Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs believes the future of tech – in all its sci-fi glory – is already here, presenting amazing opportunities as well as serious challenges.
Speaking to Om Malik on Qualcomm Live, Jacobs discussed the embedding of wireless into almost all objects, in a world where mobile phones became more of a remote control than a talk enabled device.
“People will be injecting sensors into their body,” he said, adding, “it may sound like sci-fi, but it’s not that far-fetched.”
Jacobs said the world of mobile was following a “natural progression,” and evolving as it moved forward. “We’re on a path now and people get it,” he explained.
Speaking of some of the advances in telemedicine, Jacobs admitted that while physicians in the Western World tended to adopt new technology at a slow pace, the same was not true of the developing world, nor of the over-the-top (OTT) fitness and wellness industries, which were pushing ahead with new sensor technologies.
“The emerging market is a huge trend for wireless,” said Jacobs, giving the example of teledermatology, whereby smartphones could be used to snap photos of skin diseases on people in remote locations and sent off to experts for immediate analysis.
Qualcomm’s engineers are also working on a model of the human brain, Jacobs revealed noting the firm’s engineers were busy developing “really cool and interesting stuff that’s way out there.”
In terms of current core businesses, Jacobs discussed the growing level of integration in chipsets to reduce costs, saying the firm was using a more “trickle up” effect rather than the standard trickle-down from higher end products. Qualcomm, he said, was also working hard to push out reference designs to partners, which he claimed cut down on development time and cost for OEMs wanting to push out products quickly and cheaply in the emerging markets.
The Qualcomm chief also spoke briefly about the Atheros acquisition, saying it had been key in the firm’s strategy to come out with “different radios targeted at different kinds of applications.” Jacobs also said Qualcomm as a company tended to make smaller acquisitions and would continue to do so.
“We’re not just a CDMA company, we’re a wireless technology company,” he said outlining Qualcomm’s plans for pushing the envelope by expanding network capacity, building “super cheap” base stations and continuing to develop augmented reality into “real 3D.”
Microsoft Windows 8, due to launch in just over two weeks, would also herald a “huge amount of creativity” said Jacobs, mulling the possibilities of new thinner, lighter computing designs running on ARM chips.
For all the good technology brings, however, Jacobs admitted he did also have fears for the risks the world now faced because of it.
“I worry about cyber security,” he told Malik, outlying his concern for a ‘Blade Runner’ type situation should the country’s infrastructure ever get hacked.
One thing Jacobs isn’t overly concerned about, however, is an ongoing bout of patent wars. “the patent stuff will settle itself out,” he posited, noting that for its part, Qualcomm preferred to “create more peace” through cross licensing.