Had the pleasure of attending the 4th annual What's Next Forum & Technology Awards that was hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston this evening. The event which is organized by MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) brings together the brightest minds in the Boston tech space while giving us East Coasters an opportunity to roast the "big bad guys" on the West Coast and specifically in Silicon Valley.
There were two distinct highlights of the evening in addition to the award presentations. The first being a panel discussion titled "What's Next for the Device Web: Emerging User Experiences," that was moderated by David Kirkpatrick, senior editor of Fortune magazine. Of course as we've mentioned in the past on GenY TechGuy, we're big fans of David and have had the pleasure of chatting with him in the past. David is pretty familiar with the Boston / Cambridge tech scene from his current role at Fortune and received his BA in English from Massachusetts's Amherst College...Albeit way before we were born.
Joining him on stage were Gary Kovacs, vice president at Adobe; Boyd Peterson, senior vice president at Yankee Group; and David Rose, founder & CEO of Ambient Devices.
It ended up being a truly rewarding discussion with Kovacs and Rose trading one-liners and Peterson astutely chiming in with his non-partisan view. The crux of the conversation focused on the evolving mobile device and where we go from here. I was really impressed with Rose who stole the show with a few one-liners like the one he threw out when he had to ditch his blackberry half-way through the panel because it was causing problems with the audio equipment. Peterson tried to get across that this was an illustration of how hooked Rose was to his mobile device. Rose barbed "To me it's like a Swiss Army Knife, it does many things but the only thing it does really well is fit in my pocket."
The overall theme seemed to be moving beyond the mobile device being seen as just a mobile device and instead looking at it as a window into the Web experience that we have grown to love. Designing future devices to maximize the the Web experience on mobile platforms.
Amazingly enough, Rose and Ambient Devices have taken the idea of the "Digital Living Room" as it applies to mobile and entertainment technologies and brought the idea to the Kitchen.
In teaming with LG the company has brought the idea of the "Mobile Refrigerator" to life. They brought up an interesting stat in this approach. The average American family goes to their refrigerator more then 60 times a day. Making the refrigerator the center of the family life and the most touched item (outside of Blackberrys) for most Americans. So why not make it a resource for items outside of food you say?
The LG LSC27990 refrigerator http://us.lge.com/products/model/detail/home%20appliances_refrigerators_side-by-side_LSC27990.jhtml comes with an Ambient weather service which provides a five-day forecast for your area and displays on an HD ready LCD screen located on the front of the fridge.
Who needs a computer, newspaper or a weatherman for that matter...Beer and weather, The Fridge 2.0 has you all beat..
More on the forum tomorrow...