Over 800 exhibitors and an estimated crowd of over 50,000 attendees are descending on Atlanta for SUPERCOMM 2000. The great buzz in the industry is wireless and AT&T's new wireless division CEO, John Zeglis, was present to provide this morning's keynote address.
The energy and excitement spilling over in the telecom industry due to the incredible promise of technology prompted Zeglis to analogize the current state of technology to the great Renaissance of the Middle Ages. Zeglis noted we are living in a time of great change watching an exciting future unfold. However, he also noted that this future is contingent upon development of an industry vision and public policies encouraging the "promise of technology."
Zeglis focused on what he termed the "two great communications revolutions." The first of these is immediate access to all the world's information via the Internet. The Internet has had a profound effect on the way the world looks at itself and the way we work and interact with each other. It is rearranging our personal and professional lives and has penetrated into the very structure of our society due to its borderless characteristics.
The second great revolution is the "mobility revolution" brought about by wireless communications. Today's wireless technology goes in your pocket and therefore conquers "place" just as wired technology conquered "distance." We no longer call a place, but instead, we call people no matter where on the globe they might be.
The fusion of these two great revolutions will be larger than either taken alone, according to Zeglis. Fusing the mobility of wireless with the Internet's open access to information will be like the "move from two-dimensional to three-dimensional space." This vision transcends the transplanting of the Internet into mobile space. We must envision the future in terms of the fusion it is, instead of just thinking about taking the Internet as it exists today and transplanting it into a mobile space.
According to Zeglis, the great challenge facing the industry now is to address the key issues together. The industry is so huge, and there is so much future available to its participants, that we have every reason to cooperate in identifying and resolving the key issues that will underlie the industry's future.
Zeglis next challenged the industry with three issues:
Availability - Not just for the few, but for the many. To make "anybody, anywhere, anytime" communications available to "everybody."
Customer Experience - We must get into the customers' shoes. "We have to make the move to what could be called post-nerd technology." We need advances in human factors and in making easier to understand services. We need to reach "seamless." "Nothing snaps wallets shut more quickly than having to choose between competing, incompatible standards - and services and products that don't interoperate." Everyone looses on this turf. What the mobile Internet user needs is: "ZAP, ZAP, ZAP - I've got exactly what I need, quickly and easily." Keep it clean and simple.
Privacy - Customers want to feel in control. Give the customer the choice to control services and information flow.
Zeglis estimates that we can only imagine one percent of our fused future. He thinks that it won't be long before "people stop seeing these as wireless phones and begin to see them for what they can become: a map, a guidebook, a wallet, a child finder, a heart monitor."
In closing, Zeglis shared his vision of a wireless future which will provide access to all the world's people and all the world's information. He challenged his audience to "get together and build an industry that will change the world - again."
[WAPsight provides coverage of SUPERCOMM 2000 events live from Atlanta.]