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POV: MWC 2017 Trends Prediction

Background:

Mobile World Congress has pivoted in recent years from a purely mobile focused exhibition to one that takes in all facets of new and emerging technology. Here are some of the major trends likely to be covered when MWC 2017 kicks off next week.

Implications:

More than just mobile:

Last year, Virtual Reality was one of the stars of the show and this year there will be an entire hall devoted to product innovation. Hall 8.0 includes the NEXTech showcase featuring forward-thinking companies and disruptive technologies, from virtual reality/augmented reality and robotics, to cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and more. The hall also includes the IoT Pavilion and the Drone Zone. The NEXTech Lab will also form part of the pavilion, with an open theatre offering content-led presentations by industry experts leading in these cutting-edge technologies. Companies confirmed for NEXTech include the AR/VR Association, DJI, OptoVR, Softbank Robotics and VRtify. 

Talk of 5G:

We are another year closer to the expected rollout of the next-generation wireless network, known as 5G, so expect lots of talk about 5G's potential at MWC 2017. 5G promises much faster speeds than our current 4G network — theoretically it's 100 to 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE — and it's built to handle all the connected devices that are now part of our lives. However, there have been teething issues rolling it out. We expect everyone at MWC, from operators to OEMs, to be talking up the benefits of 5G and how they’re building products around it.

The Internet of Things:

Unsurprisingly, mobile is being positioned as the ‘essential element of the IoT’. Each year at MWC the IoT plays a larger and larger role and this year it will be a major focus. At the conference, we can expect a new generation of smart devices to be launched, generating more data that in turn provides invaluable business opportunities for mobile operators, governments, cities, companies and industries around the world.

Connected vehicles:

These are being listed by the GSMA within the IoT section, but I think they deserve to be talked about in their own right – we will see quite a lot of new smart automotive tech at the conference. We are already seeing cars becoming ‘Smart’, with driver assistance systems (the Tesla M has had its Autopilot feature since 2014) but advances in V2X technology, 5G networks, the GSMA embedded SIM specification and improved security for connected solutions will further aid and accelerate the realisation of fully autonomous vehicles. Connected vehicles will not only be driverless, but ownerless, especially in crowded urban areas. In order to deliver a regular tailored service, partnerships are forming between media companies, automotive manufacturers and other ecosystem players.

Summary:

Each year MWC gets closer to becoming the CES of Europe and in 2017 you can be sure that the trend of covering more than mobile will continue. Whether you are heading to Barcelona for VR, AR, Drones, 5G or IOT you’ll be among 100,000+ people getting their mobile geek on.