In many ways, this year’s Mobile World Congress was an evolution, not a revolution, but none-the-less the show provided a very important peak into the not-too-distant future of mobile experiences and connectivity. Here are a few of the highlights:
5G: Like the past couple of years MWC was highly focused on what a 5G future will look like. The promise of an ultra-fast and reliable mobile network like 5G is easier to envision when you consider that 5G is estimated to be more than 10X faster than current 4G networks. In essence, that means consumers will be able to download a full-length HD movie in less than a minute. More importantly, it means that all of the technology advances we are currently being promised like smart cities, autonomous vehicle fleets, IOT, OTT 4k / 8k video services, and rich AR/VR experiences will find a home beyond WIFI, and that is critically important if we are to move a distributed experience society. The big news in 5G is that we now have dates for its gradual rollout. Sprint announced that it will be bringing 5G networks to six cities (Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston) by April, and T-Mobile announced that it will begin building out 5G across 30 cities this year.
AI: Artificial Intelligence is the buzzword that can’t quit giving and that was rather evident at MWC 2018. Still, there is some truth in the marketing spin around AI, even on the trade floor. The latest Samsung flagship smartphones (the S9 and S9 Plus) were revealed and were built with AI in mind, quite literally. Samsung’s virtual assistant – Bixby – is integrated tightly into the phone and allows for image recognition, translation, and is much more useful than the first edition of Bixby. New chips from Qualcomm and others were built to allow for AI processing and most manufacturers touted some kind of AI support. The real test of AI, beyond the spin, will be if computers can get smarter and faster in delivering seamless, personalized experiences to the consumers. If they are, then what we saw at MWC will live up to its hype….
Time will tell.
Other tidbits: Oath announced AR ad formats, bezels on your smartphone are disappearing for good, Nokia re-released the banana phone, Android Go gained steam and there was a human-sized autonomous drone on display at Innovation City. The future is look faster and smarter than ever before.
Author: Joe Scartz | TPN Chief Digital Commerce Officer