Those who read my blog regularly will recognize the company Akamai. I have featured it in several Technology Stocks posts as well as in an interview with Willie Tejada for my Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing series and an interview with Tom Leighton for Entrepreneur Journeys. Since being founded in 1998, Akamai has been a company that accelerates and delivers content and value-added services to an international collection of customers.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Mike. Let’s start with a bit of context about Akamai’s presence in the mobile and social domain.
Mike Afergan: Obviously, you’re familiar with Akamai in terms of what we do, which is empower a large number of the world’s largest and most important websites. That work gives us an opportunity to both work with leading companies in terms of what they’re looking to do with mobility and ultimately help to enable those applications. With many of the world’s leading sites, as they’re developing their mobile strategies, we’re privileged to be part of those conversations. We help to enable, accelerate, deliver, and secure those experiences across a variety of mobile devices those companies are delivering to.
I break mobile into two large categories: devices and cellular connectivity. Those two trends are interrelated but still fundamentally different. It’s important to understand and explore each of them and how they interplay.
Taking devices, most people understand what that means. Only a few years ago, tablets didn’t exist. The way that we thought about interacting with Web was largely through a PC interface, perhaps a laptop interface. The way that people interact with the Web today is fundamentally changed and focused more on the device. The device is a number of different pieces. It’s a portable device that is pervasive in your life. It is often a different form factor in that you’re thinking about a phone or a tablet. It may have a different input modality. Siri is a great example of interacting with the Web through speaking as opposed to typing. And a device is something that we bring into our daily lives. It has the ability to interact with the physical world in which we live as well. There are a lot of pieces encapsulated there. But clearly, the trend of portable devices, portable connected devices is an important and critical trend in the space called mobility.
Related but separate is the trend of cellular connectivity, which is the ability of the device to be connected when it’s not in the presence of a Wi-Fi connection, wherever that may be. That opens up a variety of challenges and opportunities. The clear benefit of this is the pervasive connectivity or hyper-connectedness where a user can be connected all the time independent of where he is or what he’s doing. That, too, enables a large class of applications. Cellular connectivity comes with its own sort of challenges in terms of connectivity and capacity challenges. These two things lead to a number of trends.