Comms Vision 2017 update: Andy Lippman's reaction to emerging technology? Redefine communications…

With technology elevated as the defining characteristic of phenomena such as connected cars and smart cities, could this be the moment to formally redefine communications? In deploying his inimitable power of perspective, world renowned tech innovator and Comms Vision Guest Chair Andy Lippman - Associate Director and co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT) - set the scene for this year's Comms Vision Convention by doing just that.

"We now have the IoT, smart cities, AI and robotics, which are all emerging communications technologies," he told delegates.

"While cars are all built to best practices, what distinguishes them is the communications they now embody. Smart cities are not defined by their roads and traditional infrastructure, what makes them smart is communications.

"This means that technology suppliers are no longer enablers or partners, they are 'brothers' to their customers, helping to design their future through communications - not simply enabling the time ahead."

Leveraging communications as a means to an end has long been the essence of its defining stability, but in the wake of digital transformation the terminology was roundly turned on its head by Lippman.

Despite this redefinition, the familiar backgrounds of communications providers means they are incomparably equipped to bestride the new comms landscape so long as they can maintain the 'variance' that spawns 'big hitters' on the playingfield, explained Lippman.

"There no more 400 hitters in baseball," he stated. "As baseball matured standards were raised and participants all improved, lowering variance.

"The same applies to companies: As they mature their variance lessens. They develop a corporate culture, their management improves, owners up their game and the distance between peer rivals gets narrower.

"In communications we can still maintain that variance. Indeed, we must, and it's your job to think broadly, be eclectic and become one of those 400 hitters."