06/30/2014 11:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Winning the Wireless World Cup


Last week the highest court in the land recognized the centrality of mobile when Chief Justice Roberts wrote in an opinion, "modern cell phones...are now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy." You don't have to be from Mars to understand we are in the midst of a dynamic mobile revolution-nearly 500,000 U.S. fans streamed coverage of the USA-Portugal World Cup game on their mobile devices through the ESPN app alone. Five days later, the WatchESPN streaming platform set a record with 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers during the USA-Germany game.

With mobile data consumption heating up alongside the world's biggest sporting event, the U.S. sits atop the global leaderboard when it comes to wireless connectivity and entrepreneurial ingenuity. American consumers are benefitting from record infrastructure investment--$33.1 billion in 2013 alone--as well as 23 U.S. providers offering 4G LTE service and a variety of plans, devices and providers. Meanwhile, mobile visionaries are responding in-kind by developing cutting-edge wireless apps, services, and products that are redefining our mobile future.

In an effort to spotlight the power and promise of startup pioneers, tech communities, and coffee house coders, Mobile Future has launched the second annual The Mobileys competition. The national innovation competition celebrates and supports early-stage applications and other mobile products that leverage wireless connectivity in new ways to have a positive social impact. The application period is open and a blue-ribbon judging panel is in place that includes distinguished individuals from the worlds of tech, media, mobile, venture capital, and angel funding.

Last year's winner, Page Out, an app co-founded by a volunteer firefighter and a coder in Wichita, Kansas, that helps organize and mobilize first responders in an emergency, took the top prize of $10,000. Since receiving that honor, Page Out continues to grow and is now looking at international opportunities to expand the business. Other winners celebrated the role of mobile in education, the safe incorporation of connectivity into vehicles and the ability of mobile consumers to play a more active role in their health via mobile.

There is no doubt this year's applicants will represent the vision, creativity and tenacity that defines mobile futurists.

Soccer great Pele once said: "Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." The American innovation spirit can be summed up in much the same way. I can't wait to see what the next wave of mobile-fueled progress brings to us all.


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.