mobile world congress 2018 barcelona

MWC18 wrap-up: top themes & takeaways

Mobile World Congress 2018 just wrapped up in Barcelona, Spain. Held at Fira Gran Via, this year’s event drew over 107,000 visitors from all over the world, with 55% of attendees being senior-level executives. There were also more than 2,400 exhibitors and over 3,500 media and industry analysts present during the event.

Over the course of four days, discussions and presentations were held on the latest trends in mobile. Here are some of the most important takeaways and talking points that mobile industry insiders will be discussing for the remainder of 2018 and in the years to come.

IoT as the 4th Industrial Revolution

The driving concept of the 2018 MWC event was the idea of IoT as the 4th Industrial Revolution. Our world is becoming more and more highly connected through advancements in everything from telecommunications to transportation. We live in a digitally automated society and that level of automation affects every single industry and pretty much every aspect of our lives.

Take for example, the auto racing industry. In a keynote address on Tuesday, McLaren CEO Zak Brown talked about how the company is able to use data & connectivity to monitor 25,000 parts in their F1 racing cars in real-time during competition races.

As part of the same keynote on the 4th Industrial Revolution, Sue Siegel, Chief Innovation Officer for GE, stated that, “The company of the future is one that not only delivers economic value, but also societal value and environmental values.” She also stressed the importance of adapting to change and being prepared for the industrial revolution. “The pace of change will never be as slow as it is today. Think about that,” she said.

The Future is 5G

We’ve seen the future, and its name is 5G. While 5G technology probably won’t actually happen for real until 2020, it was still the topic du jour of MWC18.

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With consumers spending more time on their mobile devices and consuming more content on the small screens, there is a great demand for faster download speed and larger data capacity. And since IoT shows no signs of slowing down, 5G is an absolute necessity when it comes to the facilitation of all the “things” that make up the Internet of Things.

“5G is becoming a commercial reality due to increasing data traffic and for cost control,” stated Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm. “A lot of the technologies today depend on the mobile infrastructure. We see 5G as a way of actually showing the value of the network and positioning the network operator at the center of the ecosystem.”

Connectivity and Modern Digitization

Given the impact that 5G is having on the industry as a whole, it stands to reason that service providers are making plans to capitalize on the trend. CIOs will be tasked with becoming digital transformation gurus and will have to come up with new ways to think about cyber security, AI, machine learning, analytics, and other forms of modern digitization.

In the opening keynote session at Mobile World Congress, Marie Ehrling, Chair of the Board at Telia and Securitas, said that “connectivity will be the connection that binds together the fabric of every company.” She also stated that the “killer” KPI of the future will be digital agility.

Speaking on the issue of cyber security, McAfee CEO Chris Young discussed quality over quantity with a goal of “making cybersecurity our quality.” He also talked about how cyber criminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and how the entire industry has to work together in order to stay one step ahead of them.

AI & Technology’s Role in Society

The past decade has seen incredible advances in the health and education technologies. AI is paving the way for new treatments and cures, while online learning programs are making it possible for anybody in the world to learn pretty much anything at any time. This is the power of technology for the good of humanity.

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During the Keynote “Creating an Artificially Intelligent Future,” Georg Polzer of Teralytics spoke about using Mobility Graph during Hurricane Harvey and how AI can help to save lives, “if we train it on the right data.”

Ran Krauss, CEO of Airobotics shared a demonstration of what drones will be able to do in the future and how they can be utilized in high-risk environments.

Artificial Intelligence combined with the Internet of Things will continue to be an exciting and hopeful trend when it comes to improving the quality of life for people around the world.

Content, Media & The Digital Consumer

Content is still (and probably forever will be) king, but the way people interact with content has changed. With more and more digital content being consumed from mobile devices, companies are being forced to find new ways to capture and hold their audience’s attention.

“Content is just as important as intent. When you combine both, it leads to context.” This was the advice of Oren Jacob, CEO and Cofounder of PullString. “The more you engage your audience, the more you retain your audience, and the more you will segment them.”

With all of the current talk of “fake news” and Facebook’s recent ordeal involving stories promoted during the U.S. election, creating a bridge of trust between the content provider and the consumer is becoming increasingly important. If we get to the point that nobody feels like they can believe anything they read online, we’re all in big trouble.

4YFN 2018 Recap

As part of Mobile World Congress, the 4YFN (Four Years From Now) program helps connect startups with investors and other corporations.

4yfn 2018 barcelona

4YFN Barcelona 2018 saw over 20,000 attendees including 600 investors. This year’s 4YFN agenda included break-out sessions and discussions about AI, blockchain, IoT, technology transfer and corporate venturing. It also featured one-on-one investor meetings and pitching competitions.

Each year, the 4YFN Awards startup competition showcases ten finalists that get to pitch on the main stage and meet with investors. This year’s 4YFN finalists included Eccocar, B-wom, Combine, Brokoli, Boxmotions, viisights, Jelurida, IOMED, ZAPIENS, and CogniFiber. The 2018 4YFN winner was Boxmotions.

4YFN 2019 is scheduled for February 25th – 28th.

All the Cool New Toys

Of course, one of the main reasons that people flock to Mobile World Congress every year is to get a look at all the latest innovations and cool new toys. This year’s event certainly didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights of new products that made their debut at 2018 MWC.

  • The robots are coming! The Mi Robot Rover, Konka, and Hello Eddy robots were all a big hit with the MWC audience this year.
  • Making history at this year’s Mobile World Congress, Huawei wowed the crowd by utilizing AI in its Mate 10 Pro phone to drive a Porsche. It also unveiled the MateBook X Pro lightweight laptop.
  • The newest mobile phones to make their debut at Mobile World Congress: Sony introduced the Xperiz XZ2, LG showed off the AI-assisted V30S, Samsung delivered the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, and the Asus Zenfone 5z made its first appearance. Nokia showcased several new models, including the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 6, and the Nokia 7 Plus. And finally, Google introduced a new line of affordable handsets called “Android Go.”

Mobile World Congress 2019 Predictions

When it comes to Mobile World Congress predictions for the upcoming year, look for more news relating to cyber security and protecting content integrity. Virtual and augmented reality will become an integral part of the mobile experience thanks to further advancements in 5G. AI, blockchain, and IoT will be embedded into mobile development even more and continue to dominate the landscape and will give us a lot to look forward to at MWC19.

Mobile World Congress 2019 is scheduled for February 25th – 28th in Barcelona.


Image credit: mobileworldcongress.com, newsweek.com, twitter.com