If there’s one thing that Mobile World Congress 2013 has taught us so far, it is that ‘the internet of things’ is well and truly here to stay. Listening to some of the speakers at this week’s conference has made it clear that the process of ‘verticalizing’ connections is already underway.
Steve Girsky, vice chairman of General Motors talked up the possibilities of M2M in his address. He claimed that the automobile was the original mobile device, starting the trend for personal travel which has made mobile communications so essential. As a result, he believes manufacturers should always be innovating with in-car technology. OnStar, GM’s in-vehicle communications platform, will now be available outside of the US, offering to ‘bring the owner’s digital life inside their car’. GM has also committed to including 4G LTE in cars worldwide and across the board, rather than just in high-end vehicles.
Gemalto has its own experience of in-car technology, through its work enabling the ‘Audi connect’ 4G infotainment system. ‘Connect’, which is attracting plenty of attention at MWC, offers Audi drivers in-car navigation, media services and a 4G mobile wi-fi hotspot for up to eight devices. Gemalto’s Cinterion M2M technology makes this all possible bybeing harder-wearing and longer-lasting than other alternatives, making it ideal for the automotive sector.
Elsewhere, Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association spoke to attendees about how M2M could help them to achieve their objective of reducing the mortality rate for heart disease sufferers by 20% before 2020. She discussed how mobile health offers a key opportunity to combine technology advances with healthcare. As in other sectors, disruptive healthcare technology is putting users in control of their own treatment: enabling them to pull information of their own accord rather than having it pushed to them by their healthcare provider. New, M2M-enabled devices to monitor heart rates and blood pressure can not help to positively influence the user’s behavious, but also alert healthcare professionals if any problems occur.
As Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, summarised in his keynote address, wireless technology is enabling positive changes for any number of the world’s industries. He said that humans in the 21st century are ‘born mobile’. True as this may be, in years to come it will not just be humans, but all the products and devices we interact with which will also utilise mobile connectivity.