Reconnecting the world through intelligent innovation

 
 

At the end of February we went to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress - the world’s hotly anticipated, not to mention largest, exhibition for the mobile industry. Think 2,400 companies and 100,000+ attendees in a space the size of 10 football pitches.

This year’s theme was ‘Intelligent Connectivity’ and focused on how fundamental mobile is and continues to be to our personal experiences. Who stole the show? Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, T-Mobile and Xiaomi were our clear winners.

Here are the five things that stood out to us:

 

1. The (almost) 5G era

We are on the cusp of a 5G revolution. It’s been the talk of the town for a quite while now and has been coined the next big thing.


What we heard:

The shift to 5G will change the game. Get ready for fast, reliable and agile connectivity across everything from devices, business and even healthcare and Smart Cities.


What we saw:

What we learnt:

‘Cusp’ is the operative word here. While roll out has started in the USA, Australia, China and parts of the Middle East, it’s still in its initial stages globally. It may not be here yet but it’s coming.

 

2. Mixed reality

All year we’ve been hearing rumours that Microsoft had something big to reveal at this year’s MWC and they did not disappoint. Introducing the HoloLens2.

What we heard:

Aimed purely at enterprise, this interactive devise brings Augmented and Virtual Reality together to solve business challenges.


What we saw:

What we learnt:

Mixed reality is not just a toy, it’s big business. Airbus, Honeywell, Pearson and Saab are already customers.

 

3. Women4Tech

The tech world is notoriously male dominated - only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.

What we heard:
Empowerment and equality. Women championing each other for the good of the technology industry and encouraging men to join their cause too.

What we saw:

Women4Tech-2.jpg

What we learnt:
Inclusivity programmes and events like Women4Tech are important to starting the conversation and bridging the gender gap.

 

4. Playful phones

We can literally fold smartphones in three ways. Enough said.

What we heard:
Touted as the future, mobiles are embracing new forms and structures. Brands taking things to the next level to offer something new to customers. It’s not just design for design sake either - they have the convenience of two-devices-in-one.


What we saw:

What we learnt:
Prices are sky high and folding phones are arguably still proofs of concept at this stage. They’ll need to prove that this isn’t just a fad. However, the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and now the Huawei Mate X brought such a wow there were 3-hour long queues. Motorola have confirmed they are releasing one too, although LG aren’t getting involved just yet.

But is it just us that is worried that now our phones can fall on either side and break the screen?!

 

5. Trust comes first

Amazon, Apple and Google are already leading Intelligent Connectivity. The way we use and consume their products, services and brands has moved from a simple exchange to more of a relationship. They are connected to our lifestyles now - we feel comfortable interacting with Alexa, Google Home and Siri, allowing them to assist in our day to day activities.

What we heard:
From a brand perspective, the hottest topic amongst business leaders is trust. At MWC, Mastercard’s stand was all about Trusted Life Connections. We saw them show off a number of solutions designed to reduce fraud, increase usability, and give the consumer greater control.

What we saw:

What we learnt:
Building a trusted bond with customers is essential.

“Trust lies at the centre of every relationship; but who and how we trust is changing, and the way we build trust is evolving. From making a payment to sharing information in the digital and physical worlds, safety and security are table stakes, while connections and understanding are the new currency.”
Rose Beaumont, Mastercard Newsroom.

 
 
 
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