Since it’s patently obvious to point out that wireless and mobile technology is ubiquitous, let’s look at some raw numbers from wireless industry trade group CTIA. In New Jersey in 2012, there were 8.9 million wireless subscriptions, which might sound like just a number until you realize that the state’s population that year was only 8.8 million.
In the state, mobile media generates about $1.1 billion a year and creates what CTIA calls an “app economy” that itself has created about 19,500 jobs tied directly to mobile technology. And still, for Paritosh Bajpay, vice president of service design and development at AT&T, there is still so much further to go from this junction where the PC age meets the mobile-held, or “M-held” age.
Bajpay will be the keynote speaker at the New Jersey Technology Council’s Mobile Applications Forum & Competition event on Wednesday, June 25, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Princeton University’s Friend Center. The event will feature a series of panels and presentations throughout the day on all things mobile-app, including a mobile medical applications panel, the latest on app research, investment opportunities, and app competition winners.
Joining Bajpay will be Cesar Bandera, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at NJIT; Michael DePalma, president of M3Health; Patrice Tremoulet, associate research professor of information sciences at Drexel University; Adam Turinas, president and senior partner at Navio Health; Rick Weiss, founder and CEO of Viocare; Edgar Choueiri, professor at Princeton University; Mukund Iyengar, assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Technology; Alan Wink, director of EisnerAmper; Daryl Bryant, CEO of StartUpValley; Mung Chiang, professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University; Ari Rabban, founder and CEO of Phone.Com; Ed Zabar, head of media and telecom at Fairmount Partners; and J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T, Mid-Atlantic States. Cost: $50. Visit www.njtc.org.
Bajpay was born in a small part of remote India, where even television didn’t reach. But thanks to his father, a civil engineer, Bajpay “felt free to build stuff,” like his first transistor radio. His father became his role model for thinking technically and broadly, he says, and he was free to experiment with whatever he felt like to see what he could do with it. He also credits his Jesuit school education, which he said taught him the importance of practicing introspection and being a caring member of society.
Bajpay followed his Jesuit education and love of technology to St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, where he earned his bachelor’s in computer science. At age 19 he came to the states to pursue his master’s in computers from NYU Polytechnic. Bajpay began his career with AT&T in 1982 when AT&T and Bell Labs were one, as a computer programmer responsible for creating database management systems. He then moved to AT&T’s Unix lab in Murray Hill to work on the budding field of network connectivity. As his career progressed, he worked in communications protocols, network management protocols, and E-servicing. He also built an operations support systems for customer service and network service assurance. Last year, Bajpay moved back to AT&T Labs to take charge of its mobile app development and the migration of the AT&T network to the cloud. At last count, he holds or co-holds 78 patents.
Mobilize everything. This two-word statement is a combination of corporate mantra and societal inevitability. For AT&T, it is the direction its technology is heading; for the world, it’s about to be a way of life.
Right now, Bajpay says, we are at the crossroads where PC computer technology is about to be eclipsed by M-held technology. According to International Data Corporation, 87 percent of all connected devices in 2012 were smartphones and tablets. These devices, Bajpay says, are becoming more and more diverse, requiring more and more complex apps and technology to run them.
They are also sucking up more bandwidth. Right now, AT&T handles 66 terabytes of data every day, Baypay says. To put that in perspective, a single terabyte of audio recorded at CD quality would yield 2,000 hours of music. At AT&T’s daily consumption capacity, you could listen nonstop to the same CD for more than 15 years.
And yet, Bajpay says, AT&T is about to expand to 100 terabytes a day to accommodate the growth of video, games, texts, talk, and app usage flying back and forth between the roughly 19 billion machine-to-machine connections that occur annually. Or, at least, that’s how many there were in 2011. Where we are three years later, no one knows yet, but it’s certainly bound to be more.
Changing the lifestyle. With all this information and data comes a paradigm shift in how we live our lives and how businesses (some now and some in the near future) will change to meet us. Imagine, for example, a clothing store, Bajpay says. The historical model of operation is, you browse, you take a shirt to the counter, and someone rings you up on a register.
But in some high-end retailers, sales associates walk around with tablets, and when you find your shirt, boop! They ring you up on the spot and there’s no register. This will change the dynamic of shopping and the makeup of businesses, Bajpay says. Sales associates will fill different roles — staying mobile as opposed to riding a register. Though this change will likely require fewer employees, Bajpay counters that the workforce overall is also becoming more productive every day. Instead of mobile technology making us all obsolete, we’re finding ways to use it to be more productive.
However, if you’re technically inclined, you may have a future in app development that could make you quite comfortable.
Developers. Perhaps inevitably, the tech world has adopted something of a model from biotech and pharmaceuticals. In those latter industries, few companies have teams of researchers chipping away to find new medicines anymore. Instead, they let innovation happen and then buy the results of independent thinking.
In the app world, AT&T has taken the same approach. “We don’t have to develop the apps ourselves,” Bajpay says. “We enable creation of those applications.”
Specifically, AT&T provides channels through which app developers can create and submit their inventions, through its websites and through company-sponsored events like Hack-a-thons. These avenues allow developers to create, but also help the created apps get exposure to a broader audience. In addition, AT&T operates “The Foundries,” five innovation centers (in California, Texas, Atlanta, and Israel) where the company brings together vendors, designers, venture capitalists, researchers, and inventors to build more and better apps that will allow the world to operate on mobile tech.
The kinds of things people are coming up with still excite Bajpay, and even amaze him sometimes. To think that people right now are walking around with devices that monitor their health — with apps that can spot a problem the user doesn’t even know he may have and alert medical professionals who will come out and deliver the proper care — is one of those things that still gets a wow out of the tech-seasoned Bajpay.
What’s more, these innovations are happening at increasing speed, which, ultimately, will change the world at an escalating pace. “It’s getting more exciting every day,” Bajpay says. “And the speed of innovation is getting faster. What used to take us two or three years to build we’re now building in months. In some cases, even weeks.”