AfriCAN Insight

Blue-sky thinking from Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak at ITW 2016

The headline act at this year's International Telecoms Week (ITW); the largest meeting point for the global wholesale telecoms community, was none other than Apple Cofounder Steve Wozniak.

Wozniak, also fondly known as “Woz”, played a defining role in the modern computing era, after he designed Apple's first line of products; the Apple I and Apple II.

He is the man widely credited with inventing Apple's original operating system and his work also influenced the popular Macintosh. “Woz” has since gone onto become a philanthropist and Silicon Valley icon, and most recently launched Silicon Valley's first ever Comic Con; a popular comic book convention.

Telecoms operators, such as Liquid Telecom, are exploring ways to help their customers innovate, and Wozniak's wealth of experience in the Silicon Valley tech scene is a great source of inspiration.

Wozniak is truly enthusiastic and passionate about technology - in the way only a talented engineer can be. A successful business, he explains, should have three things: A good engineer, a good business person and the right marketing.

“I see a lot of talented people come out of business school, formulate business plans then hire the engineer,” he says. “The engineer is the most important part. They are the ones who have built stuff all their lives.”

Wozniak continues to be fascinated by the potential of technology. The iPhone has become the most profitable product in history, totally transforming the way consumers interact with one another and the world.

More disruptive technologies and products are on their way, which could have the potential to entirely change industries beyond recognition. Wozniak spoke, for example, of the potential of driverless cars and the work going on behind the scenes at leading car manufacturers towards turning the concept into reality.

But it was virtual reality that captured his attention the most that evening at ITW 2016. Joined on stage by Jens Christensen, CEO and Founder of virtual reality start-up Jaunt, and Jeremy Bailenson, Founding Director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the trio discussed the growing range of applications for virtual reality.

Virtual reality, for instance, can be used to help athletes improve decision making without risk of getting injured, or it can be an effective form of treatment for anxiety and other psychological disorders. The business world has also begun experimenting with virtual reality, which many experts believe could evolve into an effective marketing tool for products and brands.

The panel concluded that like any emerging technology, the success of virtual reality will hinge on discovering more use cases and justifying to consumers why they should stick a virtual reality helmet on their head.

Businesses need more inquisitive minds and talent like Wozniak, who are constantly dreaming of products that can enhance lives and challenge the status quo.

At Liquid Telecom, we are exploring ways to help our customers innovate more. We are inspired by blue-sky thinkers like Steve Wozniak, and want our customers to also think about how technology can transform their business.

To speak to a member of our innovation team, contact:

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