Qualcomm: Blending Physical and Cyber Worlds

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Oh, the mobile phone. Once upon a time it was just that—a phone. Tack on 20 years and a barrage of innovative capabilities, gadgets, and apps; it now supplies us with endless entertainment and the means to live more connected, productive lives.

At the forefront of evolving mobile and digital technology: Qualcomm. As the world’s largest producer of fabless semiconductor wireless chipsets and software technology, the company powers a majority of all devices. Its products are in the hands of 3.3 billion users worldwide and more than 7 billion devices roaming the planet today. By the turn of the decade, this number is projected to skyrocket—nearly quadrupling—to 25 billion devices by 2020.

It’s a world—and growth—that CEO Paul Jacobs has been preparing for. In his presentation at TUCON 2013, he shared how Qualcomm progressively laid the foundation for digital distribution of data. Through the use of integration and messaging technology (to name a few), the company today has a robust and vastly connected platform that allows the business to remain agile and operate cost-effectively.

And it’s enabling them to focus on future endeavors. Specifically, enabling users to merge physical and cyber spaces and be more aware, informed, engaged, and knowledgeable about what’s happening in the world around them.

Digital 6th Sense: Bridging the Physical and Mobile Divide

“Our natural senses enable us to perceive and interact with the world around us,” Jacobs explained. “There’s an entire digital dimension we can’t perceive directly.” By placing handheld devices at the center of it all, he believes users can gain a “Digital 6th Sense.”

For example, when synced with a smartphone, a wristwatch takes on a whole new purpose than being a keeper of time—buzzing to notify users of incoming email or text messages. When integrated with mobile apps, the possibilities are endless. Want updates on sports scores? No problem—get alerts as the game progresses.

The beauty of this approach is two-fold. One, it saves us time. Rather than fielding information from multiple devices and apps, users can be instantly notified when information of value is received by simply glancing down at a single interface. Two, it helps filter through the noise and accelerate time to value. By controlling what information is delivered from what source, users get data they can use.

What Does the Future Hold?

As sensors become more common in machines, objects, and places, Jacobs anticipates devices will be able to do more than detect location and movement. They will also listen, sense, and tap into resources from the immediate surroundings.

Qualcomm is helping transcend integration and connectivity so benefits could include capabilities like auto-authorizing passengers in a car to share/play music; wirelessly procuring power; being notified by your refrigerator that the freezer door was left open; and a host of others that come from other industries, such as healthcare.

While no one knows what will happen in the next 20 years, it’s clear there will be no shortage of creative ways of using and applying this technology.

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