FlashForward: watching your children now is a sneak peek into the future.


A strange sense of urgency drove me to write this post, aware it’s going to be emotionally biased, a consequence of deep understanding of what the future will bring, similarly to what happened in the TV series FlashForward, theorizing about the impact on humans if suddenly, we all, could see and live 2 minutes (and 17 secs) of our future ahead.

What would you do differently now if you were to know what’s going to happen? Think about it for a second, wouldn’t it be stressful?

In the wireless industry, my industry, there is so much to do, and so little time…(funny clip here). When I met Miles Flint last week in UK, I found myself talking for more than half an hour just to update him on the current status. Change is the only permanent thing in my industry, and truth to be told, in the last three months, many things changed in my markets (Spain, Portugal & Mediterranean) reshaping the scenario.

In parallel, seems to be it starts to be easier for me to meet with other executives in airplanes or in transit, at airports, than back at my home country, in Spain.  Same morning, prior to my meeting with Miles, I found myself sitting in the plane discussing (actually arguing) with Miguel Milano, EMEA president at salesforce.com, about BlackBerry and what BlackBerry is about vs Apple (he is a confessed Apple fan since the 80ies).

I met Miguel at Club Malaga Valley, a tech initiative in the south of Spain. Miguel and I are members and supporters, formerly VP at Oracle at that time, Miguel is definitively, someone with an opinion.

Same exact points were raised in both discussions, summarizing now for convenience:

1. Myths:

No matter how tough facts or figures are, both Miguel and Miles struggle to believe canalys gave RIM #1 smartphone spot last year in Spain, or GfK reporting 54% of smartphone prepay (1 out of every 2 smartphones sold in prepay) is BlackBerry. Definitively, US media influence is too strong at this side of the pond, if I want to fight it, I’ll need to do it from the right side.

2. BlackBerry story:

I explained both where RIM stands strong and differentiates, following the internet paradigm, is all about production vs consumption (of content), active vs reactive, doers vs watchers, upload vs download. BlackBerry is simply better for content production: tweeting, facebooking, wordpressing (blogging: actually Forrester reports 42% of professional journalists using BlackBerry). An end to end approach: easier and better input mechanisms (keyboard) combined with close integration of apps and OS powered by the most efficient cloud messaging service.

Action point: we, RIM, are not properly marketing these facts, and we definitively should.

3. The future (as per this post title… I’ve seen it):

This is it, future is all about everything around us connected to the internet (Internet of Things) delivering data back and forth into the cloud, massive data (Big Data), and proliferation of new services and apps (Cloud Computing) that will deliver mobile experiences for us, humans (post PC era) in new devices, namely smartphones, tablets and the evolution of those.

As an example (same I used with Miles and Miguel): your smartphone will be able to monitor in real time your heartbeat (among other things like basic emotions and other biometrics), these data will be send over wirelessly to the cloud where an array of different cloud services will take intelligent decisions (without human intervention) based on different criteria, for instance, if your heartbeat drops suddenly from 80 to 40 beats/min, and your facebook age is above 55, weight more than 85 Kg with no Endomondo records of physical activity in last 2 years, then…. you probably have a heart attack and need assistance, therefore, and based on your GPS location, the closest medical service will be called to action.

This is one of the thousands of different services and use scenarios our smartphones will need to handle in the future, to make this a reality we need a strong post-PC wireless hardware and RTOS (Real Time Operating System), trully multitasking, interconnected to a powerful infrastructure (cloud) to handle any of those many different scenarios even simultaneously, including real time data, decisions and actions while doing everything else we already demand today from our devices (did I say multitasking?, I should have said extreme-multitasking). It’s not by coincidence QNX, early version of BlackBerry 10 OS was just designed for that.

Finally I was able to capture Miles’ and Miguel’s attention…. although couldn’t ‘convert’ them yet.


Miguel is today and will remain an Apple fan till we release a BB10 tempting experience in the 2nd half this year, however his 14 years old teenager is a BlackBerry evangelist, and, although Miguel struggles to understand why, this is a backdoor to change his perceptions and turn him back, which is something I am confident we will.

I guess the point is, if your own children, who will rule the world after us, have a preference for a different technology, watching them now is sort of a sneak peek into the future, isn’t it?

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