Enterprise hits and misses - Mobile World Congress pushes 5G, workers go rogue on their messaging apps

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed March 3, 2019
Summary:
This week - Mobile World Congress flaunts 5G and Hololens, but political and ethical questions abound. Workers go rogue on messaging apps, and: an essential piece on designing inclusive enterprise events. As always, some delightful/scary whiffs.

Cheerful Chubby Man

Lead story - Mobile World Congress - from 5G to Hololens to ethical activism - stories by Stuart Lauchlan and Martin Banks

MyPOV: The Mobile World Congress is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most ridiculous overblown popular shows on the tech calendar, where you can count on gadget fetish kicking in as the tech media fawns over folding phones.

But if you're a determined scribe, there are stories worth telling from MWC. In Banks' roundup, Mobile World Congress - 5G, the business agenda and Trump's China syndrome, he puts 5G in the center, and rightly so. But it's a complicated story, as the global center of 5G innovation is in China. Ponder this from Martin:

More to the point, the position currently taken by the US President, coupled with the potential 5G gives to areas such as Africa and much of Asia to step rapidly from near-zero to the best comms infrastructures possible, could provide a surprisingly fast movement in the epicentre of global economic activity, just as some of those countries seem to be understanding that democracy may well be, long term, a better option than dictators.

That's quite a canvas, and whether it plays out that way remains to be seen. But a tech advance like 5G, despite its marketing bluster, can shift what's possible. Meanwhile, augmented reality picked up steam. Stuart chronicles in HoloLens 2 debuts at MWC, but don't mention the war! - more ethical activism from tech employees. Unfortunately for Microsoft, they couldn't separate the tech news from the political entanglements. The U.S. Army is a big Hololens customer; not all Microsoft employees are on board. Stuart:

A group calling itself Microsoft Workers 4 Good published an open letter to CEO Satya Nadella and Chief Legal Counsel Brad Smith calling on them to pull out of the contract.

So much for PR fanfare - welcome to the intractable problem of how your tech supports - or threatens - democracy.

But the ethics of all this are going to come back to haunt Microsoft – and all the other major tech firms – on a more and more frequent basis.

Happy children eating apple

Diginomica picks - my top two stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my top choices from our vendor coverage:

A few more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon's grab bag - Chris has a UK smart city reality check for us in Smart cities - Focus on people, not tech, says policy conference. Jerry looks at California's GDPR-like initiative in How Big Tech plans to pre-empt California’s tough Consumer Privacy Act. I found Jerry's assertion striking: "The absence of a general federal privacy law—covering data use, handling, and storage—is undoubtedly hurting the competitiveness of US-based multinational companies doing business abroad."

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

It was a terrific week for enterprise blogging. Here's the pieces that resonated most with my newsfeed readers.

Honorable mention

Whiffs

Overworked businessman

So the Muffin Break chain in Australia is going through the social media spank tunnel after their GM whined that millennials won't do unpaid work. Doesn't it suck when workers don't want to be exploited by unpaid internships in the exciting growth field of mass muffinry?

For the "those darned credentials" file:

Not everyone enjoys this, but I never get sick of the "bulging dick disc" sports media snafu, and the reaction here is priceless.

Last week, Facebook endured another unbecoming privacy revelation via a Wall Street Journal exclusive on how 11 popular mobile apps are sending sensitive data back to Facebook due to using Facebook's mobile analytics SDK. (Sensitive is an understatement given this includes health app stats).

ZDNet published a follow-on piece, arguing that the Wall Street Journal piece was one-sided. Why? Because, as Catalin Cimpanu points out:

If the developers of those 11 apps the Wall Street Journal would have used another mobile analytics SDK and would have sent pregnancy and menstrual data to "Analytics Company #23," nobody would have batted an eye. But everyone is now losing their minds just because it's big bad Facebook.

Ergo:

Facebook isn't collecting data on pregnancies and menstrual cycles. App developers are. The problem isn't Facebook here, it's the analytics ecosystem, as a whole.

Valid points; herd thinking won't get us anywhere. But the problem isn't just collecting sensitive data - it's disclosure and transparency. Then consumers can make a truly accurate choice on the tradeoffs they are willing to except.

It is terrifying to me how many of us, including myself, tend to choose convenience. But we should do that with the full knowledge of what we are getting into. Cimpanu shouldn't have limited his critique to app developers. The paymasters who build businesses on top of people's data - and fund most of those apps - are the ones who have the real explaining to do.

As for Facebook, I'm sure they'll find a way to steal back the be careful what you get addicted to smarmy-privacy-news top spot award next week.

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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