With over 100.000 visitors every year, Mobile World Congress is the most important annual conference to attend for people in the telecom industry.
This year at MWC, a big focus was on Internet of Things and it was unavoidable for visitors to learn more about low-powered wide area network technologies such as LoRa, NB-IoT and SigFox.
Last year, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and 5G got a lot of attention. This year, VR and 5G were commodities. But some use cases were still very impressive. Samsung was not only showing Gear VR and a new motion controller, but provided shaking tables, and a 360-degree theme park roller coaster cradle. Nothing to try for people with motion sickness – but theme park owners might prepare for being obsolete.
Speaking about standards, fights are still (i.e. always) performed on the standardization battleground. Standardization bodies such as ETSI, but also ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, TSDSI, TTA, and TTC have hard times to select the best solutions; organizing themselves into entities such as 3GPP (which recently gave 5G a new logo!) is one efficient way to improve the work, and the mobile industry is silently thankful for all standardization work.
Connected means smart and now anything from beehives to street lights are smart. Your fridge knows the optimal temperature and adjust itself accordingly. Bottles are smarter than ever, at MWC exemplified by a water bottle used for training as well as a baby bottle used for breast milk. Speaking about babies, R/GA’s Owlet Baby Care Smart Sock was selected as winner of the 2017 Global Mobile Awards, in the category Best Mobile Innovation for Health, where the author of this text was part of the jury.
As Berg Insight wrote in a recent report about mHealth and Home Monitoring, there is a strong trend towards incorporating more connectivity in medical devices and pharmaceuticals. At MWC17, this could be seen at exhibition booths belonging to tech giants such as Qualcomm, Nokia, AT&T and many others. There were also a category of startup-like companies providing a wide range of products, both in the MWC halls and the 4YNF part. Ivyhealth is one example, a direct competitor to the more well-known Withings, showing a wide range of products that soon will be on the market.
For fleet management developers, it is worth to notice the launch of Scania One, a framework for connected services for fleet owners and drivers. The launch during MWC was done together with Ericsson, who published a new report estimating the business opportunity of leveraging 5G to digitalize industries to be over 1.2 trillion US dollars by 2026. The biggest revenue is estimated to come from industry verticals such as energy utilities, manufacturing and public safety. Furthermore, representatives from Ericsson says in their summary video that 5G is not anymore something that people are just talking about. It is real. Now. It might also be the reason why so many network equipment providers, operators and other stake holders were presenting use cases (including drum playing robots!) at MWC.
Anders Frick, Berg Insight
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