With over 80,000 attendees, this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was the biggest ever, and arguably the best. As usual there were releases of new mobile handsets, not just from the big guys like Samsung, whose S6 features innovative new features like open standard wireless charging, but also Russian OEM Yota with its electronic paper display, like that of the Kindle, on its reverse side.
MWC always features a very broad array of mobile technology areas, from small cell infrastructure to mobile advertising. What was clear, however, was that outside the e-watch, where Samsung, LG and a host of others were showcasing new models, the battle for headlines was clearly won by the continued growth of IoT. Within IoT, wearables was sighted by many as a new frontier, the success of which will lie in how discreet or ‘invisible’ it can become verses the value of the data stream. Cisco predicts that there will be 184 million wearable devices by 2019, up from 37 million in 2014, representing a 38% growth rate. Juniper estimate the market will be worth $80 billion by 2020. Continued innovation across IoT was everywhere to be seen at this year’s MWC, from home automation, such as Blossom, the smart home watering system, to new smart meters from Itron, connected alarm panels from Alarm.com, and street light units from Anycomm. One of the most interesting things I saw though was the persistent broadband management system for transport systems from Veniam. Their first major deployment was Porto in Portugal, where they power free Wi-Fi on the local buses. Using a combination of mobile mess, fibre connected base units and cellular, the end-to-end solution and robustness was impressive. Now based in Silicon Valley, expect Veniam enabled transport in a city near you in the future.
More so than ever I got the impression that this congress was about partnerships, alliances and collaboration. Hardware players are focusing on adding in a layer of value added services in order to survive, and partnering up to do so; the extent to which they are tightly integrated, and do in fact add real value, will be the test here. Google’s announcement that it will become an MVNO, at least in the US, also sparked debate about what type of services they would extend to the mobile, Android and across the hardware platform. In our own news, Eseye announced it would work with Oracle to develop more intelligent devices at the edge of the network, using java and their cloud offering. We also agreed partnerships with a number of new carrier partners around the world for the Anynet SIM, increasing our ability to normalise the cost and behaviour of devices, and improving our highly available network-of-networks.
Let’s stay Intelligently Connected™, looking forward to GMSA Asia and next year’s MWC – though I am hoping the number of taxis in Barcelona increases – 11,000 for 80,000 sure does make for some long queues at the end of each show day!