Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit, Day 1

PNWS header logoTechvibes is a sponsor of the Pacfiic Northwest Wireless Summit,, so I thought it’d be cool if I posted after both days events.

Today was the “Leadership Summit,” with about 50 attendees from many different countries and cities (including Calgary … ummm … that was me), to talk about leadership, convergence, world-class performance and global opportunities … in a continuiing effort to position Pacific Northwest as the Gateway to North American wireless and digital media markets. It was an invite-only event (which I happened to be so lucky due to my CEO title at

I actually think about the “Pacific Northwest” in this manner to include Calgary, frankly (and probably Edmonton if I thought hard about it) … in addition to Seattle. The world is a big place, and regionally we’re much stronger positioned together (such as MoMoVan hosting the Mobile Monday Conference in 2010). I’m surprised I don’t see more of this thinking back in Calgary … maybe I’ll come across more Calgary people in tomorrow’s conference. (I’m speaking on a Wavefront technology panel, tomorrow at 1:40 pm, by the way, so if you’re at the conference, come say hi).

Ok, today’s highlights … in no particular order:

Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit Day 1– First, gotta give props to Michael Bidu, Christine Chowaniec from WinBC and any others involved in this event; you can see that this is not a job for them (they do MoMoVan, too, fyi) … it is a passion to make a great city greater … and it happens because of people like them!

– Conference was a great combination of small and big companies, public and private, and gov’t and education

– In lean times, focus on your main differenentiator … do your “one thing,” really well

– I liked Anshu Agarwal (Keynote Systems), positioning on mass adoption of mobile applications covering the spectrum of entertainment (movies on demand, digital distribution, media sharing), socializing (friend finder, etc…) and concierge (appt scheduling, shopping assistance, driver licenses auto updating) … thinking 2007 was the start (with iPhone joining the then limited smartphone selection), to 2009 with “cloud computing” applications moving to 2020 when the “personal mobile assistant” leads to mass adoption. He likened it to the same timeline of broadband adoption, which started in 1995 and by 2007 is pretty well ubiqutous. In short, the time to invest in mobile applications is NOW.

– Dr. Gerri Sinclair (Executive Director, Centre for Digital Media) gave a passionate speech about media convergence, and offered up a Telefonica view of the future which includes a seamless experience no matter what screen you are using (PC or mobile). If you haven’t checked into the Centre for Digital Media, you should … looks like an awesome institution.

– Convergence can mean a couple different things: getting all our appliances into one device, getting our content delivered to us no matter which device we’re using … the panel cautioned that the old model of selling franchise’s to us (and making us buy content more than once), such as music songs, ringtones, videos on DVD, streaming videos, games is going to end at some point as consumers get fed up (no really, I’ve enjoyed buying the album, cassette tape, CD, and MP3 of my favorite songs over the years).

– In the “world-class performance panel,” I liked the thought that productivity tools in this stage of mobile application development is an important piece of the puzzle (did someone say Mob4Hire? 🙂

– Regarding V.C., the dark and gloomy cloud over all our heads, … there is still money out there, but Canada is starved for it. Canadian startups go looking for $500K … the same start up in the valley looks for $5M. The Canadian gov’t figures we’ve got a V.C. deficiency of tens of millions of dollars … it’s really more in the billions

– Steve Morley, Former VP Technology, Qualcomm, was awesome … I won’t give you his verbatim, but more or less, “Vancouver is a wireless hub” in North America and to start thinking BIG and acting BIG. Believe in yourself …

– In the Global opportunities panel, Dr. Wang Jing, Secretary-General, TD-SCDMA forum in China gave an enlightening look at 3G adoption in China … in short, within 3 to 5 years, China is going to be HUGE … there is roughly $550B U.S.D. being spent on 3G infrastructure over that time frame.

– The always entertaining Tony Fish from London (who LOVED Grouse Mountain the day before) mentioned that “Europe is not a unified market. Mobile is very different in each country.” And, did you know that 41% of all data on the iPhone actually comes side-loaded through Wi-Fi, not over wireless, and not surprisingly, 90% don’t know about it (or even care for that matter)

– Last but not least, keep your eyes on Wavefront … … some very cool announcements coming!

Ok, that’s it for tonight … I’ll close with a quote from Don Fast, Deputy Minister of Technology, Trade and Economic Development for British Columbia, who also closed the day 1 summit: “Wireless is one of the most important sectors of our economy”  … with the co-operation I see between gov’t, public and private companies, I suspect it will become even more important in the trillion dollar global industry!