Today was day two of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, where Mobile ID World president Peter O’Neill is investigating the identity management industry presence.
Facebook and Google both held presentations today, and the topic that had everyone talking was accessibility. Where as yesterday we were concerned with digital identity and the GSMA’s Mobile Connect platform we heard updates on the spread of connectivity from two of the biggest names on the Internet.
Mark Zuckerberg, creator and CEO of Facebook, spoke about the new Internet.org initiative his company is leading (and which you may have seen ads for on TV by now). The concept is simple: bring connectivity to the underserved masses. According to Facebook, two thirds of the world population do not have Internet access and Internet.org exists to break down the barriers in connecting that majority of the world population.
“We’re really serious about this,” said Zuckerberg. “We have these services that people love, that are drivers of data usage, and that people want to use. [People] want to get on the Internet to use them and we want to work this out so that it’s a profitable model for our partners.”
The obstacles standing in the way of mass global connectivity are basic but extremely prohibitive. As much as the cost of connected devices has decreased dramatically, money is still a major issue in bringing the Internet to the rest of the world, and when it gets there the content should also be in the appropriate language.
As we examined yesterday, the decrease in cost of handsets has allowed for a strong platform of digital identity to emerge. Continuing to attack cost barriers, in the end, will lead to higher adoption rates of these necessary connective technologies. We can see this in vertical markets like physical access control and it stands to follow that the consumer market will be much the same.
As we are already seeing with the burgeoning Internet of Things, where connectivity goes a demand for strong authentication and digital identity is soon to follow.
Facebook isn’t the only company endeavoring to spread connectivity. Google has been aiming to build a connected ecosystem with, well, our own real life ecosystem. Google’s Sundar Pichai took to a stage today at MWC to give an update on Project Balloon: an experimental project that has unmanned and connected dirigibles beaming Internet to the Earthbound masses.
Project Balloon started four years ago as an idea and two years later Google launched its first floating connection point. Today, Pichai announced some major advances in the viability of the initiative.
“We started our experiment about two years ago in New Zealand, and at the time we could barely keep the balloon up for five days,” said Pichai. “We were serving 3G speeds to antennas on the ground. We knew we had to keep the balloon up for three months for this to work. Today we are excited to announce that most of our balloons stay up for as long as six months – 200 days. Instead of 3G speeds we’ve made progress that we actually serve LTE speeds directly to mobile handsets on the ground.”
Combined with other Google connectivity initiatives like Google Fiber, it seems like it is only a matter of time before connectivity options reach a critical mass and create a connected globe. In terms of mobile ID and strong authentication, nothing could be more encouraging. Where there’s a connection there is an opportunity for identity.
Stay posted to Mobile ID World as we continue to bring you identity management focused coverage of Mobile World Congress straight from Barcelona. Follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss a beat.