EP #506: How the Internet of Things turns the world into an app – with author Gary Schwartz

We all have our own thoughts on what the Internet of Things will look and act like. We also have our concerns about how we will all interact with it be that with or without our knowledge. According to today’s guest, Gary Schwartz, we are entering a world of connected apps and our phone is the tie that binds it all together. What does this mean to our business, our security and our privacy?

Gary is a two-time author and the right guy to help chart a path for us on what the short future looks like for the Internet of Things economy. We tackle what the right layers are required in order to achieve the promise of a connected (and managed) world, the privacy debate that is raging in governments around the world and the opportunities that lie in front of the brave entrepreneurs willing to enter the fray.

Gary is a frequent guest of friend of UNTETHER and all his appearances can be found here.

Enjoy!



Key takeaways from this episode. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. Why is mobile so different from anything else that came before it? 3:10
2. What does “mobile” really mean? 6:30
3. What is the real “Internet of Everything” 8:00
4. Is the Internet of Things just adding sunk costs to the economy? 11:15
5. Why the smartphone is like a box of Cracker Jacks 15:03
6. The phone as the intelligent server and the world becomes the app economy 16:30
7. What are the first viable steps we need to take to enable the Internet of Things 23:25
8. Where are the opportunities to participate as entrepreneurs? 27:00
9. How do we get over privacy concerns? 28:25
10. How will we control our identity in the Internet of Things 35:15
11. Why is something like the Wireless Registry so important? 41:15
12. What happens when technology services the human condition 43:00

Raw Transcript

Rob: Hello everybody. Welcome to untether.tv. I am your host and founder, Rob Woodbridge. Before we start this, I got to ask you one big favor if you’re listening to this or watching this. I’ve setup a Patreon account at patreon.com/untether. What is Patreon? It is a place where if you want to support this show, you want to support untether.tv, you can donate up to … minimum $1 a month. All it takes is $1 a month and I will keep this show going forever. It gives me a little bit of luxury, a little bit of leeway to actually augment this show. You can obviously donate a little bit more, but this is an amazing, amazing thing called patreon.com. It helps people like me who are creating independent content actually be able to do this ongoing. If you are in the generous mood, go to patreon.com/untether and throw me a buck, $1 a month, $12 a year. Come on. I’d appreciate it very much. Let’s get on with this show.
We are about to sit down with one of my favorite people of all time, Gary Schwartz. He’s an author, multiple-time author. He’s actually written a couple books, great books, one called ‘The Impulse Economy’, the other is ‘Fast Shopper, Slow Store’. He’s a fellow Canadian, but he’s always on the road. He’s got his hand in everything that has to do with mobile. He’s also still a founder of Impact Mobile. I got to tell you something else; he’s also one of the guys that I consider a close … I hold close to my heart because he’s an Untethered Talks alum. The one and only Untethered Talks, Gary, and you were there. Thank you for doing it. I think this is actually your fourth …

Gary: I am honored. I was on one of the first little sequences you did.

Rob: No kidding. Yes, this is your fourth visit to untether.tv for an episode, so you’re among the elite. There is only one other guy that has done that, aside from [inaudible: 02:04], which we both know very well, who’s done 167 or 168 episodes with us.

Gary: It would be hard to compete with [inaudible: 02:10].

Rob: You’d have to basically start now and go for the next 3 years. Gary, thank you for coming on here. We really appreciate your time, man.

Gary: Thanks, Rob.

Rob: We are going to frame this session, because we’re going to get deep and dirty into this internet of things. There’s a recent … we talked about this a couple times on a bunch of other shows; ‘the internet things’ is a buzzword, we’ve heard it for so many years now. I want to get to the bottom of this. I want to understand what it means, the implications to the consumers. I want to understand what it means to businesses around the world. I want to understand what it means to the fact that, are people spying on us? What has this got to do with our privacy? I don’t know anyone else better to talk about this than Gary.

Gary: I have a POV, for sure.

Rob: There’s one thing that we need in this industry is a point of view. We don’t need all these tech blogs coming together to basically talk about the same thing and spew the same garbage. Let’s get down; point of view, very important. Before we get into this, anything you want to talk about? You are still involved in all these companies, aren’t you? You are still engaged in Pac Mobile.

Gary: Yes.

Rob: Do you have time for that?

Gary: Yeah. I’d like to think of my life as one big Venn Diagram.

Rob: Wouldn’t it be just 3 circles overlapping completely and you’re doing it all at the same time?

Gary: It would be … I’m obliterated by lines. That’s what makes things exciting, because you cannot silo. That is really … and we talked about this before; mobile forces you to get out of the silo. If you think of mobile as another vertical, we should go home now.

Rob: Just turn it off.

Gary: Mobile is break-the-rules horizontal and it obliterates verticals. The wonderful thing about mobile is I’m involved in medical compliance companies on one side. We’re just talking about social media companies that I started in the literacy space, sports space, and communications space. They all intersect. You find that you’re doing something far left-of-center which absolutely then propels you into a solution back home in your core business. Mobile is an exciting space, it always has been. I’ve been doing it now for 12 years, hardcore. It still … I wake up thrilled to get into work and get all that chemistry going. It’s exciting.

Rob: I think about that, because early in the ’90s, that’s when I found the internet; it’s when a lot of people didn’t know what the internet was. I used to have the same feeling; it maybe was 7 or 8 years of this ‘I can’t wait to see what innovation happens,’ and then it just stagnated until I found mobile. It’s like I found God in ’99. It was like ‘wow’. My hands glowed; I saw the world in a different way. Since then, since 1999, there isn’t a moment in time that it has been stagnant, slow, plodding in this space. It’s like every moment of everyday something changes in the world that is brought on by mobile.

Gary: What really stimulates the whole … what makes it exciting is everybody thinks that there’s money at the end of this rainbow which gets a lot more people … I’m not being crass. It allows a lot more people to devote a lot more time to an industry with a prospect of making money down the road. There’s a lot of noise. There are a lot of solutions busting the seams open in a number of verticals. As I said, because it’s a horizontal, it’s absolutely vertical agnostic. It cross- pollinates. Everybody thinks that this is the end of the rainbow, as far as a dollar here or there and it’s busting the doors open across all these verticals that have stagnated. There are a lot of verticals that haven’t really been explored, and there’s a lot of incumbent media in there that mobile is kicking open the barn doors on. That’s what makes it exciting, I think.

Rob: It’s nowhere near being over, is it?

Gary: No. Mobile … we talked about this before; mobile is a great word. We all use it, but what the hell does it mean? Mobile is anything to do with the consumption of information across your screens. What we’re doing now has an element to mobility. We’re in a multi-screen economy. Nothing can be solely sectioned off around a tablet, a phablet, or a handheld.
I talk about this a lot, the whole digital Velcro and the fact that in order to really do anything with mobility, you have to connect all your screen experiences through the day in this journey. This may be … we may be in a mobile-first economy where you’re thinking about this one as your first design tiptoe. Ultimately to do anything that’s going to grow and drive value, this has to be connected to all the other touch points. Mobility, or mobile … mobile is just a sexy word, and people like using sexy words because they work well with pictures, they help you close RPs, and you get a little bit of funding here or there. Ultimately what we’re talking about is not mobile, but we’re talking about the mobile consumer. Everything that affects the mobile consumer is the business of mobility. In that sense, hallelujah, we’re all evangelists.

Rob: Talking about these buzzworthy words, ‘internet of things’. Gary, this has … I remember the first time I heard it, which was way back when the internet was cool.

Gary: You know what’s really cool, is when you say IOT.

Rob: IOT, yes. Capital I.

Gary: Then you’re in the cool …

Rob: Yeah, you are. You’re in that …

Gary: … in crowd.

Rob: You are. It’s a … you know the acronym. You recently wrote … in January, you wrote an article about this thing that we talked about, which was the wireless registry, which is … we’re going to get to. You also … I don’t know if this is … I don’t know if I should make fun of this or if this is a serious thing, but CISCO CEO, John Chambers, took to the stage, he said, “This is not about the internet of things, this about the internet of everything.” Has this gone too far? Can we live up to this?

Gary: Not at all. Everybody’s posturing. When you have an industry that’s about to blow up, everybody’s posturing to own … it’s very Orwellian. You want to own the words. If you own the words then you can own the business logic, you can own the solution, you can sell, and you can get the $17 trillion that Chambers talks about at the end of the rainbow. I think there’s obviously a little bit of showmanship.

Rob: A little bit, yes.

Gary: The way that I understand things being defined is you have the internet of things, which I call the ‘internet of stuff’. You have the internet of stuff. We know that ultimately, everything, every article in your world will have some connectivity. This bottle will have some connectivity. When you put it in the fridge, the fridge will be able to recognize it, it’ll be able to tell you about it, it’ll tell you when you need to top up your shopping basket, it’ll tell you when you need to throw it out. Everything ultimately will have a connectivity which allows it to have data, which allows it to have intelligence, which allows you to manage it.
However, the one ingredient that we’re missing out on all this is if you have all these things that have the ability to communicate, you don’t necessarily have, by definition or implicitly, a system to manage it. What Chambers is saying is it’s one thing to have the internet of things, it’s another thing to actually have platforms that can manage it and monetize it. He’s saying, ‘The internet of everything is this combined platform opportunity, and this combined platform is going to generate $17 trillion for the global economy over the next years.’

Rob: It’s funny because I get this and I understand. Oftentimes, I look at that and people who are listening to this or watching this, the first things that goes through your mind is ‘Do we really need a connected water bottle? What is the net economic impact of that connected water bottle?’ Right now it’s a sunk cost. Work with me; I just thought of this. To administer now that bottle as a piece of plastic that is now sitting on the network, there’s a cost; there is a manufacturing cost, there’s a technical cost.

Gary: And an opportunity.

Rob: Right. There’s a technological advancement requirement in order to be able to get whatever it is that’s connected so cheap that it can be manufactured and put on the device, on the plastic bottle. Then it’s got to have the software that has to be able to recognize that bottle, and then it has to have the software to be able to interact with whatever other device it is that it goes into, like a fridge, or is packaged with, which is the next bottle next to it. Then they have to build the software for a structure around that in order to be able to track it so that mineral water from Northern Canada gets down to the States, and you can actually follow the chain so that it’s not poisoned. All of that seems ridiculous before the net-net impact economic value. The increase in economic value will be felt by being able to tell you that you have to be able to go and buy some more, ultimately. That’s what it comes down to.

Gary: Right, but you are taking the most prosaic example …

Rob: Of course I am.

Gary: … just happen to have a … there is no question that … and let’s take it back to, really, what is this thing called mobility we talked about, where we sit in time and where we sit right now, and where we’re going. The way that I see the world … and you talked about POV, so this is my POV: We’d be hoodwinked to a large extent with this device, not this particular device. I have a lot of respect for this device, but certain devices on the market came out with this whole brouhaha of ‘Buy my device, because with my device is tethered this huge storefront which you can cherry-pick all these wonderful apps, put them into the device, and the device can add so much value.’ Remember all those billboards where you had the iPhone just exploding with content; hundreds of thousands of things that you too can own, for free in most cases, if you buy my phone.
Device manufacturers like these guys and device manufacturers like the Apples of the world, they wake up in the morning and they only think about one thing. I always say to somebody, “When you’re going into battle with anybody, first thing you have to ask is ‘When Rob wakes up in the morning, what does he think about? When Apple wakes up in the morning, what do they think about? When Samsung wakes up in the morning, what do they think about?'” That has to … that informs the way that they see their business.

Apple does not give a hoot in the morning when they wake up about their storefront, in as much as they don’t really care about the real revenue that comes out of that storefront, they’ve just given back a whole pile of money by the government just saying ‘boo’ to them. What they want is to create a value proposition so you buy their phone. When they wake up in the morning, they sell phones. When Google wakes up in the morning, they sell search. When Microsoft wakes up in the morning, they sell licensing.

When Apple created this whole economy of apps and just speaking about mobility … Hi. My phone wanted to talk to me. When Apple came out with this whole idea of ‘Buy my phone. It’s tethered to [inaudible: 15:07].’ It changed the consumer’s POV on this wonderful thing called the smartphone. The way that I see it is up until now, we really thought of the phone as somewhat a Cracker Jack container, which is really unfortunate in many ways because it is a smartphone. We’ve diminish the value of that phone by basically saying ‘Buy this phone and you too can cherry-pick all these cute little apps and you can put them into the phone. While you’re eating popcorn, you can find little plastic rings, bubble gum, and joke sequences at the bottom of your phone too.’ People treat it that way. They treat it like, ‘I’m down loading apps, I’m putting them into folders,’ and they’re getting lost. ‘Isn’t it really cool that I’ve got this little widget here and this little widget there?’ This is a powerful, powerful device. This device, as we talked about, is between, depending on your phone, 3000 to 4000 times faster than the first rocket that went to the moon. This is a powerful device that could do so much more than aggregate novelty.

Getting back to the internet and things: My feeling is we’re moving, finally, from a Cracker Jack container and not necessarily to taking that content and throwing it into a browser, because that was where it should have lived in the first place, but we’re almost leapfrogging through the browser into the phone as an intelligent server. The phone because an intelligent server and the world becomes my app economy. The world becomes a nest thermostat. The world becomes something I put in my plant to tell me when to water it. The world becomes a [inaudible: 17:14], a remote vibrator that I give to my girlfriend to spice up our relationship. The world becomes an interesting place from social, to practical to banking …

Rob: Fun.

Gary: … to fun. These apps live in the world. They become the internet of everything, and this becomes your remote intelligent server. Think of it right now; if I open up my Wi-Fi in the settings, in any given place, I’ll have … there’ll be 10 or 20 networks that jump up on my screen. Peddle forward 2020; right now, we have 10 billion connected things out there, it’s supposed to go up to 50 billion, who knows; a big number. Nobody can count so high anyways; a big number. Suddenly, it’s gone from 10 things that it reads, to 50 things, to 100 things, to 1000 things it’s reading. You cannot manage that manually, nor should you. It’s like going to the App Store and saying, “What app should I pick now that there are a million apps up there?” It becomes a joke at a certain point.
No, this is not a science project. Life is not a science project. We get up in the morning; we try to get home in one piece, and say hi to the kids and have dinner. It’s not a science project. We do things in order to [inaudible: 18:50] and make it easier for us to grow from point A to point B. If you have these hundred of things that are popping up, thousands of things, this has too, not just because if we think it’s a cool thing for this to become more of a server and less of a Cracker Jack container, it’s because the Cracker Jack mentality is not going to manage the future. Ultimately, the world becomes this internet of stuff that’s saying, ‘I’m here and we now can intelligently manage the way we navigate through that so we don’t have to manually say. ‘Something’s asking me to do something.” That way, this becomes a more intelligent prosthetic.

Remember what Steve Jobs said about fingers. He said. “We don’t need a stylus because we’re born with 5 stylus.” That’s really why people bought the Apple phone. That’s the end of it. They bought it because suddenly, the phone became an extension and it became a natural way of communicating with data. It was pinching-and-zoom and ‘Oh my God, I can see stuff.’ It was a black swan. The same thing now applies to data. I can’t manually pinch-and-zoom and go into millions of things of data. This now has to become a much more intelligent device for me. If that’s the way we’re moving, it’s not because I think it’s a nice thing to abandon apps and move into more of an intelligent server economy, it’s because we really don’t have a choice.

I don’t think it’s necessarily about intelligently managing this particular bottle, it’s the fact that the world right now is about to change profoundly. We’re in a … people will say that 2014 is going to be a pivot year. People will look back historically and it will be the start of a chapter. You’ll look back and your grandchildren will open a chapter on the evolution of communications and they’ll say, “2014, it’s when we started to interact with the world,” as opposed to [inaudible: 21:12] into a Cracker Jack container. Anyway, I’m blabbering.

The exciting thing is that the world now starts to take on structure. A company like [inaudible: 21:23] that sells for $3.5 is selling for that number because a Google understands the value of intelligent remote apps. Any company out there that’s creating an intelligent remote application is potentially into some big bucks if they get it right.

Rob: This is fascinating to me because I often talk about hubs of our lives. You’ve got your living room hub, which is entertainment; you’ve got your kitchen hub, your office hub, your car hub, and your bedroom hub. All you’re doing is meshing together this network that, as you said … I loved the way that you phrased it, which is the Velcro because that’s exactly what … you want to seamlessly walk through and not be bothered. We talk often about … [inaudible: 22:11] and I talk about this world of temporary applications. What you’re talking about is almost exactly that; instead of apps coming into the screen, the screen is the gateway into those application. As you’re walking into a room, it’s just smart enough to know because the sensors, beacons, nodes, all that stuff; this internet of things where … I worry. Now I wonder … that to me is fascinating. The challenge that we’re having right now is that my device isn’t smart enough to know that when I walk into the kitchen from the living room to pause the TV and get the coffeemaker going. It doesn’t know that when I leave and get into the car where I’m going. I have to tell it still.
If 20014 is that pivotal year, which I believe every year since mobile, since the first cell phone. I saw the first cell phone in a car. A buddy, John Healy’s dad, he had a Beamer with the car phone, the old school in the ’80s. We weren’t allowed to use it because it was $100 a minute, but it was the coolest thing. We saw this transformation. From then until now, the speed with which we’re doing this, the change has just blown my mind. We’re increasing, but we’re still in that spot where we’re all independent.

What are the first steps here? A friend of mine said, “It’s the home operating system. It’s not the device operating system; it’s the home operating system.” I think we’re talking about here is basically the world’s operating system, and we just float in and out of that operating system. Is that …

Gary: Absolutely. It’s as big or small as you want it to be. The bottom line is this: No turning back. Just take a step back, and I’m sure a lot of your audience recalls when if you wanted to do a business deal, it was analog. We could never go back to that. You could never even imagine what it would be like to do an analog business deal.

Rob: What does that even mean?

Gary: ‘Excuse me, Mrs. Smith. I’d like to drop by your office. I’d like to show you a product, and then we’ll follow up with another meeting in a few weeks’ time.’ I couldn’t even imagine what that’s like. I’ve already done 3 business deals today remotely, globally, and I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to close deals. The same holds that somebody’s going to look back at the idiots, the idiocy of what we did for the last 5 years on this phone and …

Rob: Which is look down at the screen.

Gary: No, but even just the fact that, ‘Look at how cool this is. I got a tape measuring application. I have …’ I’ve got some little utility that emulated and digitized something on my desk. It was like, ‘I can do it on my phone. It’s great.’ It’s a Cracker Jack mentality. It’s this whole party favors thing. People are going to look back at that and say, “It was a necessary progression. I understand Apple needed to sell a few phones. We got everybody excited and now we’ve moved onto a more seamless way of handling our environment.’ Obviously, the obvious, profound impacts on retail, the way we consume things, and commerce, that goes without saying. What I’m trying to say is that it is going to fundamentally change because I really don’t care about the retails and the CPGs, they’re still 5 laps behind the consumer.
The consumer has moved into this world where potentially they can navigate in a world where they can create one profile around Gary, attach that profile to this device, and all of my portfolio of devices that I use throughout the day, like I wake up with this under my pillow, I have my tablet, then I have this, and then I come back to this. The portfolio of surfaces, or screens, have an identity, and it’s called Gary. Gary has his likes, he has dislikes, he has certain aversions, he has certain privacy concerns. He has this thing called Gary, and it floats around the bubble. When this bubble hits other bubbles, things need to happen. Those bubbles have to … the rules that I create around my profile, when my bubble hits another bubble like ships in the night, things need to happen.

There’s the first thing, which is things have sensors. The second thing is sensors need identity. The third thing is when one identity collides with another, there has to be a higher intelligence that says, ‘Based on that, this is what you get.’ That’s the future of the world. The opportunity, that $17 trillion opportunity, is the guys that are going to make money on creating a bubble called Gary, the guy’s going to make money creating a bubble called Walmart, and then the guys up here are going to make money on the services, APIs, integration, and intelligence that manages what happens when these two bubbles collide, aka chambers and the internet of everything. There’s a lot of money to be made here if people get it right. There you have it; that’s the script for the next 5 years, but the devil’s in the details. You still need an identity bubble.

Right now, this is a Mac address with a random number that I don’t know, and I can’t create an intelligent bubble in profiling. The big thing right now is people are saying, “My bubble is being tracked. I have no control.” We have to put a morphine pump in the middle somewhere.

Rob: What you said, is that where we’re going to end up? There’s challenges here. I think there’s challenges on the consumer side, there’s challenges on the retailer, the business side, and there’s challenges on the privacy side. These are impediments. Are there glowing impediments that we’re seeing here, that have …

Gary: They’re not impediments. The problem is that everybody has an agenda. I have an agenda. You have agenda.

Rob: Commercial companies have an agenda.

Gary: People in the beltway have an agenda. You have to … just like I said, you have to know what people think about first when we wake up in the morning; that’s their agenda. When the Privacy Commission guys or in the beltway in DC wake up in the morning, they have an agenda. They change the vocabulary in a very Orwellian way to reflect their agenda. These 3 words have an agenda: Do not track. If somebody says, “When I go into a store, Euclid, Brickstream, and CISCO, they were tracking me. It’s the end of the world. The end is nigh.”
I know there’s a lot of hype about tracking data, Snowden, and all the politics behind that. By creating some hype around privacy and saying ‘do not track’, creates … it gets people [inaudible: 29:50] I’m servicing my citizens and I’m protecting them. That becomes a great political platform but I t doesn’t work for the business community. It doesn’t work for the consumer, but it scares the living daylights out of them. Instead of ‘do not track’, it should be ‘let me control how I interact with my internet of things.’ Then I can say, “Toggle privacy down,” which by definition is do not track; but it’s a positive, not a negative. There’s so much positive spin here. Give the consumer the morphine pump; they’re not going to consume as much morphine. That’s the whole point of the morphine pump. Don’t just take the morphine and inject it into the system, like the privacy guys in Ottawa and Washington are doing.

Give the consumer the ability to say, “We understand your concern. What we’re doing is we’re going to structure this world so that you have the tools to control the way you navigate and get things, and interact with things and don’t get things, and don’t interact with things.” Then you say, “That’s great. I love it. Now I can have a relationship with Starbucks but I don’t want a relationship with XYZ retailer. I want to let all my Facebook community and tether it to my profile. I want to know when somebody comes in, who’s in my Facebook community, into this room and my bubble bumps their bubble, and we can say hi. If their privacy settings are open and mine are open, then we can hookup and go on a second date, and have babies. That’s my prerogative.”

The problem is the agenda is skewed by people who use these Draconian words and everybody goes, “My privacy is being invaded.” Let’s be honest; when you go into a store, you’re being tracked whether you like it or not. It’s just the digital word everybody gets heebie- jeebies on. We’re being tracked; there are cameras everywhere. There’s heat mapping, whether you like it or not. That’s not the issue. The issue is make the privacy guys happy, and then let’s move on. I think that’s what’s happening. You have the Privacy Commission, you have all the Euclids, the Brickstreams, and all the good guys who do mobile location analytics, the MLAs of the world, who working with them, compliant, and you get all the white elephants out of the room.

The white elephants in the internet of everything are toys will have sensors, heart monitors will have sensors. We have to take those off the table immediately. There’s no argument there. Nobody’s going to argue, ‘I can’t track toys because they may have little toddlers tethered to them. I contract people who have medical appliances on them because that’s not cool.’ You need to take all those guys with those issues off the table. That makes sense. You start there. You’ve got the Privacy Commission with a ‘do not track’ network that they’re building where the Euclids and everybody can ping and say, ‘Can we track? Are we allowed to?’ and wiping out that ambiguity. You deal glass-half-full on these things. You say, “This is a great opportunity to provide services to the economy and to the consumers, and things in that economy. There are certain things that we need to deal with off the bat.” You’re dealing with those, the elephant in the room. Then you go and say, “Then we have to give controls to the rest of the people so that they, like intelligent adults that they are, can manage their own lives.” The last time I heard, Washington’s not supposed to micromanage the average citizen’s world. Let’s move on.

Rob: It strikes me that what you just described is so … maybe it’s been built out of fear. Obviously not a word of a lie here, just so you know; governments react slowly. I know this might be news to people. I honestly believe this world emerged. It took everybody by storm. It took everybody who carries a device, like a feature phone, by storm, it took business, it took consumers, it took economies, it took emerging economies, it took government, and it took policymakers all by storm. If we think that the retailers are 5 years or 5 laps behind, I can’t imagine how far we think the governments are in this. Their immediate reaction is always ‘Shut it down. Clamp it down. Put as much around … barriers as we can so that we’re going to spend the next 15 or 20 years battling through this red tape.’ One company at a time is going to go and make a mistake against what is happening in their privacy issue or something, because they’re pushing the boundaries. Then maybe the government will recoil a little bit as we become comfortable. 5 years ago we didn’t check in, 5 years later, we’re pass the check-in. 5 years later …

Gary: If I may interrupt, Robert.

Rob: Yeah, of course.

Gary: I think that whole … the world up until 2014, absolutely. You got Foursquare and all these guys that are pushing the envelope, people getting scared, and this and that. You know how many articles I’ve written on privacy where something blowing up here or something blowing up there. Remember Carrier IQ and all these stupid, stupid laws; unbelievable, that they turn into such page-one stories. Absolutely; it’s not something we can write off because it’s always going to be there; the fear of. What has to happen right now is we need to take a step back and say ‘How can we deal with the internet and everything?’ It’s not going to be somebody going, “The NEST is tracking the temperature in our home and that’s an invasion of privacy. This application’s going to do that. There’s a sensor in the basketball and my son’s playing on that team. The coach has control over the analytics on that basketball.” The world is neigh.

Rob: It stops.

Gary: Stop the game. [inaudible: 36:31] You cannot. No. Let’s stop for a second. What’s going to happen is this, Rob …

Rob: I love this guy.

Gary: This is my [inaudible: 36:43]. This is where I think things are going to go: I got the hots for this [inaudible: 36:49] which is the [inaudible: 36:51] Registry. The reason I’ve got the hots for them is I think the most logical place to start here is a domain name registry. You have IP addresses, and then you had the domain name registry; remember the web. Suddenly, it transformed everything from this geeky tech stuff out there called the internet, that nobody knew, except some geek kid in the basement to something that we could interact with and we could understand because it had a naming protocol. Then people came behind it with a shovel with services that made billions of dollars building websites, building data backends, and widgets and whatnot.
We have a situation now we have Mac addresses. I don’t know my Mac address, but there is a Mac address in here somewhere. We have … in my office here, we have SSIDs, we have these Wi-Fi networks, and Bluetooth networks, and they always have numbers. What has to happen and what is happening right now, and this is why I’m saying, because it’s not such an abstract concept; if we can create a naming protocol around these numbers, just like we did around IP addresses, and create profiles and business logic, then essentially, you can create a very safe and very easy-to-understand universe. Let’s take Walmart as an example.

Walmart has a Wi-Fi network. They put a Wi-Fi network in their store. When you go into their store, you will see Walmart’s Wi-Fi network, and it will have a nice, big lock and key next to it. They put that Wi- Fi network in that store in order to service Apple’s store-in-a-store; my guess is so Apple can send you an email receipt. It’s a locked network. That network is a physical bubble. I can name my bubble. Why is it that I can’t just create permissions around this bubble, Walmart create permissions around their bubble, and when these two bubbles collide, things happen because it goes to a neutral registry? I think that is going to take the … it’s going to demystify the industry. If I can go into my settings and I can say, “I got a new phone and it says ‘Import your … attach your Mac address to your profile, mobile guy.'” Suddenly, those settings are pulled in. They’re still my private settings but it’s attached to this Mac address. I can now use this phone as an intelligent server. I can go through the city and get or not get stuff based on whatever I decide. That allows … it’s such a logical way of seeing the future of the internet of things, or whatever people want to coin this new economy as.

Ultimately, it’s not … Chambers is absolutely right: The money isn’t going to be made on the fact that we can put sensors on things and iBeacons on other things. The economy is going to be built on the business logic. I think the opportunity is to demystify things to create a standard. [inaudible: 40:34] Basically, the future is built on three bubbles: My bubble, the bubble that I’m interacting with, and the bubble of business logic in the Cloud. That’s essentially the ingredients that need to come into play. You need a standard for naming bubbles and you need business guys to come in, like Qualcom and CISCO, and build services around that standard. That standard is what is being debated right now. I would look at the Privacy Commission and see how they’re dealing with things, because essentially as I say, it has to start with ‘do not track’ toys and grow from there. I think that’s fairly simple. The future’s rosy. I don’t think it’s going to be as much of a crap storm as we think.

Rob: The way you just described it makes me believe now in the wireless registry. I registered my name and I think that everybody should go out and register their name because that is a very pragmatic approach to this. It is going to be one of those larger companies that have to build that thing in the sky. Will it be Google?

Gary: It’s not going to be the wireless registry, it’s going to be a CISCO; it’s going to be the big boys out there and the big girls out there. The issue is, is there something … if I go to a retailer and I say, “You have the ability to have your name,” their eyes start to twinkle because we all love our name. It’s a human characteristic, that people will … to get back to the brass tacks with families; we were talking about families before. I can go up to my daughter in the morning and say, “Get up, get up, get up.” I say her name, and suddenly her eyes open. That’s ‘open sesame’. We have [inaudible: 42:27] … because it … that name is tethered to everything she knows that is important to her.
We as brands have names, and they’re tethered to brand identities and we hold those [inaudible: inaudible: 42: 42]. My feeling is if we can get away from numbers and turn them into names with personalities and have a structure which is … that we trust, that everything’s within the circle of trust and we have control. Then the morphine pump is in effect and we don’t need as much morphine, so we don’t need government as much. Then everything becomes healthy. I do believe that people will embrace that because that’s just … I’ve always said the future is not technology-led, the future is people making money, getting laid, eating good food; that’s the future, and then technology services that. Anybody who thinks that technology is job one is out of business. Go home. These problems have to be solved by understanding the human condition; understanding mobility, understanding concerns, understanding ‘Meet the Fockers’ and circle of trust, and then layering on things that people feel comfortable with, then layering on technology, and then the CISCOs can pounce and make their $17 billion.

Rob: Gary, why don’t we do this more often, man?

Gary: Dude, I’m here.

Rob: Gary, you write about this all the time. You are so accurate in this; your mind is immersed in this. Where do we send people to find out more about what you’re writing about?

Gary: I write books, and those take a little bit longer. I have, as you kindly said, two books out there. One is ‘Impulse Economy’ and one is ‘Fast Shopper, Slow Store’, which I write with Simon & Schuster; you find them in the ether somewhere: Amazon, Barnes & Noble. I’m writing a book called ‘The Anatomy of the Phone’ which when I write it, I’ll let you know.

Rob: We’ll have you back on.

Gary: My blog is The Impulse Economy; it’s the name of my first book, TheImpulseEconomy.com. I try and write a major thing every month there. If you follow that RSS feed, you’ll be able to tap into some of the stuff that I’m thinking about. Obviously, I would love to hear from everybody. You can always follow me on Twitter @impulseeconomy, and then hopefully, tuning into amazing programming like yours.

Rob: Then of course, you can reach Gary through many, many, many, many ways. You can also see him speak. If you actually do a search, and I’ll include it in the show notes, if you’re listening to this, so you can go back and watch Gary’s presentation from Untether Talks and the other episodes that he’s done here; more of the same. I just love having these conversations with you because it opens up my eyes and it sets my tone. We should do this in January so it sets my tone for the year. We’re mid-February.
Please, if you’re listening to this and you want to hear more of what Gary’s talking about, go to TheImpulseEconomy.com. Go and read his blog posts. There’s one that is from mid-January on this very topic where we covered quite a bit more extensively here than in the article, but it’ll give you the understanding. Gary, I can’t thank you enough for doing this. One of my favorite people on the planet. I loved doing this.

Gary: Thank you. Thanks a lot for having me on, Rob.

Rob: Folks, we’ve been speaking with Gary Schwartz. Go to TheImpulseEconomy.com. Author of two awesome books; you can’t discount those. Go and buy those books. You can do it in digital format. Please come back again when I have my next guest on. Thank you wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. If you’ve contributed to the Patreon account, I really appreciate you doing that as well. We will see you next time on untether.tv. Gary, thank you.


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About Gary Schwartz
Gary Schwartz Impulse EconomyOver the past nine years, Gary has played a leadership role in the mobile industry, founded Impact Mobile in 2002 running the first cross-carrier short code campaign in North America. In 2006, Gary founded the mobile committee for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) (www.iab.net) (for which he received an IAB award for industry excellence in 2009).

In 2010, Gary was elected as the Chair of MEF North America (www.m-e-f.org) with a remit to develop mobile commerce best practices and advance commerce security and privacy (for which he received a MEF award for industry excellence). In 2011, in partnership with MEF and a number of industry groups including the X9.org security standards body, Gary is working to develop m-commerce security and privacy guidelines.

Gary it the recipient of the Asia and Japan Foundation Fellowship as well as the Macromedia People Choice Award and Dodge Foundation award for innovation. Gary is the author of the book The Impulse Economy.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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