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Verizon and AT&T Sound Off On Mobility at OU’s ITS Day 2013


By Mish Gajewski

This morning Ohio University began its annual ITS Day with IT professionals Sean Davidson and Jamie Sullivan. The two kick-off speakers, while hailing from rival networks (Verizon and AT&T respectively), shared a similar focus in their conversation: mobility. Davidson, a Verizon senior service program manager, started his discussion by assuring the approximately 30 ITS students, faculty, and alumni that the future of communication rests in mobility.

“For millennials, you guys, what is now the norm was once sci-fi,” Davidson said. “Things are changing, and they’re changing very fast.”
Davidson spoke through the progress Verizon has made over the past ten years as providers of mobile communication and the company’s new stress on broader, mobile connectivity.

“Mobility and Cloud are king,” he said, outlining the new importance of solid Cloud technologies for not just end users but for the companies which provide these services. “In three words or less, [the Cloud is] network, application, infrastructure.”

Sixty-six percent of all technological company employees now use at least two mobile devices for work on a daily basis, with 397 million mobile workers worldwide. 2012 saw a 73 percent increase in remote IT employees. Davidson’s statistics stressed the new trend of mobility in not only public consumers but in the corporate sector.

Mobility now not only influences the world as a product of convenience, but, Davidson stressed, it is an unshakable necessity for any successful business – advice likely not lost on the many future IT professionals in attendance. Davidson posed and answered the question “Are millennials driving corporate IT strategy?” He shared the results of a 2012 Verizon survey in which 35 percent of project managers strongly agreed that millennials do in fact greatly influence corporate strategy. Davidson concluded that young IT students and upcoming professionals have a far greater impact on corporate decision-making than most managers would like to admit.

Sullivan, a mobility application consultant with AT&T, offered a differing perspective on corporate and public mobility through his focus on the rising importance of applications. “The future is application-driven,” he said.

Sullivan, like Davidson, made sure to link his description of the mobilized future to the present millennials. “Part of what you [students] are going to be doing is taking old processes and making them new again,” he said.

Sullivan gave examples of products such as Mobile 311, an Atlanta-based government application that offers citizens a multitude of public services. Constituents can report pot holes, graffiti and unkempt lawns, among other things, from their phones with the Mobile 311 app and can receive notifications on the progress of their reports. It also gives live bus route updates and arrival times. Through this, Sullivan demonstrated how the future – the application-driven future – will see apps integrated into all regions of daily public life, from emergency preparedness apps to a diabetes management app.

“If you ever want to make a living for a long, long time, take your IT background and relate it to the health care field,” Sullivan advised, highlighting many founded and emerging examples of mobile uses in the health care sector.

Both speakers repeatedly stressed the critical nature mobility now has in the corporate world and its effects on public, consumer life.

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