Predictions 2018: Cars Steal Mobility Innovation Thunder from Smartphones

Vehicles now appear to be the mobile innovation platform of choice as smartphones begin to level off in terms of new functionality.

Connected.car

We soon will be connecting new mobile platforms and handheld and wearable devices with the internet of things to help us do new and routine functions faster and more accurately. We're also thinking this will happen sooner rather than later.

For one example, in the not-too-distant future we'll be wearing augmented-reality or virtual-reality glasses that will use facial recognition software connected to the cloud to identity a person walking toward you—should you decide to utilize that function.

That's just one use case combining new mobile app platforms with internet of things networks. Wouldn't it be nice to recognize an acquaintance or friend, and not remembering his or her name, be able to use such a system to refresh your memory before you actually shake hands?

Then again, privacy issues come to the fore when strangers are involved. That's a topic for another day.

As the late, great Gilda Radner (as Rosanne Rosannadanna) used to say on "Saturday Night Live": "It's always something!"

As we look ahead to IT mobility next year, cars now appear to be the innovation platform of choice as smartphones begin to level off in terms of new functionality. Agree? Disagree? You can bet we’ll see some slam-bang cool new mobility features for vehicles at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, here are some timely and cogent observations from respected thought leaders in this sector:

Mark Anderson, CEO, Strategic News Service: Cars are now outshining smartphones in terms of innovation.

  • “The car replaces the PC and smartphone as the exciting new test and launch platform for apps and innovations. New efforts will include personalization, wireless locking and syncing, home/car connections, car/car connections, car/internet connections, smarter navigation, shared memory and databases, and new entertainment features. Hardly a week goes by without new international announcements in autonomous- and connected-car innovations, with the new rollout dates now just around the corner.
  • “The smartphone is now a zombie. Steve [Jobs] is dead, copycats eat margins, China and South Korea subsidize their phones, real innovation takes a vacation. Google is the only source of innovation now. For everyone else, phones show the same level of real innovation as Asian copycat patents.
  • “Drones of all kinds dominate military planning. Imagine one F-35 or aircraft carrier vs. 1,000 armed, intelligent, autonomous, swarming drones. Or 1,000 vs. 1,000. Or one submarine vs. 500 underwater torpedo drones. Warfare will never be the same.”

Ofer Amitai, CEO of Portnox: Mobility of the workforce continues to expand.
One of the clear trends for 2018 is a rise in workforce mobility. With more employees working remotely, organizations are enjoying a significant drop in their capital expenditures (many have even given up on the physical office space), the technology flexibility it affords results in more areas of cybersecurity vulnerability that could act as a gateway for hackers into the enterprise network.”

Rob Strechay, SVP Product, Zerto: Hybrid cloud for mobility becomes a reality in 2018.
“In 2017, companies dipped their toes into a combination of managed service providers (MSP), public cloud and on-premises infrastructure. In 2018, organizations will look to leverage hybrid clouds for orchestration and data mobility to establish edge data centers that take advantage of MSPs with large bandwidth into public clouds, ultimately bringing mission critical data workloads closer to front-end applications that live in the public cloud. Companies will also leverage these capabilities to bring test or QA workloads to burst in a MSP or public cloud. Having the ability to move data back and forth from MSPs, public clouds and on-premises infrastructure will also enable companies to take advantage of the costs structure that hybrid cloud provides."

John Carione, Strategy and Product Marketing Leader at Quick Base: Field service management will be the next no-code application power user.

"One industry well-poised to embrace no-code applications is field service management. Right now the industry is still heavily reliant on rudimentary tablets for everything from monitoring inspections to warehouse maintenance to reporting damaged inventory. We expect field service management personnel to be the next power users of no-code applications to help transform their workflow processes out in the field, driven directly by the field worker themselves on a daily basis.

“This shift also spurs another trend we’ll see in 2018: mobile applications will continue to become just simply ‘applications.’ The lines will be blurred between desktop and mobile as data and processes become more context aware as a user moves from the field back to the office.”

Jason Macy, CTO of Forum Systems: API security becomes a business use case for mobility.
From IoT to mobile and cloud, APIs underlie the modern computing infrastructure. While OWASP’s inclusion of ‘Underprotected APIs’ in the OWASP Top 10 – 2017 RC1 list helped to elevate the criticality of API security, the Wishbone hack, the Instagram vulnerability and the Circle with Disney web filter API Management flaw demonstrated that organizations continue to provide services and integration via APIs that are susceptible to compromise and malicious access. The explosive proliferation of APIs will continue in 2018, and the loss of data and impact to reputation will spur organizations to (finally) carve out a meaningful portion of security spending for protecting APIs."

David Glickman, CEO of Ultra Mobile:“Consolidation in 2018 will be a reality for MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), who will either thrive or be acquired next year.”

Gary Hallgren, President of Arity: Several observations about mobility in 2018.

  • Autonomous vehicles: "In the world of autonomous vehicles, we predict we are going to see much more incremental progress, and a slow and steady shift toward collaboration. Right now, it seems many are quick to imagine that a utopia of fully autonomous vehicles is just around the corner; however, the reality is that right now our algorithms just understand how humans drive with humans. Given this, our algorithms will need to evolve to better understand the nuances of how humans drive with semi- and fully autonomous vehicles; how various models from different manufacturers interact with each other on the road; and in diverse environments, infrastructure and weather conditions."
  • Co-opetition: "We expect to see businesses across the auto and mobility ecosystem forming consortiums to drive innovation and collaboration in this evolving landscape. This means we should see these big transportation players cooperating closely with their fiercest competitors to create more innovative offerings that will create a smarter and more useful system for everyone."
  • Shared mobility: "The transportation system is broken and as new services emerge to solve for its inefficiencies, consumer habits will rapidly change. We're already seeing trends that point to increased consumer adoption of shared mobility -- including ridesharing such as Uber and Lyft, as well as car share services like Turo and Maven. Eventually, this shared mobility economy will become so large that we'll likely see it diversify into niche brands and use cases. For instance, we may see companies that specifically cater to couples on date nights, parents with kids, business commuters and more."
  • Cutting the car: "Just as cable television users are cutting the cord in favor of streaming, this rise of shared mobility will lead some consumers to cutting the car. Personal car ownership will decrease over the years as alternative types of auto mobility flourish, and we project that Europe specifically will reach peak car by 2020. How soon we will see these shifts occur elsewhere remain to be seen, but it's safe to say that personal mobility will look drastically different a decade from today."
Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he...