From the nation dousing itself in ice water for a good cause to wearable mobile devices topping holiday gift lists, mobile innovation is yet again skidding into home plate as another year draws to a close. With consumer mobile data use climbing, competition intensifying and vigorous wireless network and spectrum investment underway, we at Mobile Future are proud to present our own holiday tradition--the 2014 Mobile Year in Review.
Three trends to watch:
• The future is mobile--and video. Ellen's Oscar selfie may have crashed Twitter with over a million retweets, but the big trend of 2014 was mobile plus video. In April, Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed the future of Facebook is mobile. The nation got a glimpse of this with the Ice Bucket Challenge, in which 3.7 million Instagram videos helped raise $115 million for ALS research.
• Wearble is the new orange. By year-end, 19 million connected wearable devices will ship worldwide. And, we see the evidence of ready-to-wear wireless fashion on wrists across the nation as Americans adopt en masse health and wellness devices that measure everything from heart rate to steps to sleep patterns. Leave it to mobile innovation to nearly eradicate the wristwatch (as we all check our phones for the time) and then revive it as a powerful, connected tool that's improving our lives. Next stop? Your eyeballs. Check out Google's prototype for a wireless contact lens that can measure your blood sugar.
• Data traffic growth is the new normal. More sophisticated and bandwidth-intensive mobile applications (like video) and ever more high-resolution, high-performing devices will continually mean more and more demand for wireless capacity. The good news? Wireless carriers invested a record $33 billion this past year to keep pace with consumer demand. Policies that allow them to continue to do so in the years ahead are essential, as is the continued press for open and ample spectrum auctions that allow wireless providers to expand the amount of overall wireless capacity devoted to commercial spectrum use.
This week the Mobile Future team had the opportunity to spend time with a group of remarkable mobile entrepreneurs who represent inspiring and public-spirited wireless innovation. The Mobileys awards, which were presented this week, honored mobile innovators who are making a lasting difference in their communities through their pioneering products and services.
This year's Mobileys winners are true examples of the amazing results when great ideas, hard work and mobile technology are combined:
Code Blue- A mobile support system that helps young people experiencing depression or bullying get immediate help from their support network. Home base: San Francisco, CA
First Derm - A mobile app that connects users to professional dermatological advice to promote early detection of skin cancer and other ailments. Home base: San Francisco, CA
VolunteerMark - A mobile-friendly software that facilitates communication, scheduling and reporting between organizations and their volunteers. Home base: Merriam, KS
As mobile ends the year strong, 2015 presents even greater opportunities for mind-blowing progress, growth and investment in the next wave of American innovation and innovators. Happy holidays.
Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter, a technology executive and former senior federal government national security official, leads a coalition of technology companies/stakeholders dedicated to increasing investment and innovation in the burgeoning U.S. wireless sector.