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March 15, 2017
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Mobile World Congress 2017 and the Connected World

Last week I was in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. As every year, it is a big event that gathers the greatest collection of companies and people in the greater mobile industry. This year was no exception as MWC was the meeting grounds for our industry and an opportunity to see what’s ahead.

Although there was a lot of coverage of smart phones & devices, cloud solutions, NFV/SDN network solutions, 5G and content delivery, I noticed one theme in particular that stuck out: the maturing and rapidly expanding solutions around the connected world. From smart cities, to connected cars & autonomous vehicles, to smart homes, to connected medical devices… and the list goes on.

Some of the highlights of connected world solutions from different companies at MWC included:

– AT&T’s smart cities, telematics, connected healthcare/medical devices and other data communities that will leverage their Indigo Platform and run on their SDN network.

– Ford highlighting their City of Tomorrow, which included their CARR-E spare tire transport devices.

– Verizon introducing their Exponent IOT Platform available to other service providers for Smart Communities, Connected Homes, Smart Utilities, and Telematics.

– Intel highlighting their new chips with imbedded 5G capabilities, which will be available in future BMW models for instant connectivity and as a platform to build telematics and autonomous vehicle applications.

– City of Taiwan with FarEastOne highlighting their Smart City initiative that covers functions like Water Disaster Management, Community Health, Smart Transportation, Smart City Operation and Management Center, Mobile Education Platform, and Mobile Commerce Ecosystem.

What was interesting about all the connected world solutions at MWC this year was how illustrative they were on the core principles that are needed in this new connected world digital ecosystem:
– All solutions need to work with each other across an expanding ecosystem of partners and environments. They need easy interoperability across solutions.
– All solutions need the ability to grow with new expanded functions beyond their initial starting point
– The connected world will need to run on a system of trust across ecosystem partners and consumers

These core principles consistently highlight the need for open source technologies that can support repeatable and sustainable solutions with a strong sense of collaboration across ecosystem partners.

If we look at the development of smart cities, each city has its own priority of what function to start with (emergency flood services vs. transportation management vs. community health services, etc.). Each smart city will develop and prioritize functionality based on their needs but will need to interact with connected cars, connected homes, connected medical devices and with other smart cities to allow its citizens and merchants to best leverage its facilities. Although each smart city is different, they all need a framework that allows expansion, growth and interoperability with other ecosystems.

The connected world runs on data: from the movement of data across multiple edge devices to the collection and correlation of data for intelligent decision-making.

The need for managing data movement and analytics at the edge and accumulated data analytics for intelligent actions has driven the use of open source NiFi for managing data movement and open source Hadoop for big data actionable intelligence across the new connected world ecosystems.

We are seeing a greater use of Hadoop based solutions (including HDFS, Yarn, Spark, Storm, Kafka, Hive, Hbase) that incorporate machine learning for the collection and correlation of massive amounts of data that are generated and processes in the connected world to driven intelligent actions and contextually aware real-time decision making. It allows smart cities and connected cars to aggregate data across the different functional component data sources to identify new insights and drive intelligent actions to respond to the ever-changing environmental conditions.

We are also seeing NiFi and MiNiFi (for smaller devices) based solutions used extensively in the connected world for the collection and distribution of data from multiple devices to support the ecosystems for smart cities, connect cars, connected homes, connected medical devices and other connected world solutions. NiFi has the advantage of easily managing the data movement across a very large set of diversified devices with bi-directional data flow and the ability to track data lineage across the end-to-end ecosystem. This has allowed the ever changing connected world solutions to have the flexibility to change at their needed pace. It has also supported the need for trust across the connected world ecosystem through real-time traceability and event level providence, allowing consumers and partners in the connected world ecosystems a level of confidence of where their data has gone and how is it being used.

This will be a continued theme in 2017 as the connected world will need greater interoperability across ecosystems and data analytics across a diversified set of data sources and devices will drive greater real-time decision making for functioning smart cities, connected cars, connected homes, connected medical devices and other parts of the connected world.

I look forward to see how next year’s Mobile World Congress will reflected the accelerated adoption of the connected world. We may even see all exhibitor solutions connected together in one connected world model.

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