Last week Barcelona opened its doors to more than 100,000 visitors for the biggest mobile trade show on the planet—MWC 2019.
With the exception of a rather high-profile manufacturer, Mobile World Congress has always been the chosen stage upon which the latest mobile devices are unveiled, and 2019 was to be no exception—in fact, Samsung couldn’t wait and held their own “Unpacked” event the week before the event even kicked off! This was a smart move; they were able to generate extra hype over their Samsung S10, A50 and A30 and most importantly beat the competition in showcasing their folding smartphone, creatively named the Samsung Fold.
Huawei followed suit with a folding device, launching the Mate X early on Day 1 of the show. We also got to see the Sony Xperia 1, LG V50 ThinQ, and the Nokia 9 PureView with an incredible five rear-facing cameras.
But MWC is now so much more than the place for product launches; it’s where “connections are made, innovation is celebrated, insights are shared, partnerships are created and business gets done”.
In fact, this year’s big device launches felt like an appetiser more than a main course. Much to my personal delight, MWC 2019’s central theme was Intelligent Connectivity.
Shaping the future with Intelligent Connectivity
For far too long connectivity was the bridesmaid and never the bride, or the poor relation to high resolution cameras, AI, VR, and other flashier evolutions in the mobile industry than a SIM card.
Yet 2019 was the year of the SIM at MWC! Largely driven by the advent of 5G which brings the speed, flexibility, and reliability to deliver far greater services than ever before, the mighty SIM took centre stage and did not disappoint.
It is widely believed that Intelligent Connectivity marks the beginning of a new era, defined by highly personalised experiences, delivered as and when you want them, shaping the future of global industries as new innovations intelligently connect everything and everyone to a better future—sounds familiar, right? It’s IoT!
A total of 109,000 visitors from 198 countries had the opportunity to experience a huge number of hands-on Intelligent Connectivity demonstrations across a range of sectors including entertainment, transportation, environment and robotics from organisations such as Google, Huawei, Microsoft and Sierra Wireless as well as from GSMA programmes.
The common thread weaving its way throughout was the importance of using the correct form of connectivity to deliver the best possible end user experience, and future-proofing your technology whilst also keeping it secure.
Below I’ve detailed a couple of the key sectors that were well represented at the show:
Technology holds an immense power to transform and enhance people’s physical and mental condition. Artificial Intelligence and analytics are capable of increasing medical efficiency, facilitating remote surgery over superfast networks (Intelligent Connectivity!), providing access to information for those in remote areas, engineering synthetic organs, or transporting patients to virtual worlds for therapy and rehabilitation. Intelligent Connectivity lies at the heart of each of these solutions, offering opportunities for to develop new services, partnerships and revenues.
Perhaps the most jaw-dropping example of healthcare tech was the 5G livestream of a surgery performed at Hospital Clinic Barcelona. In front of a fascinated (and rather nervous) audience, Chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery Dr. Antonio Maria de Lacy directed the procedure, using a telestrator to highlight areas of high risk and provide further guidance to the on-site surgeons. It’s this kind of tech that will open doors for healthcare innovation and provide opportunities for investment. 5G has a huge role to play in the direction the industry is moving—and we’re doing our part with our recent 5G Project.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here and it is the most complex, inclusive, and automated revolution our world has ever seen. We have reached a point where physical technology such as devices, sensors, connectivity, and digital technologies including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and analytics have converged to create a truly smart and connected world.
Digital Transformation is key consideration for companies who want to stay ahead of the game, and this was reflected in its presence at MWC. From factory-floor tech demos to panel talks, there was a focus on how digitally-enabled customer-centricity will allow for reactive production and deeper partnerships.
Industrial data and its utilisation was also highlighted as a potentially profitable avenue of innovation—beyond simply data-gathering for internal insights, businesses can share collected data not only to establish themselves at thought-leaders, but also for significant commercial gain.
Supply chains were another talking point; they also stand to benefit from proper use of data, as logistics play a pivotal role in the uptake of and transition to automation that many chains are undergoing.
What with the superfast speed of IoT innovation and the enormous hype around 5G, cybersecurity naturally had a place the spotlight—the safety of data and user well-being are necessary considerations when it comes to new tech on the scene. There was a strong presence from the FIDO Alliance, with many of its members exhibiting critical and cutting-edge risk assessment, fraud-detection, and device protection solutions. GDPR also made it into the conversation at many stands, as an equally necessary consideration for many businesses that are still grappling with the new legislations.
It wasn’t all intangibles, though—biometrics specialists Aware demoed their state-of-the-art Face Authenticator solution. Through a multi-step process, the app combines reliable safety and ease-of-use to transform security-reliant experiences (such as banking) for users. This provides customers with a quick, safe, and welcome alternative to hammering in long and complicated passwords.
The explosion of IoT and Intelligent Connectivity continues to grow, and shows no signs of slowing. In the next five years, people can expect to see over 25 billion connected devices that radically change their daily lives. As smarter solutions are developed and operators create more powerful networks, the channel is in prime position to effectively deploy, grow, and scale IoT solutions for their customers.
So instead of trying to blow your mind (yet) with more of the weird and wonderful things we saw at MWC 2019, my call to action is to keep it simple! Whether you’re currently or soon to be a Pangea Partner, speak to us–we want to support you in your conversations about IoT and Intelligent (or managed as we often call it) Connectivity. The potential value is huge, the benefits are countless—and your customers will definitely thank you for letting them in on the world’s best kept secret!