When I first used the internet, a thought popped up in my mind: what if this network was available all the time? I would email and never would have to talk on the phone. That was in the early 1990s, long before the internet was a commercial phenomenon. Fast forward to today, and of course, I don’t talk on the phone and I hate email, because I am always emailing.
A few years later, I made a phone call to my parents in Delhi on a Nokia phone over an AT&T network while standing on the edge of Wall Street. It was the coolest feeling, only to be replaced by an idea: imagine if we could have access to the network anywhere, anytime without wires. Fast forward to today and today our day on the network starts by checking our iPhone (or Android phone).
Those two thoughts became the cornerstone of my thinking about networks, devices and services — that more connectivity coupled with more services (applications) leads to more usage and makes them all more intelligent. During the early years of the new century, I came across companies like Chumby and Ambient Devices and was convinced more than ever that everything will be connected. That has since become core philosophy of how I look at the world, a view that is shared by rest of our editorial team.
This philosophy is the reason why our team has been a longtime believer in Sonos, the wireless speaker maker who is now forcing Bose and Samsung to rethink their approach to audio. That belief that everything connected would need silicon led us to buy into the story of ARM Holdings and Qualcomm, long before they became fashionable.
When we started Mobilize in 2008, we wanted to do an event that explored the vistas opened by the internet in our pockets. We eschewed traditional powerhouses and went with the companies making bolder bets — whether it was Google, T-Mobile, ARM or Qualcomm. Fast forward to today, when the world is focused on apps and their impact, we have taken a step back and have redefined the charter of Mobilize, making it about much more than apps and smartphones.
Call it embedded computing, wearable computing or the internet of things — the underlying principle behind our worldview is that everything is (or will be) connected. And the reason that is usable is because we have the cloud — a distributed and on-demand computing resource that can quickly and cheaply make sense of the streams that come from everything. While some might bemoan the lack of innovation in mobile in 2013, we believe that the best is ahead of us — thanks to our world, which is becoming totally connected.
Two of my colleagues — Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Fitchard — will co-host our Mobilize 2013 conference on October 16 and 17 in San Francisco and are going to ask these questions: What happens when everything is connected? How does it change the idea of a product, a service or what is even a technology? Does this change business models? Does this open up new opportunities and if yes, what are the ways to benefit from those? And who loses?
Like all our events, Mobilize is just going to be the start of a conversation about the future, one we will continue to explore in months to come — in our publication, in our meetups, in person and on Twitter. I hope you can continue to participate, this week and into the future, for I do believe that when everything is connected, everything changes — for good (and bad.)