Friday, March 4, 2016

2016 Mobile World Congress Wrap-up

By: Mike Johnson, Cluster Manager at MassTLC

2016 marked the return to the core of the MWC. Connected cars, mobile payments, wearables, and even the over the top new phone drops were far from the main attractions. It was back to the providers, the hardware, and the software that power the industry. Partnership announcements from IBM and Apple, Facebook and Samsung, Cisco and Ericsson, small cells, indoor networks, and new chipsets expanding mobile’s capabilities were the newsmakers (but the internet searches will still just show you pictures of phones).

Mobile has become such an integral part of so many industries that they no longer need to have the niche crowd from the MWC to attract interest in their “traditional” industry’s new mobile integrated product, they can do it at their own conferences and still create a buzz. The “fringe” that was starting to fill some of the holes this year were the Internet of Things devices and Virtual & Augmented Reality that utilized mobile handset hardware, most notably Samsung’s presence, not only as an exhibitor, but in the number of brands using their VR products to showcase their own.

The talk of 5G was what attracted many to the conference and the consensus is that there generally is no consensus as to what 5G will be. There’s a large push from marketers to be the first with 5G technology on the market and we’ll start seeing it soon, but there won’t be a standardization by the time it hits, so what 5G may be for Verizon, might not be what SK Telecom is calling 5G. In the meantime, the industry innovators are bypassing any network standards and building work-arounds or focusing on improving efficiencies with things like edge caching.  

Next year’s theme? 5G standardization? IoT is the new wearable? Check back for our 2017 wrap up! 

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