Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mobile World Congress Debrief

At MassTLC’s recent Mobile World Congress Debrief on March 7, 2014, an audience of mobile app developers, infrastructure providers, investors and analysts gathered to hear our panel discuss their observations from the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC).   Nitzan Shaer, Managing Partner at High Start Group, moderated the panel, which included:
  • Gene Dolgin, Senior Manager, Endeavour Partners
  • Meredith Flynn-Ripley, CEO, Heywire
  • Mads Lillelund, VP and GM, Bluesocket Business Group, ADTRAN
  • Victor Milligan, CMO, Nexage
  • Stuart Taylor, Managing Director, Service Provider Transformation Group, Cisco

All of the panelists agreed that applications have now taken center stage at MWC.  Carriers have seen their influence at the event decline and are now trying to attract attention to their services.    Among the big ideas that the panelist took away from MWC are:
  • There is a widening divide between carriers and applications developers
  • Carriers are trying to sell services now and are no longer the center of the mobile universe
  • Every player on the periphery of mobile is struggling to understand the apps world
  • Europe, Asia and to a lesser extent the U.S. are working on city-wide mobile deployments (smart cities)
  • Ancillary spaces like healthcare are getting pulled into mobile but do not understand it
  • Big device makers are getting close to or surpassing the smaller plays in terms of UX/user design

Other observations from our panelists included:
  • GPS-driven apps, especially in the healthcare/exercise space, were big at MWC
  • IoT is finally real, after years of buzz about it; this is related to the smart cities trend
  • A large number of cars were present at the show, highlighting the integration of mobile apps in a traditional heavy manufacturing industry
  • M2M, even more than wearables, is experiencing the fastest growth.  Healthcare and automotive are two verticals that are driving M2M
  • Security was much discussed at MWC
  • Data analytics companies had a limited presence at the conference, but advertising was center stage

Mobile in the enterprise was also discussed.  The panelists felt that getting the right apps and content under the enterprise’s control was the biggest issue for the enterprise.  There was a belief that the mobile enterprise strategy is moving beyond IT’s control.  Hyper-adoption by consumers is impacting enterprises as workers bring their devices and apps into the workplace.  The upside for the enterprise is that costs get passed onto employees who pay for their own devices and apps, and productivity increases as employees tend to work more hours because they are always connected. 

When asked for predictions about what will be big at 2015’s MWC, our panelists had a range of answers, including: 
  • Mobile payments
  • Cars/wearables
  • Virtualization/software defined network solutions
  • In-home mobile apps
  • 5G
  • Monetization of apps independent of carriers
  • Use of data intelligence
  • Apps mirroring how users act and live. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us, to our moderator and panelists and to the Workbar team for hosting us.  Please feel free to share your observations about MWC or mobile trends in the comments section.

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