Tonight I had the opportunity to participate on a panel at the GigaOM Mobility Meetup here in Atlanta. Despite the torrential downpour and thunderstorms that snarled Atlanta traffic, it was standing room only. The event highlighted Atlanta as mobility hub and featured panelists from Atlanta’s global brands like AT&T, Coke, and WeatherChannel.
The panel I participated on was about the startup community in Atlanta. We are often asked about areas Atlanta already leads in – like Fintech, Health IT, information security, marketing automation, and logistics. But our moderator, Phil Hendrix of GigaOM, asked a tougher question – he asked us to look forward. His question was “what big opportunities do you see for Atlanta startups around mobile?”
My answer was connected devices, medical devices, and the ‘internet of things’. The sectors we already lead in provide an ecosystem and talent base in cloud technologies, big data, and mobility. Add Georgia Tech’s emerging strength in sensing technologies and you have a recipe for success.
I mentioned a few ATDC companies as examples. Soneter has an innovative water meter that enables Nest-like monitoring of water usage – without having to cut pipe and install a meter. NextInput has developed a sensor that essentially enables a third dimension in touch screens which opens all kinds of possibilities in controls on the things we use everyday like appliances, automobiles, and mobile devices.
One of the reasons Atlanta’s startup prowess is what Glenn Lurie of AT&T called “the best kept secret” is we are strong in enterprise and infrastructure sectors which doesn’t get the hype that consumer technology hubs get. I believe success in connected devices can change that.
What other opportunities do you see for Atlanta’s startups around mobility?