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Am I at a car show, or Mobile World Congress?


20130225_153720.jpgRather, is there a distinction between the two? This morning, as I sat through the first two keynotes at Mobile World Congress, my favorite quote came from General Motors (GM) Vice-Chairman Steve Girsky. He said, “The car is now a device.” Looking on the show floor, it was the cars – both in the Ford Motor Company booth and in the Connected City – that were getting as much, if not more, attention than the new, smaller, handheld devices. The point is the mobile industry (as we who’ve been in the industry awhile call it), is no longer ours solely to own. Mobile has transcended the neat little industry header and spilled over into … well … everything!


A perfect example is Girsky’s statement, “Our vision [is] digital life in a car.” He then shared GM's announcement about 4GLTE in all their vehicles.  (The LTE service is coming from AT&T.) Essentially it is a broad global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband, the largest deployment in the automotive industry to date. Expected benefits for GM customers can include in-vehicle WiFi hot spots, new infotainment options, such streaming video entertainment in the back seat, real-time updates and faster application downloads. These new enhancements build upon OnStar’s existing portfolio of built-in connected services, first introduced in GM vehicles in 1996.


I drive a GMC Envoy with OnStar. I don’t have streaming (or frankly video in the back seat) as my car is a bit old (a 2003 model). Replete with lost sippy cups rolling around the floor in the back and Avenger stickers one of my guys stuck in the back window, my car still works. (What can I say? I like living without car payments.) My children ask me why we don’t have video in the car like their friends. Today’s announcement means their demand for “instant on” everything can now be further satisfied while I drive them to basketball - If I want. (So far, I’ve managed to limit their digital consumption to Angry Birds.) Their six-year-old brains are digitized already. They think everything comes out of the computer – instantly. When I read to them at night, they say “Pause,” (speaking to me like I’m a DVR) when then need to get up to get a drink.


“However,” Girsky emphasizes, “to make the car a device we need partners – lots of them.” The GM Vice-Chairman believes developers will be critical in this new world of vehicle Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These new APIs will enable developers to build on GM’s infotainment systems, as well as a new, flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and infotainment features to their vehicles after purchase.


Perhaps most pertinent to the day, Girsky closed his presentation by saying “We envision a day when your car becomes a device in your wireless plan.”

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About the Author


Julia Ochinero is a seasoned, but not “old school” marketing profes-sional who continues to be excited by the dramatic changes in the communications industry. Julia joined HP in 2009 as Director of Marketing in Communications & Media Solutions (CMS), and she has maintained Telco marketing leadership roles in Enterprise Ser-vices (ES) and Enterprise Group (EG). In her current role as World-wide Marketing Lead for the Communications Solutions Business (CSB) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Julia is directing initiatives focused on positioning HPE as the organization that can facilitate the communications service provider’s (CSP’s) transition to sustainable, profitable business models. Julia’s Telco and networking experience started in Chicago, IL, working for AT Kearney, Andersen Consulting, BT and Ameritech  where she launched the first consumer voice mail rollout in the Unit-ed States. Andersen Consulting relocated her to Silicon Valley to launch its presence in region during early days of the Internet. While in the Valley, she has served in leadership and consulting roles with companies including Adobe, OpenWave, Novell, Nuance Communi-cations, Pixo and RealNetworks. Previous to HP, she was a consult-ant at Accel Partners, the world’s largest venture capital firm headquar-tered in Palo Alto, CA. Julia’s experience enables her to support marketing needs for both early-stage companies and more mature organizations requiring efficient go-to-market strategies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Creative Advertis-ing (Communications) from Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Julia is married and has two children.

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