Fueling the Next Billion Connected Devices: MWC Day 2 Recap

The excitement this week in Barcelona would make you think that Messi is in town for a match against computing and the networks that feed the billions of devices that dot our globe.  Mobile World Congress is in full photo 1.JPGswing with the who’s who of the tech industry sharing their latest wares and meeting to discuss the next generation of innovation.

I cannot underscore how struck I’ve been at the rate of telco equipment industry innovation at MWC.  It was only two years ago that I attended MWC and learned about the new NFV specifications moving through ETSI, and today I was fortunate to hear from network leaders Openet, Procera Networks, and Amartus on real solutions for telco billing solutions based on NFV powered service delivery.  This solution is a microcosm of the networking landscape today as groups of companies work together to deliver application, orchestration and infrastructure solutions together to solve point business challenges, in this case innovating billing solutions that historically were designed for voice only accounts.  With new NFV based solutions, telco operators will be better able to accurately bill for different types of data consumption along with voice usage and more rapidly deploy solutions to market.  Martin Morgan, VP of Marketing at Openet stated that initial solutions are already being deployed by select customers with range of scale from 50K to 50M customer bases.

Sandra Rivera, Intel’s VP and GM of the Network Platform Group, called out this type of ecosystem collaboration at the core of Intel’s heritage.  Her group’s Network Builder’s program has grown from 30 to 125 vendors in the 18 months since its inception and has begun adding telco operators such as Telefonica and Korea Telecom to its member roles.  Sandra explained that collaboration between providers and operators will help accelerate adoption of NFV solutions to the marketplace as providers can prioritize focus on use cases that provide the best opportunity for financial reward and operators can more quickly evaluate solutions coming to market.  She highlighted shepherding this broad collaboration as critical to Intel’s efforts in driving NFV adoption in 2015, and given the momentum behind the effort there’s little reason to expect anything other than continued growth in POC results and deployments in 2015.  To keep track of the latest developments in network ecosystem innovation visit the Intel Network Builders site.

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A blog about MWC would not be complete without mention of mobile device innovation, and one topic that has risen to the surface once again this year is the focus on mobile security.  I was fortunate to chat with executives from the Intel Security group to get the latest on Intel’s security solutions.  Mark Hocking, VP & GM of Safe Identity and Security at Intel Security discussed Intel’s latest innovation, TrueKey.  This cool technology enables a central resource for password management integrating facial recognition, biometrics, encryption technologies, and physical password entry to make the management of passwords manageable and more secure for the user.  I have to admit that as a person who has invented at least 50 ways to describe my dog to form different iterations of the seemingly endless permutations of passwords required to navigate today’s web, I was delighted to learn that soon simply smiling at my PC would provide a baseline of secure engagement with popular sites.  When Mark explained that TrueKey could add levels of security based on my requirements, I felt even better about the technology.

With the growth in wearable devices, the landscape of mobile security is evolving.  Intel’s Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, Gary Davis, caught up with me to share Intel’s strategy for addressing this new area for consumer vulnerability.  With over 780 million wearables expected to be live by 2019, users will be increasingly using mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets as aggregators of personal data.  Today’s reality is far from pretty in terms of secure use of mobile devices with <35% of mobile users not utilizing a phone PIN and even less employing mobile security or encryption technology for data.  Intel is working on this challenge, Gary explained, by bringing security technology to mobile devices through integration in silicon as well as working with device manufacturers to design and deliver security enabled solutions to market.

Come back tomorrow for my final update from Barcelona, and please listen to my interviews with these execs and more.