Letter from the Editor

By: Tim Young

“My restless, roaming spirit would not
allow me to
remain at home very long.”
- William “Buffalo Bill” Cody

When I think of the most glamorous, idealized version of the American “Wild West,” my mind goes to Buffalo Bill. He lived the iconic western experience—he was a Pony Express rider at age 14, fought in the American Civil War, and was a civilian scout during the so-called “Indian Wars.”

While not every aspect of his early adult life was above reproach when viewed through a modern lens, it’s what he did next that truly stands out as his major contribution to the myths of the American West.

Bill packaged up the glossiest, most romantic elements of the western experience—horsemanship from members of the Pony Express; stagecoach robberies; bloodless battles—and made them a part of a traveling show that drew in millions of spectators through the years. He toured Europe and met Pope Leo XIII. He introduced the world to Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane. He set up an independent exhibition in the shadow of the famed Chicago World’s Fair and drew in countless spectators. His exposition was responsible for honoring the legendary west while simultaneously creating many of the Wild West tropes we still imagine today.

Why was Buffalo Bill so successful; and what on earth does he have to do with mobile communications and entertainment? He was successful, in part, because his show was a safe, convenient way for the average resident of New York, Boston or London to transport themselves to the unconstrained, mythic, unfettered west. He wasn’t selling a show; he was selling freedom. For the duration of his show, the audience was no longer penned in by crowded streets, stark factories and filthy gutters. They were running, full speed, across the open terrain of the great beyond.

Is this an overly grand metaphor for what mobile communications offer to the average subscriber? Maybe, but not by much. Buffalo Bill couldn’t remain at home for long, he says, but he traveled the world surrounded by all the trappings of home. He brought the Wild West to the people; but in doing so, he was also constantly enveloped in a slice of the life that had become familiar to him in his unfettered youth. And that’s sort of what we all want, isn’t it? We want to be free to do what we want, but not without sacrificing certain comforts of home. 

The promise of mobile communications has, from the start, been the idea that you can go anywhere without severing your ties to certain comforts. Your restless, roaming spirit can see the world… but you don’t have to miss an episode of Top Chef. Maybe that’s not as glamorous as roping and riding and feigned gunplay; but while Buffalo Bill might have changed his spectators’ afternoons and inspired their imaginations, mobile technology is changing our daily lives in an increasing number of ways.

This issue of Pipeline explores the modern realities and emerging promises of the mobile experience. We hear from AT&T on the ways in which millennials are changing the mobile landscape, and look at the impact of mobile communications on the enterprise space. We explore the state of the small cell and talk about how the quest for content is shaping M&A activity. We discuss wireless security, mobile gaming, automated infrastructure management, and the state of mobile voice communications. We also touch on business transformation and bring you lots of other news and opinion from the world of integrated communications and entertainment (ICE) technology. Enjoy, and stay wild.

Tim Young


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