Get Mobile Mini-Conference 2014

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The Get Mobile Conference featured speakers from the highest level of mobile communications. It was held in The Helix on Tuesday the 11th of November 2014 from 2 until 6 o’clock. The conference was focused on mobile marketing and new technologies.

1st Guest Speaker: Dr. Theo Lynn

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The speaker was once again Dr. Theo Lynn. One of the first things I remember him saying is that mobile is increasingly becoming our closest companion. Theo questioned whether the mobile phone is replacing our day to day life interacting with other people. Theo provided us with a few statistics  that prove this point.

  • 84% of people use their phone while watching tv
  • 56-57% while on the toilet
  • 18% while on a date or in the cinema.

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Another that Theo pointed out to us although it was already widely known, was that the ownership of mobile phones is constantly getting younger. Also that the phones being given to the younger generation is not just a standard phone but the most expensive and modern phones that are on the market. theo gave us some more statistics while going over this.

  • 96% of 18-25 year olds own a smartphone
  • 60% of those have an iPhone as their smartphone
  • 3% being the owners of a Blackberry

2nd Guest Speaker: Mark Hughes

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Our second guest speaker was Mark Hughes who is the Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of Digifeye. Mark let us know how Digifeye consists of a software which was built to analyse an images content in order to find a similar image online. This is done through merging computer vision and machine learning technology. Computers are trained to recognize different images and colour through Image Recognition Technology.

Mark believed that computers aren’t as good at recognition of imagery as humans are. Also stating how much more difficult it is to teach a computer recognition. By using the concept of IRT and designing an algorithim that helps to match picture to product. Digifeye has a really good idea that’s still in development. This is something that would be used and could be extremely successful un the very near future.

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3rd Guest Speaker: Cathal Gurrin

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Dr. Cathal Gurrin is a lecturer here at DCU in the School of Computing and he spoke to us about the topic of ’10 years of Pervasive Computing’. Cathal’s speech let us know just how vast and advanced the world of techdownload (1)nology is right now. A great stat that Cathal told us to back that up was that an iPhone of today is 60,000 as powerful as the computer that guided Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon, which is just an incredible fact. Cathal mentioned that the average person always has a source of technology with them at basically all times proving just how pervasive technology is in today’s society. He also talked about the upcoming technologies per decade. With the computer being in the 80’s, laptop for the 90’s, mobile devices for the 00’s and now he believes that this decade is the time of the ‘ wearable devices’. Wearable devices like the Google Watch and the Google Glass.

Cathal then moved onto the discussion of a concept called lifelogging. Lifelogging enables the concept of a surrogate memory and lifeloggers are those people who wear small camera devices to document every second of their life. These commercial devices take 1000’s of photos, hours of audio, sensor readings and create a visual memory of 100’s of terabytes of data essentially documenting your life. Although Cathal seemed excited about the idea of lifelogging I didn’t share the same enthusiasm. The reason for that is because I find the whole idea of it far too invasive and controlling but it is incredible to see how far technology has come.

4th Guest Speaker: Eoin Cruise

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Eoin Cruise, the market lead at Microsoft Ireland gave an interesting presentation on Microsoft’s vision of having “a computer on every desk in every home”nokia-green-logo

Eoin was an employee for Nokia before they merged with Microsoft in April 2014 when Microsoft paid $7.2 billion for Nokia’s devices and business services. Microsoft have come in with the intention to build from the bottom to the top. They plan to get the best affordable smartphone available on the market. They know that there is still a huge segment of the market who are not willing to pay 250-1000 for a phone, yet still want to have a modern and trendy phone to keep up with the technology of today. The Nokia Lumia is on the market today ranging from 60-250 but are still a behind the likes of lower priced Samsung and HTC smartphones. However it is not a short term plan obviously. Then the plan for the distant future to be competing in the high-end range along with the likes of Apple’s iPhone’s. Microsoft’s other aims are top build a universal system and behave as one windows ecosystem across various devices and upgrade previous devices before realising new ones.

5th Guest Speaker: Paul Davey

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Our fifth speaker was Paul Davey who was the mobile lead at IBM. From inventing the ATM to the swipe card, IBM has the most patents developed by any company in the world. It is now 103 years old and has over 430,000 employees worldwide. 4,000 of which are employed in Ireland. IBM has been in Ireland for over 50 years now.

The most amazing thing about Paul’s talk was about Watson. Watson is a new piece of technology that at the moment can be seen to be able to help treat cancer. Watson is a cognitive technology that” acts as a natural extension to what humans can do at their best”. Paul showed us a video of Watson in use and it was brilliant. The video shows Watson in production. Also it shows Watson reading 3500 texts and 400,000 other pieces of data and the provided the doctors with three potential methods of treating the patient.  They are currently using Twitter’s social data to further develop Watson.

IBM’s supercomputer Watson:

6th Guest Speaker: Alex Meisl

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Alex Meisl is the co-founder of Sponge and Wiforia. He deals with mobile marketing. Out of all the speakers at the conference Alex Meisl was my favourite. During his talk he gave us some cool and interesting facts. Such as:

  • 1/3 would give up sex instead of their smartphone.
  • People have more mobile phones than toothbrushes.

Alex explained to us that he believes that many companies of today are making apps for the fun of it and as its the in thing for companies to do. He believes in doing this that they are forgetting the fundamental business practices. He gave us an example of an app doing the right thing. Since Walmart made their app, their buyers are coming in twice as often and Alex believes they remembered the fundamental business practices.

Alex also let us know of what he thinks is holding consumers back from buying a product: Fear, uncertainty and doubt. He also feels by not putting their location on Google Maps, that shops are being very thoughtless and that is could be losing them so much money. Alex and his company have helped develop many campaigns for IKEA, Bird’s Eye  and many more. One of the most successful ideas was Tesco’s Club-card. It is great as it allows Tesco to recognize what customers as a whole and individually like and do not like. They Club-card also provides the customers with vouchers for shopping which is rewarding and can influence their buyers to come back and spend more.

Alex also showed us this brilliant ad made by British Airways:

Lastly he gave us six things to take from his speech. Which was:

  1. Don’t forget standard business practices
  2. mCommerce is more important than mShopping
  3. Get all customers to self-identify
  4. Mobile makes anything a digital getaway
  5. Context, especially location is the key driver
  6. Don’t forget old tech- Sms

Conclusion

Overall I found the conference actually quite enjoyable, although a bit long! Being so use to having all this new and innovative technology around me whilst growing up, it is actually quite hard to believe that business’ are struggling to keep up. However as Alex Meisl discussed some of the companies he had worked with and that Nokia could sometimes struggle with the shift in power towards mobile devices representing a huge challenge for companies. The conference made it clear to me that we really do live in a time where handheld devices and smaller can swing you from going to shops to looking up things and buying them online showing a great new power.

A few images from the conference

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