortless…seamless…mobility. So, I see the whole world as one big ‘hot spot’. Broadband connectivity everywhere, breaking down the barriers to access based on speed, cost or remoteness. Today’s mobile devices contain computing power and storage equal to a room-sized mainframe decades ago. High-speed downlink packet access, HSDPA, could offer speeds of 1.8 megabits per second now, rising to 14Mbps – two or three times today’s typical home broadband speeds – contrasting with today’s 3G network speeds of about 384 kilobits per second. With so much networking power in our pockets, it’s no wonder that the mobile phone is fast becoming the most ubiquitous gadget ever invented. We’ve learned to capture, move and manage data inside the building, now we’re building the network infrastructure to do so outside the building. According to IDC, the worldwide population of mobile workers is expected to increase from more than 650 million in 2004 to more than 850 million in 2009. That represents more than one quarter of the global workforce. Mobile workers aren’t just office workers telecommuting, travelling and checking email in coffee houses. Today, we are focused on extending mobility beyond the office – out in the field, in the factory, at retail locations and across the supply chain. Think public safety/first responders, shippers and warehouses, utilities, farmers, health care workers – essentially anyone who needs access to data to make critical decisions at the speed of today’s marketplaces. The power of network technologies such as WiMAX are that they allow people everywhere to grow exponentially, manage and leverage their businesses for maximum financial and social potential. WiMAX will make today’s wireless networks seem glacial in comparison. WiMAX supports peak data speeds of about 20Mbps but averages speeds between 1- 4Mbps, compared to the 400-700Kbps downloads available using current 3G cellular technology. Multiply that by billions of transactions every day available everywhere, to everyone, with any device, using any application with any operator. Meanwhile, short-range wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Zigbee, are moving us into a world of viral, peer-to-peer linkages, connecting the physical world with the cyber world as things talk to things without the need for human intervention. A wheat field that knows when it’s thirsty and sends a message to turn on the sprinklers is a disruptive idea indeed. So the pervasiveness of broadband will enable the device formerly known as the mobile phone to be your digital lifeline at home, at work and wherever you go. Three unique characteristics make this possible: 1) it’s always on; 2) it’s always with you; and ,3) it knows who and where you are. Evidence of this can already be seen in countries like Korea. Korea, one of the most connected, unwired, untethered countries on our planet, takes its IT leadership very seriously. Virtually everyone over the age of 12 carries a mobile phone, and the whole country walks around surfing, downloading, texting, chatting and even shopping – with a built-in bar-code scanner – all day long. What makes this experience possible is ‘IT839’, the government’s multi-billion dollar research and development initiative designed to sustain Korea’s number one position in mobile lifestyle. While the R&D isn’t unique (IPTV, RFID, wide-area broadband), what sets Korea apart is the deep partnership between business, government and education. Breakthroughs have come from each of these areas and are integrated seamlessly among them. The passion and funding lavished on IT839 remind me of the US in the middle of the last century, when we were deeply enmeshed in what we termed the ‘space race’. The US was determined to ‘own’ the conquering of space and invested millions in engineering of every kind in both private and public industry. Governments must embrace that kind of future-thinking again in the area of digitization and broadband access. The United Nations has set a target that 50 per cent of the world’s population should have access to communications by 2015. In fact, between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of the world’s people live in areas already covered by mobile communication systems, but only 35 per cent use the services. When we talk about connecting the next billion, we’re referring to the half of the population yet to make a phone call – wired or unwired. We’re also talking about the millions of opportunities that connectivity can bring to enterprises and enterprising people. Let’s look at some characteristics of the currently unconnected to understand what we, as an industry, must do to connect them. • Equipment must be durable, able to withstand harsh environments yet still deliver exceptional quality. Expectations are high. An investment in any device or technology – even ‘cheap’ by some economies’ standards – is substantial. • Energy management is critical – batteries must last for weeks rather than days. Remoteness or mobility means limited or no access to electricity for handhelds. We must provide energy solutions to enable extra features such as lanterns, GPS systems and RF or FM radios on all kinds of devices, from mobile phones to rugged laptops to scanners and more. • The same energy requirement is true for base stations. What’s the cost differential – both initial outlay and long-term use – for a less expensive, less powerful station versus its more expensive, more powerful counterpart? Today’s micro base stations are an interesting alternative. They can be mounted on existing infrastructure or even on specially designed vehicles, bringing down development costs even further. What’s the payoff of these kinds of investments? It may seem obvious, but let’s look at the full picture. A London Business School study showed that, in a typical developing country, removing all sales and customs taxes on mobile handsets could prompt an increase in mobile penetration of up to 20 percentage points. Furthermore, the study showed a rise of ten mobile phones per 100 people boosts GDP growth by 0.6 percentage points. What will entrepreneurs do when broadband is as common as air? Today, using mobile phones: • merchants in Zambia do their banking; • farmers in Senegal monitor prices; • health workers in South Africa update records while visiting patients; • Tanzanian fishermen get market and weather conditions and the current price of fish while still offshore. In the future, individuals will continue to find new ways – and new reasons – to connect. In turn, industries will continue to reinvent their business models. An example: in India and Africa, Motorola is working with Sharedphone, a company that supplies a SIM card that allows a subscriber’s personal mobile phone to be used as a payphone. This enables the person who owns the SIM card to add up to US$700 to his or her monthly income. The Sharedphone card can even be programmed as a payment point for pre-paid electricity. The person buying the electricity saves the cost and time of travelling to the utility office, the phone owner makes a profit on each sale and each call, and the utility sells more electricity. That’s the entrepreneurial spirit thriving! Thank you for your attention. In the five minutes or so it took for you to read this, my industry connected another 5,000 mobile users. As we connect not just the next billion but the next five billion, access will move down on Maslow’s hierarchy, and mobility will increasingly become a basic need. Access must just be there… like air.