It’s a wrap! The 2018 Mobile World Congress officially came to a close last week in Barcelona, Spain. And what a busy week it was for us! Thanks to our clients, partners and everyone else who stopped by our booth.
Mobile World Congress is the most significant technology event in the industry where you get an opportunity to see firsthand the latest innovations and trends in mobile and connected devices. A notable trend this year is around connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT). No longer is it only about the connectivity of individual devices, but how these devices connect between one another. We also learned how other evolving technologies are a part of how IoT operates, and, no pun intended, how they are all connected as part of the bigger picture.
From connected self-driving cars, to smart cities, to robots, we are getting closer towards 5G becoming a reality. Here are a few key takeaways from this year’s conference and what excites us the most for the coming year.
5G is expected to revolutionize mobile communication as evidenced at MWC. 5G is the next generation of wireless mobile data connectivity. It promises more bandwidth with lower latency. This means it can transmit more data than current 4G technologies — theoretically at peak speeds, 5G can be 20 times faster than 4G. The technology is very relevant to the growth in the IoT industry, which is anticipated to reach around 20 billion devices by 2020, according to estimates by Gartner. We saw many vendors on hand showcasing their developments based on 5G.
While not quite ready for mainstream, the momentum around 5G is building. Carriers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and China Mobile announced their initial 5G rollout plans in select markets this year. However, adoption won’t be immediate, especially as devices, infrastructure, and networks to support it will take time to build out. Once up and running, we can expect to see more smartphones with 5G support.
According to industry analysts, we are poised to see 5G as a major component to making AI smarter and more useful in people’s everyday lives. The combination of 5G networks with artificial intelligence can help machines better understand language in context and feed their ability to learn. At the conference, we saw some significant ways that AI will be used in telecommunications in the coming years. Imagine being able to predict ongoing consumer usage based on their device, location and consumption habits. This can help organizations vastly improve the ways that networks are managed and planned.
IoT was a hot topic at last year’s MWC and continues to be this year. The growth in IoT has meant that every type of industry is now looking at connected technologies from automotive, manufacturing, utilities to healthcare. We saw a lot of focus on end user and enterprise applications with edge computing being a significant enabler of enterprise IoT applications. In edge computing, the cloud computing power is closer to the network edge so that devices within the networks are lighter and easier to operate. In regards to IoT, this means that data processing can happen at faster speeds between connected devices with almost unlimited storage capabilities. From transportation to how we communicate, automation is certainly creating smarter services and a new way to live life. From what we saw, the 4th Industrial Revolution with IoT has arrived, with mobile at the heart of it.
Technology is changing at a record pace and no industry is immune to it. While we’re still a ways away from realizing the full potential these technologies promise, organizations need to start thinking about the impact on their own business and the opportunities they present. 5G is expected to be a game changer on all fronts. It will be interesting to see how things transpire over the next 12-24 months as we get closer to a 5G connected world.
To learn more about the future of communications technology, check out our whitepaper.