POV: Mobile World Congress 2014 Summary

MINDSHARE POINT OF VIEW - Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the must attend mobile event of the year. Over 75,000 people attend to learn and experience what is on the horizon. Here are a few of the big trends from this year’s show.

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the must attend mobile event of the year. Over 75,000 people are in attendance to learn and experience what is on the horizon. Here are a few of the big trends from this year’s show.      

Internet of Things
It was a major theme at CES 2014 and Barcelona reinforced this with a huge array of “connected everything”. Although this is a ‘mobile’ event, the smartphone and the tablet was not centre stage at many demos. Much of the messaging was around the connected home, the connected car and the connected life. Qualcomm showcased its connected home and AT&T showcased a connected city.  Similar to CES, big auto highlighted connected car technology and showcased apps that can be utilized for a better driving experience.

Emerging Markets + Inexpensive Smartphones = Big Growth Opportunities
Companies such as Nokia and Firefox are looking for ways to connect developing and emerging markets with powerful yet inexpensive smartphones. Parts of the world cannot afford iPhones and other high-end handsets from LG and Samsung etc. The premium smartphone market is now saturated, so manufactures are looking for big growth opportunities to bring in the masses at lower price points. These smartphones range in price from $25 - $80. This coupled with the fact Mark Zuckerberg stated during his keynote that he wants to bring inexpensive data access to the masses via sets the scene for a connected and smartphone powered world.

The Connective Tissue of Data
IBM stated that “data is the natural resource of the 21st century”. Companies such as IBM, HP, Oracle, SAP, Dell, etc. were all on hand showcasing their infrastructure and how our devices and data are all working together. Accenture and Kantar were on hand helping people make sense of all the data. FitBit had a large presence showcasing how wearable technology and data solutions can improve your life through hardware, software and the cloud, all working together.

Mobile Payments Omnipresent
There has been much hype around mobile wallet payments in the past, this year there were more announcements with PayPal and Samsung teaming up to include a PayPal app available not just for your smartphone via fingerprint authentication (on the new Galaxy 5), but a mobile wallet for your Galaxy Smartwatch. Additionally, MasterCard is helping to bring impulse buying to the world of apps by adding the ability to make purchases within a mobile app. Although there is much buzz still around the mobile wallet, there is still time to go before it is main stream.

The Emergence of Madison Avenue at MWC
As the mobile ecosystem grows from a mobile advertising perspective; many publishers were on full display at MWC: Millennial Media and InMobi were facing off directly next to each other with giant booth presences; Facebook was the keynote at MWC and Yahoo had a large contingent. In fact, the Mobile Media Summit was in full of clients, agencies and publishers debating the issues in mobile advertising.  Unilever deployed a global mobile marketing SMS platform called Konnect that focuses on messaging offers to people in developing and emerging markets. Look for a bigger presence by Madison Avenue next year as word is many big clients are going to start making their presence felt to showcase innovation and understand what is on the horizon for consumers in the future.

Big Auto Revs Up For the Connected Consumer
As the new saying goes: ‘your next mobile device is in your driveway’. Voice activated applications leveraging Ford SYNC 2 highlighted how voice commands can now help you find the best parking across Europe! Ford also stated that 79% of industry experts believe connectivity will soon be the primary decision in car purchases and 8o% of cars will be “connected” by 2020.