The end of February is near and that means it is time for the biggest show in mobile to once again take over the city of Barcelona. As ~100,000 folks converge on this great city, we will be hearing about the biggest stories, companies and trends in mobile. Before making my journey to Spain, I wanted to take a few minutes to take an educated guess as to what topics are going to dominate this year’s event. So here are 3 predictions I have for this year’s MWC (Note: I think there will be a whole bunch more important topics, but for the sake of keeping this read short and sweet, these are the big 3 for me).
5G, 5G and More 5G: This is the hot topic of the day. The “item du jour” for the mobile space. At this year’s event, we are going to hear about the impending deployment of 5G. We will hear about standards and non-standards. We will also hear about test deployments, trials, carrier agreements and aggregation and a whole lot more about what 5G is and what it is going to mean for mobile users around the world. The exciting thing is that we are close to seeing this new standard hit the market and this new standard will mean blazing wireless speeds on mobile networks equaling some of the fastest wired and wireless wifi that we have ever experienced. This will be the key for other mobile trends like AR, VR, IoT, AI and Edge Compute ever realizing their potential. Speaking of…
Edge, IoT and Analytics: Okay, so this was kind of a 3 for 1, but I’ll take my lump because right now these three things have such tremendous interdependence that you really can’t have one without the others and mobile (and faster connectivity) is going to be key to realizing the potential for these areas. At this year’s mobile world, we will probably hear more Edge and IoT than analytics per se, but the reason for these deployments are all about the analytics and intelligence that we can extract from every single connected device on the planet to run better businesses and create better experiences. These will make for a hot topic and you will find it tough to not see these terms being thrown around at every booth and on every stage.
AI and Machine Learning: Really, the outcome of this analytics explosion that will come from the edge and IoT is going to be more stress on systems to provide real-time insights and predictive analytics. What is the right advertisement to serve this mobile user right now based upon hundreds of concurrent real-time and stored data points? Bottom line, even the most sophisticated data scientists will struggle to keep up. This is where machine learning and later it’s big sister AI will come into play. While today, more of the AI capabilities are still basic, the machine learning capabilities are exploding and they are helping companies rapidly sort millions of data points in short order so they can maximize the data they are collecting. This trend will find its way into conversations all over Barcelona at this year’s MWC.
Bonus Trend: AR/VR: I still put this one into the bucket of more hype than function, but AR more than VR is becoming an everyday part of the mobile experience. From Language Translation to Marketing on Wine Bottles to Industrial Repair, we are seeing practical applications for AR that will only get stronger as connectivity speeds up. However, VR is the event show stealer. While people aren’t really doing the VR thing in real life, it is the ultimate “Best of Show” trick. Companies love putting event attendees on roller coasters and in the middle of movie sets and vehicles in VR experiences at events. The challenge is this technology isn’t translating with any velocity into the everyday lives of mobile users. So, when I call this a trend, what I’m talking about is how popular it will be with attendees, but not necessarily that we will start using it when we get home.
Attending MWC 2018? Come see me?
For those attending MWC, I will be speaking daily at the SAS Booth discussing the keys to futureproofing your business, the impact of IoT and Analytics on the future of work and commerce and all sorts of other hot mobile trends. My session will be each day, Monday – Wednesday from 16:00 – 17:00 at the SAS Booth (#6F61). For more about the daily activities at the SAS booth check out their MWC page here.
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