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CTIA: Big Three CEO’s Talk Innovation, Environment And Connection In Keynote Session

AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega Keynoting at CTIA 2011 (photo: TDG LLC)

Here in San Diego at the CTIA Enterprise and Applications show the setting was much more subdued for today’s power hour of CEO keynotes. Former Seattle Seahawk and CTIA President, Steve Largent, opened up the keynote this morning.

Largent talked about the wireless’ industry’s response to national catastrophes and of course the catastrophe that is the “Spectrum Crunch” insuring attendees that our country is indeed in the need of more spectrum.  At one point Largent suggested there weren’t many industry’s ready to give the government billions of dollars, except of course the wireless industry to free up more spectrum.

At last years opening day Keynotes the CEO’s of all four tier 1 carriers, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were to square off, moderated by Mad Money’s, Jim Cramer. After the AT&T/T-Mobile announcement T-Mobile’s CEO pulled out leaving an interesting showdown between Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, Verizon Wireless CEO, Dan Mead and AT&T Mobility CEO, Ralph de la Vega.  Each CEO threw punches last year about the other’s carrier.

More after the break

This time around things were much more subdued and all three CEO’s took the stage separately.

Hesse was first up as he’s not only the CEO of Sprint but he’s also the Chairman of CTIA this year.  He focused his speech on ways that the wireless industry can be more environmentally responsible. Hesse touted that all three major carriers had made the Dow Jones Industrial list of companies that are contributing positively to the environment.  He also highlighted an initiative that Sprint is taking this year to have green days from December 24- January 2 where the main campus in Kansas City will turn the thermostats down and dim the lights. During this period Sprint employees are encouraged to go on family vacations or if need be, work from home.

Hesse also highlighted distracted driving an issue near and dear to his heart as his son has just turned 16.  Hesse brought up the fact that 20% of car accidents with injury stem from distracted driving with the larget percentage of those accidents involving drivers under 20.

As he opened up his talk he talked about President Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth saying that AT&T CEO Ralph De La Vega reminded him of Booth.  De La Vega happily returned the punch when taking the stage after Hesse calling Hesse the best actor in the wireless industry.

De La Vega spent his 30 minutes talking about innovation initiatives happening company wide.  AT&T has started 3 AT&T Foundry centers in Israel, Dallas and Paolo Alto.  These three centers are designed for developers to work on ways to innovate and incoroporate AT&T’s technology into new apps and new wireless solutions.

De La Vega showed three very interesting videos surrounding this theme. AT&T has taken new strides in the mobile health space with partner companies.  Some of these technologies include a peakflow monitoring system for asthmatics that allows an asthmatic to do a peak flow test any where in the connected world and immediately send their results to the cloud and the doctor.

De La Vega also showed off a telemedic app that allows doctors to monitor patients in the home, in the hospital, or in a rehab or nursing center.  This allows doctors to stay on top of their patients progress.  De La Vega went on to say that implementing these kinds of mhealth systems will save millions of dollars and allow patients to live freer lives without having to go see a doctor to deliver simple results.

De La Vega also announced an initiative called TIP within AT&T company wide. TIP calls for employees to submit ideas at any level. According to De La Vega these tips will be vetted and possibly funded in the same way Venture Capitalists fund projects.  To date they receive 500 TIPs a month and have already funded 50 or so including the recently announced “Toggle” by AT&T.

Finally Dan Mead offered more on the same themes as both Hesse and De La Vega. Mead mentioned September 11th and the reaction that the wireless industry was able to have with the technology it holds.

Mead spent most of his talk discussing connected devices and machine 2 machine (M2M).  He reshared a statistic that there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world by 2020 a theme echoed at the GSMA event yesterday.

There wasn’t any talk about 4G/LTE and definitely no steal cage match ,moderated by the wild Jim Cramer but definitely a very interesting look at innovation and connection.