James is giving a talk on “The Future of Mobile” as part of the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe series in Leeds next month.

We all have a mobile phone. We’re talking less and messaging more. We’re swiping touchscreens, sharing selfies, voicing our opinions, downloading music, movies and books we’ll never consume. We’re downloading apps by the million, we expect information to be at our fingertips in a nano second. Our devices are now monitoring our heart rates, blood sugar levels and our happiness. Siri and Cortana will chat to us until we can chat no more. But what’s next?

As well as James sharing his vision with you, there’ll be lots of opportunity for you to talk about what most excites you about how we’re using mobile technology.  We look forward to meeting you there.

aql Salem Bar
11-15 Hunslet Road
LS10 1JQ Leeds
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 4 November 2015 from 10:00 to 12:30

Entry is free, you can book for our session here.

Do also look at the other events over the two days.

Brilliant Minds in Madrid

Patricia Hayter interviewed me for the Truphone blog about speaking at TADSummit and Brilliant Minds.

Patricia Hayter :
James, you were recently on the road in Istanbul at TADSummit and also in Madrid speaking at the sensational Brilliant Minds event. Please tell us firstly, how was Brilliant Minds?

James Tagg :
Well it was quite scary because it is a presentation in the round.  The venue was originally built for boxing matches. The ring’s been replaced, there are no ropes anymore, just TV screens. You speak without notes for 21 minutes exactly, there’s a little timer on your presentation that counts down and when 6 minutes or so are left, you are tempted to panic!

The line-up of speakers was very interesting.  The doctor who invented the Pacemaker, the scientist from NASA responsible for stopping asteroids hitting the Earth, and the artist who took the Tiananmen Square shot of the lone Chinese citizen facing a line of tanks. It was special to be invited to join the same line-up as these famous people. I had a full time minder for the duration, and even my own dressing room, which made me feel like a star.














I chose to talk about my personal experience of inventing, and the science around invention and creativity.  I covered growing up inventing fun things as a child and then some of the things I have been involved in as an adult such as the invention of the touch screen and of course, Truphone’s technology.

If you look at the history of inventing we didn’t really understand creativity and invention until the Renaissance but since then innovation has accelerated so that it is a major driver of commerce today. Now that computers are getting so powerful, one of the most interesting questions for me is: can computers be creative and invent too?

It’s a topical question – this question of the power of machines – because of the interest in Alan Turing. The recent film, The Imitation Game, tells the story of Alan Turing and his efforts to break the Enigma Code during WWII, but we should remember this is not his greatest achievement. He invented the modern computer; or, at the very least, the modern discipline of computer science.  Turing provided us with all the original scientific underpinning describing what computers can and cannot do. One of the things he proved when he was only 22 years of age, was that computers could not automatically discover new mathematical theorems. But of course, mathematicians do this all the time. So if a computer cannot discover a theorem but a human can, does that make us fundamentally different?

This is one of the world’s great modern questions. We do not understand how the human brain works or what consciousness is, we do not know whether we are computers, and we don’t know where the boundaries of computers lie.  Will computers overtake us intellectually or are there things they cannot do? At Brilliant Minds, I put forward my theory that humans have a fundamentally different approach to thinking.

You launched your book, ‘Are the Androids Dreaming Yet?’ – in Spanish, in Spain. What was that like?

The conference I was speaking at was predominantly Spanish-speaking and I felt it was polite to do so.  It was an interesting exercise to use the internet to find all the necessary skills from all around the world to launch a book in a language that I didn’t speak! The English one is on the way shortly.

Are the Androids Dreaming Yet?

The book is about the three big questions: How do humans communicate with each other – body language, humour, and all the things that make us human beings?  Why and how are we creative? Can we be sure that computers are not going to be creative? In the book I give examples of computers that have been designed to be creative like AARON, Emily Howell and JAPE – art, music and jokes respectively.  They’re quite impressive but they definitely have limitations. Having tackled those questions I look at the issue of free will, since our first creative task is to choose what to be creative about.

If there is no free will, and we are not choosing what we do, how can that be creativity?  I don’t believe everything is pre-determined and our feeling of freedom is an illusion, I believe we create our own lives.

Sounds like this might be quite a heavy book?

Well I hope I have tackled these questions in an accessible way that anyone could read but I don’t gloss over the science. I want readers to properly understand why the world of information and invention is the way it is.

During your time in Madrid you met with some other people at the UK Embassy.  What did you discuss there?

The day before Brilliant Minds we invited about 40 people – a mixture of CIOs and journalists to a breakfast with Forrester.  Forrester discussed a new report on the degree of mobilisation that work forces had achieved, broken down by country.  Spain ranked one of the highest meaning that they use mobile phones and tablets rather than computers for their transactions than nearly any other country in the world – booking a flight, checking into a hotel, writing emails, and even buying books on Amazon!

dyd_mc2_201014_90979378_1 (2)

I went on to discuss what is driving companies to use mobile technology.  I believe businesses are super-specializing, meaning we reach out across the world in real time – to answer questions, to learn, to get work done, to speak to experts, and so on.  This trend really started when Academia launched the internet on the rest of us.  Academics and medics had been collaborating for decades using proprietary networks before the technology broke out of CERN – with the invention of the World Wide Web – and entered the wider business community.

Now of course we all expect to interact globally from wherever we are. I explained to the audience that this included me honing my presentation using my laptop perched on the seat of a taxi, while the marketing and graphics people back at home edited the presentation in real time. My presentation was a lot better for having those last-minute touches made, making it more relevant and immediate. You might wonder if I would be better preparing further upfront but this would lack the ability to respond to events and the current situation. If you aren’t working and fine-tuning your presentation and proposal right up to the deadline and your competitor is, they will have something better than you.

I explained how the Truphone network is designed to optimise your experience particularly when you’re travelling. But it is important to point out it is just as good when you’re at home and want to collaborate. Our unique network architecture is built with an internet philosophy. Data and voice are kept local wherever possible and only authentication is routed to home servers.  This means web pages and applications work faster and calls have low latency. We also have a flat tariff across 66 countries which means you don’t have to worry about roaming – you can work the same as if you were at home.

Many of our customers are attracted by the cost proposition; however the gains in productivity are often the greatest improvement to their businesses.  Customers regularly see data and voice usage double, while at the same time costs go down by around a third. The CIOs and journalists seemed to understand this point.

So we can get your book online?

The book is available in Spanish, right now on Amazon Spain. The English version will be available soon.

Muchas gracias, James Tagg.

Are the Androids Dreaming Yet?

TADSummit 2014 Istanbul

I spoke at TADSummit on “The Services Vision of a Global MVNO / Online Service Provider (OSP)”

I looked at upcoming issues around coverage, not “burning” our customers on cost, continuing to make things simple and apps that work well on mobile, such as health-monitoring. I also gave a few insights into the “weird and wonderful” things that I think are going to start getting a foothold in the next few years.

My presentation is on Slideshare

I’ve just returned from ClueCon 2014, the FreeSWITCH telecoms conference. James Body and I ran the popular Dangerous Demos event, where developers compete for prizes by rapidly prototyping new ideas and trying them out live on stage – the braver, the better.

There were some great demonstrations this year and they made me wonder about the future of mobile. So, here are my six predictions for mobile phones in 2015.


Video Built-into the Phone

Whether you’re a consumer or business, video is now a major tool. Skype has shown video over IP can work on the PC and this coming year we are going to see it as a native capability of most phones. Our research shows over 60% of businesses people have used video when travelling and that number is growing all the time.

So far the limitation preventing greater use of video has been the complexity in setting up calls when constrained by the user interface of a small device. However, 3GPP standards have slowly made their way through approval and will likely hit handsets next year, enabling simpler video calls. Every contact will have a video symbol next to their name just like the phone and messaging icons we have already. Video calls are likely to be interoperable between carriers and handset too – no more walled gardens.


APIs and WebRTC

Mobile carriers are becoming more open to developers. This will mean new services and mash-ups between internet content and mobile operator services. Remember what happened when video opened up on the internet? The same is about to happen to real-time communications.

Consumers won’t see this directly. What they will see is the hundreds of services launched by companies born out of this change. Want an online baby monitor that pushes video to your desktop at the first hint of a cry and a text message to interrupt you if you don’t take an immediate look? There’ll be 20 of them next year. The winning carriers will be those with the most open networks and the easiest frameworks for developers to plug into.


With iOS 8 delivering support for calling over Wi-Fi, we’ll start to see voice data and video seamlessly transported over Wi-Fi hotspots extending cellular coverage into those hard to reach places. If there’s good signal, voice calls will be automatically routed over Wi-Fi, just as iMessages are today. Apple has been the first to announce support, but other vendors will race to follow. Wi-Fi will become a regular talking point – where is it and is it good enough to use?



We’re constantly connected now as we move from desktop to mobile to tablet to TV in our daily routines. All our services are in the cloud and we therefore expect the experience to stay the same even if the device changes. If I’m watching CNN on the TV in the morning I want to be able to get on the train, open my iPad and pick up where I left off.

Being able to transfer context between devices will become a big thing next year. We get some of this already – for example, when shopping on Amazon – but truly seamless multi-device experiences are still a work in progress for many. I don’t want to have to start again each time I change device.

Bring Your Own Device

Employers will soon stop offering business devices and instead empower staff to bring their own devices to work. In some enterprises you may already experience this today.

If you want a cool new smartphone you’ll buy it yourself and if you want the basic office phone your employer will buy it for you. Soon many will simply abandon the idea of giving you a cheap device and it will become your responsibility, just like buying a suit and tie (or shirt and chinos in a high-tech company like Truphone).


Health and Well-being

Finally, phones are going to become our personal trainers. There’s already an app that takes your pulse and measures oxygen levels in your blood. Put your finger on the camera on the back of the phone and it measure changes in ambient light, which penetrates your finger as your blood pumps around the body. It gives an indication of the amount of oxygen in the blood and your metabolic health. This sort of technology will get a whole lot better and become an integral part of our phones.

Hold your phone in front of your food and it will tell you how many calories are in it. Ask your phone to make you healthier and it will nag you every morning to do your exercise: “No you can’t read your emails until you have done another five star jumps”. Getting stressed in a meeting and it might even interrupt and give you an excuse for a break! Once mobile devices get personal it follows we’re going to get even more attached to them. Perhaps not quite as far as the movie Her, but…

Find out more about Truphone and our technology at the Truphone website.

Originally posted on the Truphone blog.