By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 4, 2013
Atlanta can be one of the premier leaders in mobile technology, according to leaders in the industry meeting at the first Mobility Live! summit at the Woodruff Arts Center on Oct. 1.
In fact, several executives already believe Atlanta is on its way.
“I think Atlanta is one of the most connected cities in the world — whether it’s fiber connectivity or mobile broadband technology or cloud capability,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. “The opportunity is huge. … We can be a global hub of mobile technology and be one of the premier cities in the world.”
AT&T Mobility is one of Atlanta’s biggest bragging points when it describes itself as a mobile hub. But AT&T Mobility is owned by AT&T Inc., which is based in Dallas, which has always given some economic development leaders in Atlanta heartburn that the company could be uprooted in the future.
Not to worry, assured de la Vega.
“We are very happy with Atlanta. Our chairman is very happy to have our headquarters located here,” de la Vega said. “I think AT&T Mobility will be here for a long time. We have got everything we need to be able to thrive in this great ecosystem. We couldn’t be more thrilled about what we have here in Atlanta and how it’s growing.”
Another evangelist for Atlanta becoming a global center for mobility is Alan Dabbiere, chairman of mobile technology firm AirWatch LLC. “We need to pull everyone together in Atlanta and make Atlanta a center of mobility,” Dabbiere said.
Dabbiere admits Atlanta does have its challenges. “Silicon Valley, Austin, New York, Boston — all of those are better known as technology hubs, so Atlanta has some catching up to do from a visibility perspective,” he said.
Atlanta also does not have a signature tech company like Apple or Microsoft to help put it on the map.
“People need an image to sink their teeth into — an iconic image,” Dabbiere said. “I want to see this city be a huge success in mobility. It’s important for the future of Atlanta.”