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This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was a great success, bringing together over 100,000 participants from across the world, including members of our Communications portfolio at Volaris Group. We entered the event with a stronger foothold than ever, now that our growing portfolio includes 7 companies. Our team met with 50+ software businesses across all segments and geographies of the Communications ecosystem. As I reflect on the great conversations we had at the conference, I’m left with some key takeaways that I want to share with you.
There was no escaping the hype surrounding 5G, with everyone excited about plans for rolling out and the planned release of 5G-compatible phones. We noticed two significant changes in the conversation about 5G this year. First, it is clear that we have moved beyond 5G as a concept towards planning and implementation. Second, while 5G will change the mobile industry, with faster connectivity improving user experience, it is not simply a radio network, but rather part of a broader, multi-faceted, convergent network that will require multi-related technologies. Faster speed, after all, means that IoT (Internet of Things), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and Edge Computing all become possible. Looking ahead, this means that mobile decisions will have to be made in the context of a fully integrated network.
Beyond 5G, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential to power mobile innovations. Much of the discussion focused on how to enhance mobile user experience using AI-powered analytics and software solutions. AI will facilitate the implementation of AR, VR, and image recognition technology, and will positively impact a host of issues ranging from security to inbound marketing.
AI was also a big part of the talk surrounding network automation and simplification at MWC. AI is simply a must-have for optimization in 5G, specifically in the implementation of the self-organizing networks that will be key in handling the complexities of 5G. This will clearly become an important aspect of the telco business over the next few years.
The focus at this year’s MWC was on Industrial IoT (IIoT) in addition to the consumer side, with key players from Huawai to Intel and IBM demonstrating a range of applications for IIoT. With a predicted 25bn global connections to IoT by 2025, it is clear that there is great momentum. There are also many challenges, including the huge expectations for revenue, questions about how the enormous data gathered globally will be managed, and the precise relationship between IoT and 5G. Despite the technical and commercial barriers that need to be addressed, there has been some noticeable progress, with operators devoting their resources to their immediate needs by focusing on the IoT tech of today.
As is always with MWC, there were many more trends and themes, all adding up to this year’s message of “Creating a Better Future.” Thinking about the importance of connectivity, it is clear that such a future can only be achieved by connecting everything—a core value of our Communications team.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we will be attending more industry events, a list of which you can find on our website. We look forward to connecting you there!Read more from Denis Yarow