I am writing these words on an Apple iPad on my way back from a Huawei event in Shanghai. No one disputes Apple’s superiority in certain areas such as tablets and other consumer technologies. However, even the mighty Apple, the most valuable company on earth realized long ago that me writing blog posts on the plane using their tablet is not where the growth is. Want to know where the future lays? One word: Enterprise.
Yes, Huawei is no laughing matter in the consumer space. The company, without the US market, is the number three largest phone manufacturer worldwide after Apple and Samsung. The Huawei P9 sets the standard for mobile devices in 2016. Simply put, it is phenomenal. More on Huawei consumer technology here. But again, consumer? Meh.
Consumer < Enterprise
Huawei is single handedly dominating the mobile enterprise world and has been laying the infrastructure for our future connectivity around the globe for years now. You think your LTE is snappy? 5G is to LTE what LTE was to dial up, and that is a huge understatement. The speeds speak for themselves.
If you are an American consumer, you’ve perhaps seen the Huawei logo enough times to recognize it if I showed it to you, but if I asked you to pronounce the name of the company? That is where the conversation ends. Here’s the thing, that is going to change fast.
Huawei, in many markets, like the one I am flying over right now, the Chinese monster of a market dominates the way BlackBerry once dominated the business world. One small difference? Huawei is learning from some of the casualties of the mobile market, like BlackBerry and Nokia, and the company is innovating faster than anything I’ve ever seen.
Big data, 5G, automotive, virtual reality, and global connectivity are just some terms I heard thrown around over the past few days from the leading Huawei execs. This company isn’t playing around and while the US market has traditionally been strangely suspicious of Huawei, the company has basically said “No US? No problem. They’ll come begging when they realize that Huawei technology is running through the veins of all the leading technologies American consumers and businesses are using.”
The group of key opinion leaders Huawei brought to Shanghai
Will Huawei have the brand recognition that Apple is so well known for? Nope. Does it matter? Absolutely not. If anything, the opposite is true. Apple, through its recent partnerships with IBM and others clearly realizes that it has to start making a dent not only in people’s pockets but in the enterprise world as well, because that is the future.
Also? The iPhone 7 is a few weeks away and the leading rumor of what we expect to see in Apple’s next flagship? Dual lenses for better pictures. Where have I seen that again? Oh yes yes, the Huawei P9 in my pocket.
Listen, we all talk about the connected car, autonomous vehicles, and other technological dreams that are slowly becoming a reality but let me ask you a question…
When your autonomous connected car senses an obstacle on the road and notifies the system to brake, would you prefer that that communication take place over existing 4G/LTE technology that still causes your kids’ Barney videos on YouTube to buffer or would rather it take place over blistering fast 5G technology of which Huawei is the provider? Yea, that’s what I thought.
You might not yet know how to pronounce Huawei or know quite what to make of this company, but if you are interested in what’s coming and what will shape our future, then repeat after me:
It’s been a while, I find myself spending more and more time on platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube, and less time blogging. It’s a sore topic, so don’t get me started. I will just say this. I wouldn’t say blogging has been replaced and I most definitely intend on continuing to write here since everything good that has happened to me professionally happened because of this blog, but… I will say that storytelling, as in letting people really get to know you as a person or as a company, is a whole lot easier on these other platforms than it is via blogging.
I live in the United States. We have some of the best 4G networks in the world, which is a good and bad thing.
It’s good because we can access what we want, when we want, wherever we want. There are no restrictions and very few delays.
It’s bad because that digital luxury is turning us into spoiled brats when it comes to connectivity.
Many of us even have backup connections in the rare case that our primary connection fails.
When it comes to our Internet connection, we don’t mess around.
So as an American, learning about 5G technology at Huawei made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.
Obviously Huawei is not the only company working on and testing 5G technology. Verizon, AT&T and many other tech giants are exploring this tech too.
Huawei has invested heavily in 5G, and their vision for how it will enhance our lives is inspiring.
What is 5G?
Think about all the devices that are connected to the Internet (between 6 and 7 billion).
You think that’s a lot? It isn’t. 99% of machines in the world today are not connected. But that’s changing fast.
Think about this from an IoT perspective. According to CNBC, there will be around 21 billion connected devices by 2020.
Okay, that’s insane.
How is our existing 4G network going to increase speed (which we want) while still being able to manage all those connected devices?
That’s where 5G comes in.
5G is the 5th generation of mobile technology.
How will this affect your life?
Imagine your Internet speed increasing by about 50%.
You’ll be able to download a whole movie faster than most web pages load today.
And what about 5G-enabled driverless cars? Yep, those fit into the equation too.
According to Huawei:
The combination of holographic imaging, augmented reality, driverless cars, smart factory, intelligent agriculture, smart logistics along with 5G’s ultra-high throughput, ultra-low latency and massive connections will stimulate an astonishing transformation of the way we live our lives, and even inspire the creation of new business models and industries.
Back in May, Huawei completed the first phase of key 5G technology tests as part of a series of field trials.
My question is, won’t our demand increase with 5G?
Won’t we want more resolution, more pixels, more augmented/virtual reality and more data in everything?
And what about global standardization?
Not to mention, building a 5G infrastructure seems like a daunting task.
We’ll see how it all plays out. I can’t wait!
As Huawei puts it, 5G will lead the human race into the era of “everything on mobile.”
Just think, kids born today will never know what it’s like to wait for a video to buffer. That’s nuts!
According to Huawei’s rotating CEO Guo Ping, there are some things we should do before 5G arrives. You can read that interview here.
It is time! By now, I have upped my Snapchat game… We have all upped our Snapchat game! Snapchat right now has so much in common with the early days of Twitter, it’s ridiculous! There is the active community that is in love with the platform, and then there is the normal folks who “Just don’t get it.” But they will!
If you haven’t heard about Snapchat by now, I have one question for you, that rock you’ve been living under, is it comfy? No, but seriously, what is happening right now with Snapchat is a combination of Facebook is 2009 and Twitter 2007. In other words, it is all anyone will talk about.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have for sure heard of the operations carried out by the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous time and time again in recent years. They are they ones that have taken down thousands of ISIS-related Twitter accounts. They also received press for acts such as threatening to expose the names of thousands of KKK members; taking on NSA over censorship of free press; hacking government sites that don’t support LGBT rights, and more. On smaller scales, they have been known to use their Internet wizardry to combat police coverups; track child predators; and find evidence to support victims of assault cases. Pretty impressive stuff, right? But who are they?
The Complex Web of Anonymous
Anonymous is an amorphous group of hacktivists (hacker + activists.) As far as my understanding, they are mostly based in the US, and they make great use of the freedom of speech and accessibility of information in the public domain. They are not a static group of people. They are not an organization that would meet every week to discuss what their next mission would be. They seem to have a constant rotation of members coming and leaving. Members of Anonymous are particularly difficult to track because everyone is considered an equal, and there is no hierarchy. They constantly shift and change things up from within.
For the most part, Anonymous feeds off of ideas and concepts for the greater good. Here is an overly simplified description of how they work:
A member notices that something wrong is going on
Other members check to see if the problem can be fixed using the Internet
An operation leader steps up, gathers troops, and organizes the operation
Maybe create a video detailing the cause and outlining the plan of attack
They maybe organize a protest or two
Members disband from the operation and never talk about it again.
Some of the members might join forces for other operations. Others might just leave. The amorphous nature of it all is pretty fascinating. Are you wondering if they can be stopped? Don’t bother, the answer is no. Authorities have busted members a few times here and there, and those members were quickly replaced by several more.
Characteristics of Anonymous
According to Brian Kelly, there are three characteristics that tie-in with Anonymous:
An unrelenting moral stance on issues and rights, regardless of direct provocation
(Makes sense, because they usually fight against large groups for the greater good)
A physical presence that accompanies online hacking activity
(They go out and talk about their missions with their videos, social updates, newsletter, protests, etc.)
A distinctive brand
(Their use of the Guy Fawkes mask is no joke. The logo with the question mark, suit, and tie- woah. And their tagline is so creepy: “We are Anonymous, We are legion, We don’t forgive. We don’t forget. United as one. Divided by zero. Expect us.”)
I guess most of us don’t have to worry about being attacked by Anonymous. We can sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show. But if you’re doing something wrong- some kind of injustice using the Internet- THEIR INTERNET…. oh Mister… as Stephen Colbert once said, you’re “sticking your penis in a hornets nest.”
And by the way, they are generally good to the media. They love being in the press. They love being in the headlines. That’s because they proudly stand behind all that they do, and want everyone to know that they are doing it.
The Origins of Anonymous
Anonymous is typically known to replace parts of websites, or disable them completely. They generally take on immoral corporate giants and other strong forces. And they had a pretty interesting start. Lots of people view them as trolls who are entertaining themselves at the expense of others, but that’s not quite it. They know that the Internet is a powerful tool, and they use it for moral crusades.
The way they started was on 4chan, which was created in 2003. 4chan is a website that is totally sensor free and anonymous, where no one in charge. People can post what they want to post, say what they want to say, and see how far they can push buttons. Not quite the best place for sensitive people. Anyway, 4chan quickly attracted “netizens.” People started congregating on different boards, and found that they all shared a desire to mess with bad people. Anonymous kind of evolved out of that. They were people wanting to take things up a notch and actually do good.
Well I guess I have to backtrack for a second. Their efforts started as mindless fun, and expanded onto something more. So yes, they were screwing with people first, and the goodwill came after. There is an interesting account of them messing with a racist radio host named Hal Turner. Hal got pranked by 4chan members because of his remarks, and he decided to investigate and get the data of those people. He then published the data on his site to have his fans track down the prankers, most of which were underage. That didn’t stop him from posting their addresses online. The 4chan community told Hal take it down. He said no. Then the troops assembled and got him good. Hal was soon off the air, and imprisoned. His tactic was used against him. People in that sect of 4chan then realized that they did something good there, by getting a racist person off the air. That was when they decided to continue going on that path. As long as there was a good moral dimension to what they did, they determined their actions were good.
Operations and Shenanigans
Anonymous raised hell for leaders of the Church of Scientology. That was because they didn’t like how the leaders were trying to remove certain videos from the Internet. Anonymous attacked their website, and took most everything pertaining to Scientology off the Internet. Anonymous even went as far as doing a Google bomb for Scientology, where if you were to type “Dangerous Cult” Scientology would appear as a result. Anonymous also did a series of harmless, but intense pranks against the leaders, such as having hundreds of pizzas delivered to Scientology offices, and sending jet black faxes to them, so they would run out of ink. The leaders of Scientology had enough, and went to the FBI about it.
As part of “Operation Paypack,” Anonymous took down giants such as Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal for putting an end to donations on Wikileaks. It ended up costing Paypal over $5.5M to get out of that pickle. The bottom line is that Anonymous views themselves as the Internet Police. The Internet is not to be messed with. Hal Turner posted sensitive info of underage kids- wrong move. Scientology leaders tried to sensor the Internet- wrong move. Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal giving Wikileaks drama- wrong move.
Anonymous can’t stand hypocrisy. They don’t like it when the US Government practices what they say is illegal for others to do. The government has repeatedly done DDoS attacks and shut down sites. When regular people did so, they were prosecuted. This was especially the case when people would use software for such attacks, but it was always totally okay for the government to it, and Anonymous did NOT like that. Despite being harshly punished by the US government (10 years in prison,) DDoS attacks are viewed as “virtual sit-ins” by Anonymous. I guess it goes without saying what they did to different US government sites to teach them a lesson, haha.
There was one point they even overthrew the Egyptian government. Mubarak had shut off the Internet in Egypt, which was a major no-no. Anonymous instructed people on how to get the Internet back by setting up virtual networks that cannot be shut down by the government. They even went as far as helping people send out tweets. Same in Tunisia. And China. And many more countries.
On a smaller scale, Anonymous assisted citizens in a series of high-profile cold cases, coverups, and police brutality cases. They also launched crusades to uncover truths behind assaults, and reported their findings to authorities accordingly.
The YouTube videos by Anonymous are the perfect mix of creepy, fascinating, and enlightening. They do a great job in branding themselves. In most cases, they say what is happening, and what is going to go down. This keeps them from being scapegoated, and also stops others from claiming their work. Here’s a vid of Anonymous sending a message to Kanye West, which went crazy viral when it came out.
It takes a lot of work to become a member of Anonymous, it’s not a matter of just filling out a form and joining. You need to prove your worth with ideas or skillsets. You will later be invited to participate to become an Anon. They will call on you if you have other skills they can tap into. You can write web copy for them, help with videos- and contribute to Anonymous in many other ways without being a coder. Interestingly enough, only about a fifth of their members are actual hackers. The majority of them are protestors. Even though they don’t have a hierarchy, they do have a few people who take initiatives on certain operations. I guess it comes down to how organized and efficient they are.
So what are your thoughts on Anonymous? Are they heroes, or bandits? They aren’t digitally stealing money, so they are not after financial gain. They are just exposing people doing bad things. Of course, there are some members who may go astray. All groups have a few bad apples. But the ones that get the most press are the good ones. There are also repercussions to all the actions taken by Anonymous in the real world after all is said and done. There are always cases of people getting treated unfairly, post-operations. There are indeed immoral dimensions to Anonymous’ moral actions as innocent people become casualties in their crusades. I’d say that’s the darkest spot in their efforts.
I personally side with them in most of their operations. I’m all for social justices being made, especially when higher authorities decide to take the backseat. The tech aspect of it all is just so awesome. Tech superheroes for the win!
I don’t blog nearly enough. Between Twitter, Facebook, meetings, work, family, and the rest of life, blogging seems to have taken a back seat and I hate that. I would like to say this post will change that and I will go back to writing as often as I used to, but unfortunately, I don’t know if that is going to happen. I promise I will try.
I have been using my Apple Watch pretty heavily since I purchased it soon after it came out. It took a little bit of getting used to, but I loved it from the get go. That reminded me of how much I loved my very first smart watch, the Pebble Classic. I previously wrote about how I found the Pebble Classic to be a total game-changer, and as you can see now- it was indeed.
Rewind a few weeks back, and I am sitting with a friend who is building a startup that involves drones. Drones were something I always knew would appeal to me and my geeky side, but never really considered buying one, until that day.
I have been thinking about this trend way before Meerkat was a thing. In fact, I believe it first occurred to me before Twitter was a thing. Now before I explain why I think the trend is clear, let me state that I do not believe that each link in this chain replaces the one that preceded it. I believe that each stage remains relevant but its relevancy decreases as the new stage enters.