Notes from the Expo Floor - Home
Brian Kirk
OCT 24, 2012 11:07 AM
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The inaugural MobileCon event just wrapped up in San Diego, bringing 5,000 IT professionals from various fields down to an unusually rainy southern California. Designed specifically for the IT executive and professional, most of the content at the conference was about different enterprise solutions centered around the increasingly complex mobile marketplace.
The conference's keynotes brought together leaders from industry and government to talk about the current issues in the fields of mobile computing, presenting analysis and solutions for startups and corporations alike. 
The exhibition floor, where I spent the vast majority of my time, was framed similarly, with most of the exhibitors displaying their services for enterprise solutions. With it being very business-centric, many of the booths offered up examples of how the technology in question can actually serve the needs of businesses by addressing ease-of-use and security. Additionally, there were many meeting spaces reserved for the sponsors and exhibitors, giving people a chance to get away from the noise on the floor to a more private encounter if needed. It highlights the focus of many of the exhibitors: securing partnerships.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication was a very popular subject matter on the floor, with several companies displaying practical applications of sensors. AT&T, with one of the flashier booth-spaces, devoted a lot of their energy (with me at least) in demonstrating their approach to assistance, not with speedier or bigger "tubes," but by instituting a comprehensive approach to enterprise assistance, filling in a business's need for analytics, M2M implementation, or any other step in the process of utilizing pervasive technology. I nerded out with Bruce, a senior product manager with AT&T, talking about just how complex it actually is to mine the increasing amounts of data from M2M communications. While it may seem simple to use embedded sensors, he said that their focus is on optimizing the process for businesses, filling in the holes as needed.
Along those same lines, Swissmed Mobile presented applications of technology along the lines of implementing existing healthcare devices with mobile computing to bring relevant information and data to healthcare practitioners within an existing and trusted framework.  While doctors might be slow in adopting new technology, they are generally open to augmenting existing technology, and Swissmed’s approach is to make the conversation between devices a little easier. They didn't try to reinvent the wheel; they are using what's already there and finding ways to manage existing connectivity.
Another of the prevalent trends at the conference was mobile device management. With more and more employees accessing work emails through their personal smartphones, the risk increases for sensitive work data squirting through the cracks. Companies like FileTrek offer data tracking throughout a workplace, monitoring files and data, giving supervisors and project managers a way to see where all of the bits of sensitive information travel. Airwatch takes a different approach, basically providing external lockdown and quarantine of data stored on a phone should the need arise.
Hopefully the conference grows over the next few years, as many of the solutions presented are to problems with few easy answers. Technology can help businesses, but sometimes having assistance outside of your specialty can ensure efficiency. As more and more sensors are deployed, employees become more reliant on their personal smartphones, and healthcare more fully embraces the potential of ubiquitous computing, the need for technology solutions to mobile problems will continue to increase.
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