Mobile IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Terry Ray

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

How Portugal's Age of Discovery Is Related to Enterprise Mobility [#IoT]

Technology has been shaking things up for millenniums

This week I had the good fortune of spending time in Lisbon, Portugal.  I met with several hundred business men and women at a mobility event in Microsoft's auditorium in Lisbon, at banks and with mobile network operators where we discussed digital transformation, enterprise mobility, IoT and mobile strategies.  In preparation for these discussions I did some homework.  Here is what I learned about Portuguese history and how it relates to digital transformation and enterprise mobility.

The Portuguese developed innovative sailing technologies and navigational skills in the 15th-century that enabled ocean-going ventures, where before most ships stayed within sight of land or took very short excursions. Portugal's Vasco da Gama (among others), using these innovations and skills, sailed south and east and ultimately reached India in 1498.

As a result of reaching India and exploring trading opportunities, the Portuguese were able to corner the profitable trade in eastern spices by displacing their competitor, Venice, who had a long established monopoly on a land-route for bringing spices to Europe.  Portugal transformed and optimized supply chains and logistics which gave them a giant competitive advantage!!!  They opened new markets and trading routes, globalized and took advantage of economies of scale.  For over 100 years the Portuguese had no European rivals on these long sea routes round Africa.

What were these innovations that enabled Portugal to develop such a competitive advantage?

  1. They thought bigger and more strategic
  2. They explored new technologies and invested in the winners
  3. They recognized the value of innovation
  4. They recognized the value of opening new markets
  5. They recognized the value of globalization
  6. They recognized the value of optimizing existing business processes, logistics, supply chains, etc.
  7. They recognized strategic global economic opportunities
  8. They understood the value of navigation technologies and how they could optimize routes and logistics
  9. They developed a navigation school to scale these skills in order to better compete globally
  10. They invested in advanced naval architectures to enhance ocean-going capabilities
  11. They invested in the knowledge of astronomy to enhance navigation skills

The Portuguese were able to establish sea routes round the Cape of Africa, which enabled Portugal to undercut the Venetian trade with its multiple layers of middlemen, slow and risky deliveries, and costly and inefficient transportation.  Seemingly overnight Portugal had a competitive advantage gained by being able to sail large ships, across oceans, carrying huge loads, great distances, efficiently.  These capabilities transformed markets, globalized, opened new sales channels and displaced competitors.  These transformations sealed the fates of two nations.

Technology has been shaking things up for millenniums.  Today mobile technologies are transforming markets in much the same way.  Here are some comparisons for your consideration:

  • The ability to use turn-by-turn navigation transformed the GPS device market and helped optimize routes and workforce utilization.
  • Mobile devices and apps transformed field service work.
  • Smartphones with powerful cameras killed Kodak and most stand alone digital cameras.
  • Mobile apps for banks are quickly reducing the need for branches.
  • Mobile apps and mobile browsing killed Blackberry
  • Mobile apps for insurance claims are reducing the need for claims adjusters and optimizing claims processing.
  • Web and mobile technologies are changing the way education is provided.
  • Mobile apps for research and shopping are impacting retail stores.
  • The ability to read books and watch movies and to listen to music on mobile devices eliminated the need for video stores, record stores and bookstores.
  • Mobile and IoT technologies are in the midst of transforming healthcare

What lessons can we learn from the Venetians who lost their businesses to Portuguese innovation? No matter how secure your position in the market seems to be, competitors are innovating and looking for opportunities to jump ahead of you.  Your company should be that innovator!


Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Browse the Mobile Solution Directory
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.