If you ever want to know what the next big thing is in technology, you would be smart to ask a venture capital investor who specializes in technology deals. I did just that, and was amazed by what I learned, especially in light of the latest iPhone release. If you have interest in where technology is headed, you are in for an interesting read with this interview:
Courtney: Joel, please tell us a little about the deals that cross your desk in a given year:
Joel: About 60% are in our direct investment area. Of these we target at least 300 for interviews or what we call live pitches. Out pace of investment is roughly 2 to 4 transactions per year.
Courtney: Please talk to us about the new iPhone- how are you liking it, and, what is different about this phone and operating system aside from the obvious features?
Joel: The new 6th generation of the iPhone continues Apple’s path to creating a truly easy operating system. User interface and user features continue to improve making access to applications easier and the actual use of texting and other primary uses not only easier but quicker and more effective.
Courtney: Talk to us about Apple Wallet. What changes can we expect?
Joel: In the near future, users of the newest feature Apple Wallet will be impressed with the speed and security of the chip and second form of id (touch or 4 digit code). In 2015 and 2016 all retailers are required to move to the European standard of chip and pin for credit card purchased in order to avoid being liable for losses. This dramatic change brought on by the credit card companies will allow for rapid adoption of the chip and code within the phone to act as a very secure payment system. This will not only enhance the value of the phone but result in an even closer connection between the user and Apple.
Courtney: How can we be sure that Apple Wallet is safe?
Joel: The entire industry is both tired of fraud and very focused on security – on a chip that is encrypted and communications that are secure.
Courtney: So…. where will this technology lead us? What lifestyle changes can we expect?
Joel: As people leverage ‘cloud’ services, which means agreeing to placing important information and instructions with vendors who are accessed via the web (Internet Protocol transport or IP), trust and security will result in a dramatic shift from your telephone/smart device — from being passive to an active participant in managing life. The easiest form of this active participation will begin in both home automation and shopping. Home automation will enable your phone once it hits your home wireless network to approve actions on your behalf – set up and waiting in the cloud. These will include – opening gates, garages, unlocking doors, changing thermostats, turning on or off lights, music, television, etc. Consumers will want this automation for convenience – but the socio and technical requirements necessary to bring on this service are just now hitting the market. Further, once you trust your phone with your wallet – why not more things. The current generation of phones now have these capabilities technically.
Within 18 months, phones will be equipped with radios and antennas that will enable multiple gigabyte speeds to the phone – so bandwidth at 10 times current rates. This will further attach the user to the phone were massive data streaming brings on a whole new host of products and services.
Courtney: Can you go a little deeper on how this will affect our daily lives?
Joel: As indicated above, the device becomes active – not passive. Overtime the phone will learn who you want to talk to and when. It will know where you are and what network you are attached to and that will also deliver meaningful change to how the phone interacts on your behalf.
Courtney: Who is most likely to take advantage of the possibilities that these technologies create, and how?
Joel: Retailers and consumer brands are harnessing these technologies as rapidly as possible. Why? They can no longer reach technology users below the age of 35 in the traditional way of broadcast and print media. Google is worth billions for good reason – the path to advertising to consumers and the billions spent annually are rapidly changing. Would you own a newspaper company? How about Facebook?
Courtney: Tell us more about how the retailers will make use of this-
Joel: Retailers today are setting up geo-fences around stores. These are mapped fields that track your phone’s unique identifier. AS you enter the store – it triggers the fact that you are there – they watch were you go and how long you stay there. Now, if it is a store you really like – say you have their application on your phone… Now they can directly engage you in a conversation – make an offer – suggest something – and more importantly let you know they are willing to discount items when you are in a competitors store! This is happening today and it is only getting more and more sophisticated. Why – predicting consumer behavior is paramount and getting easier to do. Soon you may become an active brand or retailer advocate who through the power of your social network get paid to actively promote.
Courtney: Many thanks, Joel, for sharing your knowledge and expertise!
Find out more about Joel Fontenot and Trailblazer Capital here.