Photo by Pierre Metivier
Mobile innovations have developed incredibly in the last few years – and 2014 looks to be an even bigger leap forward. Unveiling recent devices and major enhancements to the specs of those already on the market, the giants in the mobile industry are opening new horizons to businesses – and providing amazing new tools to mobile developers that empower them to implement their most ambitious ideas both for enterprise and consumer applications.
If you plan on staying ahead of the competition, we recommend keeping a close eye on three key areas now at the forefront of the customer’s rapidly expanding list of mobile experience options: M2M, Powerful Chips and Wearables.
In the transportation, health, retail, and education fields, using intelligent mobile connections to make services faster – and also more customized and convenient – seems to be a popular theme. This is true not only for the GSMA – the biggest name in the M2M-world – and its partners AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, KT and Vodafone, but also for General Motors, IBM, Accenture, Ericsson, Huawei, Samsung, Synchronoss Technologies and many other companies.
Perhaps several years ago M2M solutions were treated as gimmicks, but now they have proven to deliver a much richer, informative experience and they are steadily continuing their expansion into all areas of human life.
'Mobile connectivity is shaping the world around us, enabling a wealth of valuable context-aware services that are delivered immediately to consumers and businesses,' stated Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer of the GSMA.
During the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, an annual event nicknamed the blueprint for the NEXT big innovation, the world’s leading companies showcased their latest M2M innovations to visitors. Let’s take a closer look:
GSMA's Connected City, an M2M showcase at MWC2014, designed as a realistic city environment.
Automobile innovation highlights
- AT&T Drive Studio presented AT&T Drive, a modular global platform developed to help auto manufacturers produce connected-car innovations.
- General Motors revealed the 2014 Opel Insignia and 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – equipped with connected-vehicle technologies and features.
- Ericsson presented the Sensus Connect system that combines navigation, audio, and “infotainment” for a safer, more comfortable driving experience.
- Vodafone & BMW together presented an M2M connected-car solution that is shaping the future of the automotive industry.
Speaking of automobile innovations, we can't but mention Apple CarPlay – in-car information and entertainment systems – debuting with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. With Apple’s Siri virtual assistant technology at its core, CarPlay responds to voice commands allowing drivers to make calls, listen to voicemails, messages & music, use Apple Maps.
Besides partners mentioned above, the company announced 13 more manufacturers to integrate CarPlay in the future: BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.
Home & entertainment innovation highlights
- AT&T Digital Life revealed an end-to-end all-IP, all-wireless solution for home automation and energy management available to service providers via the software-as-a-service (SAAS) model.
- KT showed off Smart Home@Cloud, an elegant digital security solution provided via a hub and cloud services.
- KT presented an NFC-empowered pole that transmits movies & music, tickets & coupons to NFC-enabled smartphones.
Sports innovation highlights
This sector is represented by Deutsche Telekom together with IBM as its partner, revealing the "Smarter Stadium". This M2M solution intends to alleviate crowd bottlenecks, enhance safety measures and open new horizons to sport facilities.
Retail innovation highlights
- Smarter Retail / Food Tracing by Deutsche Telekom – Besides sport innovations Deutsche Telekom offered Smarter Retail / Food Tracing to retail customers enabling the monitoring of fresh produce from its source, throughout its route to the supermarket and to its location within the store itself.
- Smart Retail by Vodafone – This M2M technology creates intelligent retail displays that offer targeted digital advertising plus reduces energy consumption and costs.
Medical innovation highlights
- g-Manual by KT – The mobile app g-Manual goes as far as diagnosing a patient's diseases and prescribing medicine.
- mHealth by Vodafone – Interaction between doctors, patients and medical devices is brought to a whole new level.
Advances in processing power enable software abilities that both developers and users benefit from. Equally beneficial are breakthroughs in device battery life through innovations that have reduced processor power consumption. Apple stepped up its game with a 64-bit processor chip, leaving other chip makers scrambling to catch up. Marvell, MediaTek, and Intel also announced 64-bit models but their mass production won't start until the end of 2014:
- Marvell’s 64-bit Armada PXA 1928 SoC features four 1.5GHz Cortex A53 cores and is accompanied by a Vivante GC5000 GPU.
- MediaTek MT6732 mobile SoC is 64-bit, LTE-compatible with a base of four ARM Cortex A53 cores.
- Intel is producing Atom Merrifield and Moorefield 64-bit chips, with plans to release the dual-core Merrifield later this year.
Sadly this means there won’t be any 64-bit Android devices before 2015. This will provide considerably more power for mobile app developers to play with in designing apps for new mobile devices. In the meantime, chipmakers are trying to maximize the output of current processors by adding more cores – issuing hexa- and octa-cores– and integrating better GPUs.
Finally, the most booming trend in mobile – wearable technology. No matter how you feel about wearable tech and its use, there is one thing that is guaranteed: it is changing the face of the mobile market. Encompassing practically anything that humans can attach to their bodies or clothing – from wrist watches and eyewear to fitness bands, these devices provide lots of room to roam for the imaginations of mobile app designers and developers.
Samsung's Gear Fit, a fitness band with many smartwatch functions
Huaweis TalkBand B1
Open road of possibilities
The year 2014 has just begun, and these trends are just the tip of a huge iceberg of next-generation mobile technologies. We haven’t even yet mentioned other innovative solutions in areas such as cyber security, mobile payment services, communications intelligence and many others – further expanding opportunities for developers to bring their most daring ideas to life and help make this world a better, more empowering place to live.