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June 25, 2008

Adapting at speed

ESPOO, Finland – Switching from a hardware manufacturer to one that doesn’t just “do” software and services, but leads the way with them, takes some doing. Rapid innovation, constant reinvention and a fearless quest for the future all sound good, but what’s the reality like?

Speaking to the South African Times, Bob Iannucci, Nokia’s chief technology officer, helps highlight how Nokia has the ideal philosophy, structure and working
environment to adapt at speed.

Bob says

“Since coming to Nokia, I’ve found that, during the strategy process, the leadership is pretty honest about the state of the industry and the need to reinvent, and there’s a very healthy discussion — and a low degree of politics or turf protection. The management structure is very flat, and strong interpersonal relationships are what drive the company forward.”

But also key to the success of Nokia’s move to towards “services and software for mobility” is its considerable investment in research centres, especially in high profile Universities such a Cambridge in the UK, and the ability to act quickly on ideas. Bob continues,

“Our researchers augment the universities’ work, the academic researchers get the potential for future commercialisation of their ideas on a vast scale, and we accelerate one another’s efforts.”

Naturally, all this heavy investment in R&D is going someway towards, as Bob puts it, Nokia trying to ‘fuse the physical and digital worlds.’ This means getting your Nokia handset to interact intrinsically with your surroundings and not having to worry about compatibility issues. The emergence of NFC technology has shown this is already more than a far-flung reality but Nokia is always broaden it’s research net with Bob revealing the company is…

“…looking at how wristwatches, sensors in your car and other types of input devices might interact with your mobile phone so that you can get a whole range of data, from information about your health, to the status of your automobile, to whether there’s traffic a few miles ahead.”

So as you can see Nokia is feverishly working behind the scenes to make our mobile life and handset interaction as seamless as possible but Bob Iannucci also made the prediction that the mobile communications model will follow that of the PC industry where standardisation is flourishing and incompatible hardware is going to be, in the main, a thing of the past.

Given yesterday’s announcement about Symbian, Bob’s words take on a whole new reality. What do you think?

Photo from laserstars