Mobile World Congress 2017 (#MWC17): My take away messages.

This edition of the Mobile World Congress is over for me already, even though the show still goes on tomorrow.

It seems that this year all the numbers around the event have increased since previous editions ever since 2005 (12 years ago already);

  • greatest economic impact into the city of Barcelona,
  • largest number of accredited press,
  • greatest number of attendees (more than 100,000),
  • largest exhibition area with close to 115.000 squared meters, and
  • greatest number of exhibiting companies (more than 2,000).

I have been there for 3 full days, walking around, playing with demos, and talking to people here and everywhere. Even though I have done my best, I have not managed to visit every inch of the exhibition area.

Therefore, if you are reading this, please do not treat my thoughts as absolute claims or indisputable statements. What I write hereafter are just some random thoughts that I take back home right now after an exhausting, even though extremely interesting, last day at MWC:

  • Everything tends to be called 5G. Everything. What is true, however, is that 5G will have an impact into everything.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. Everywhere. Not sure if it still makes sense to have a dedicated area for the IoT, being the great majority of booths talking about the IoT in one way or another. The IoT is here, and everywhere.
  • Connectivity of the future: 5G New Radio,  millimeter wavesNB-IoT, Sigfox, Lora, WiFi. These terms have been omnipresent. I am not saying there are no other interesting solutions, but I have found them everywhere in this edition of the MWC.
  • The IoT, comprising both sensors and actuators, will need to co-exist with human-based broadband and media content. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Slicing seems to be the keys to solve the co-existence among data flows with extremely different needs in massively crowded networks.
  • Missioncritical applications together with strong human-machine interaction about to explode. Ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability seem to drive the key requirements for communication networks of the future, enabling tons of innovative applications not feasible in the past.
  • Not sure if this is just because of the nice marketing power of Virtual Reality or because of the true potential behind it, but this year VR has been all around the place. Some demos have been really impressive. If the economic impact and business opportunity is close to the “wow” effect it generates, get ready for a great revolution.
  • Key vertical markets/applications that will drive the future of the mobile industry: Connected car, Industry 4.0, Smart Grids, Smart Cities, e-Health, and in a smaller scale, smart homes.
  • The value of data. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data…call it as you wish; technically, there are differences among these terms; roughly and inaccurately speaking, they refer to the same idea: getting value out of data. This is the future…well, indeed, this is the present already. Cloud platforms, IoT platforms, and mobile Apps to store, manage, and process data have been key players into this edition of the MWC.
  • Other stuff of interest: tons of new phones with bigger screens, smart watches, smart earphones, smart wearables, smart glasses, smart cameras, smart drones, … and many more interesting new technologies that will, most probably, play a highly relevant role in the very near future.

My last thought: in this edition of the Mobile World Congress, I have the feeling that it is becoming pretty evident, and generally accepted, that generating value is the key concept, not technology (by itself) anymore.

 

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