WATTPAD – Deep Gratitude from a Parent
By Michele Brod, Md7 Lease Consultant
As a parent, I’m keenly interested in the apps my children use on their phones. Mostly, I monitor that the app is age appropriate (and how much cellular data it consumes). Online reading apps have been a life and budget saver, as my twin 13 year old girls are avid readers and it has been challenging to keep up with their appetite for new material. Toronto based Wattpad, with over 45 million subscribers every month, has taken the online reading platform several steps beyond electronic books.
Wattpad allows authors to post original works online, as a finished product or incrementally, for example, chapter by chapter. Readers create a public or private profile and can post comments, questions and suggestions which appear as a comment bubble icon in margins. Reader suggestions incorporated into the next segment of a story get honorable mention (a “shout out”) from the author. Wattpad monitors content and comments for profanity, abusive language and bullying, just to name a few online problems I’m concerned about as a parent. The company hosts online writing competitions, the two main ones are called the “Wattys” and “Just Write It.” More popular stories often spark “fanfiction,” where fans create spinoff stories of their favorite characters or side story lines undeveloped by the original author. (There have been some issues regarding fanfiction and copyright infringement, for authors of books currently printed for sale. The company works with authors and publishers to identify and remove such material.)
The most popular work on Wattpad, “After” by Anna Todd, has been published in book format and rights to “After” were acquired by Paramount Studios. Wattpad has collaborated with several publishing firms to help aspiring authors transition to print and other media. A new division, Wattpad Studios, aims to centralize and develop initiatives that give authors a chance to profit on their work.
As for my concerns as a parent? Content is restricted to age appropriate genres and I’ve barely noticed any data use for the app (less than 1 gig/month each phone line.) Additionally, my young readers have expressed interest in becoming young authors and submit to Wattpad regularly. Hollywood, here we come!
Wattpad is currently available in over 50 languages, with over 300 million story uploads and 90% of all activity occurs on mobile devices.
A Look Forward Over the Next Four Years
By Tom Leddo, Chief Operating Officer
This is the second article in a two-part series. Article one is titled “A Look Over the Last Eight Years.”
In the accompanying blog, A Look Back Over the Last Eight Years, I write about the cultural changes that have occurred from 2009-2017, the timeframe when Barack Obama was President of the United States. Of course, I am commenting on the revolutionary changes that resulted from the mainstream acceptance of the smartphone – not politics. The inspiration for that blog was the number of smartphones being used to take photos of Obama as he greeted attendees at his farewell speech in Chicago during his last week in office. As I watched this play out on TV, I pondered how “that would not have even been possible eight years prior because not enough people owned a smartphone when George W. Bush left office.”
In this accompanying blog, I pause to look ahead to the cultural changes we anticipate as the smartphone continues to impact our daily lives. Similar to when I watched the Obama farewell address, I watched Donald Trump take the oath of office and noticed someone holding a phone over Trump’s left shoulder (note the screenshot above). This individual shot a personal video of the historic moment when the Constitutional Republic of the United States of American transfers power.
If we look forward over the next four years or so, I am sure we will be amazed at the continued technological advancements over the duration of President Donald Trump’s administration. We will see significant network evolutions including 5G wireless and the Internet of Things enabling smart cities, autonomous operations, real-time health monitoring and a plethora of applications to advance society and make our lives easier.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, we can expect big advancements in software that brings voice recognition into the mainstream, turning our phone into a hub that controls our entire home and blows our mind with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.
This WSJ article also points out that we may see a plateau in the development of smartphones themselves. In other words, we do not expect a lot of innovation in the hardware unless there are huge leaps in the use of pliable glass that may allow us to fold a tablet and slip it in our pocket.
Bendable glass! What’s next? Self-lacing shoes? Oh wait, those already exist. Well maybe someone will develop an app that links my phone to my self-lacing shoes for some reason that I can’t yet imagine but will be using daily in the next 4-8 years.
All these mobile apps only work if there is an underlying network with enough capacity to enable them. The insatiable appetite that consumes network bandwidth will not end. So, In the meantime, Md7 will keep working to get sites On-Air Faster to enable this exciting future!
A Look Back Over the Last Eight Years
By Tom Leddo, Chief Strategy Officer
This is the first article in a two part series. Article two is titled “A Look Forward Over the Next Four Years.”
As I watched President Barack Obama’s Farewell speech delivered on January 10, from McCormick Place, the large, sprawling convention center near downtown Chicago I couldn’t help but reflect on all the change that has occurred over the last eight years.
After President Obama finished his speech, he walked along a rope and greeted hundreds of supporters, many of which worked on his campaign teams or on his staff in the White House. Our culture has shifted over the last eight years because of his leadership and the policies he implemented. However, as I watched him greeting the crowd with hundreds of camera phones flashing in his face, I realized that our culture has also significantly changed due to the impact of the smartphone and all the subsequent apps and technology. Mobile Technology is rapidly changing our daily lives impacting society, politics, interactions, experiences and opportunities for those across the globe.
As the President strolled the rope line shaking hands, hundreds of people were using their phones to snap up-close photos. Others were turning their backs to him to snap a selfie with him in the background. I am sure there were some who were even broadcasting this moment on Facebook Live.
Think about it. We now have the ability to broadcast worldwide, in real-time, our own personal videos of anything we want by simply clicking on an icon and lifting up our phones. This is all possible because of the advancements during a mobile revolution that took place more or less over the last eight years.
While the iPhone was actually released in June, 2007 while George W. Bush was in office, it didn’t become mainstream until a year or two later when Barak Obama was in the White House. Since that time web pages like Facebook and Twitter evolved into mobile apps, we began watching movies on the go, and countless new apps were created like Instagram, Periscope, Uber and my personal favorite – UberEats.
All this required massive upgrades and expansion of the wireless infrastructure. Including the introduction of LTE technology and significant and continued capacity additions; fiber deployments and backhaul upgrades; DAS; in-building deployments; small cells; Wi-Fi integration and hotspot technology; cloud-RAN and continued technology advancements to provide better coverage, capacity and wireless network performance with existing as well as new spectrum.
I can’t help but also reflect on the last eight years at Md7. During the 2008-09 timeframe when Obama was elected and came into office, Md7 was still primarily working as a lease optimization company following the consolidation of wireless operators a few years earlier. In 2010 and 2011 we began to capitalize on our experience renegotiating thousands of overlapping leases in response to the industry consolidation expanding to negotiate thousands of lease modification amendments as part of the LTE rollout. We developed new processes to more efficiently execute site development including scaling to deliver projects encompassing thousands of amendments to leases with private landlords, and tens-of-thousands of applications for site upgrades and expansion on sites owned by the major tower companies. Md7 also developed high volume zoning/permitting and land use services to more effectively manage cycle times. Advancements in our LiveTrack™ software took our project management capabilities to an entirely new level. And in 2016, we began working to scale architecture and engineering services as well.
All of this was done in anticipation of the need develop sites for an industry where the growth curve is flattening. Now, Md7’s operating model develops new and existing sites (both macro, micro and small cell) more quickly and at lower costs than we even thought was possibly a few years ago.
As I look back, there is no question, the smartphone was the catalyst for these changes over the last eight years or so. But I have to acknowledge that the single biggest change at Md7 on a day-to-day basis is that we now operate in a much more expense focused and competitive environment. I am glad we were ready for it.