The Mobile World Congress (MWC) took the world of technology to delirium by introducing some of the most advanced technologies offered in the mobile device market.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) took the world of technology to delirium by introducing some of the most advanced technologies offered in the mobile device market. More than 100,000 people attend this year's conference in Barcelona with key speakers, including: Simon Segars, CEO of Arm; Jörg Reinmann CEO of Charge Now / Park Now at Daimler & BMW; Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco; and James Forese, president of Citi.
The dawn of 5G
5G dominated the talk at this year's Mobile World Congress. The technology promises high network speeds and lower latency, increasing download speeds for consumers. It will also undoubtedly increase interest in areas such as augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Attending the event, Nick Ford, chief evangelist technologist at Mendix, says "5G has been the word on everyone's lips at MWC."
"Large-scale deployment may still be a little distant, but we still have to assess what's at stake with this evolution," he explains. "Lower latency and faster bandwidth are just two of the advances promised by 5G, and these benefits alone will be an important factor for broader adoption of IoT across multiple industries. When IoT is intertwined with state-of-the-art computing and a highly reliable network, there is great potential for organizations to create intelligent applications that can handle a myriad of critical objectives. "
Another congresswoman, Vis Visca, CTO of Elastic Path, is eager to see how 5G will disrupt other vertical markets. "As expected, there has been a lot of excitement at the Mobile World Congress this year around the 5G. While this new generation of communication offers up to 20 times more performance, it's the other 5G features that will really change the game, "he notes.
"In terms of network efficiency, more devices can now use the spectrum much more efficiently, so billions of IoT devices can be added to networks," he continues. "5G may not have a tremendous impact on how we currently use our mobile phones (e-mail, social media, Web access, audio and video communications), but will bring more features that are offered by cloud applications on networks that currently take seconds or many milliseconds to access (with limitations on the amount of data transmitted). This means that the power of the highly computing-based capabilities that are running on thousands of CPUs in the cloud can now be brought to the palm of our hands. It will be more like having a supercomputer on your mobile devices, so that compute-intensive applications and technologies like AR / VR and AI / ML are almost immediately accessible.
"5G will also be a great catalyst for smart cities, enabling mesh intelligent IoT devices, sensors and smart meters that will enable resource optimization and efficiency, automation, crime detection, logistics and security enhancement."
So far, the launch of 5G has been limited. However, at Mobile World Congress, several smartphone makers have insisted that their handsets will be ready for launch this year, such as Huawei Mate X, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Xiaomi Mi MIX 3.
As 5G goes beyond the limits of what networks can do, cutting edge computing has emerged as another topic trend in the event. Jeff Ready, CEO of Scale Computing, said: "From what I can see in MWC, edge computing becomes more important from a wide variety of angles. From telecommunications companies to IoT providers, to AR / VR and AI – data volume and latency are attracting attention to the edge and what can be done there.
"The 5G is all buzz but it's clear that the demands for lower latency and higher bandwidth are already going beyond where this next generation of wireless technology will take us," he argues. "Personally, I understood the advantage need of an IT application perspective, but did not realize earlier how these edge demands were also impacting telecommunications space. It's a crossover area. IT and telecom operators are seeing the same needs – and they really need the same solutions – even if the applications themselves are different. "
Artificial intelligence: the next frontier
The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) was at the heart of many announcements at the Mobile World Congress. For example, Accenture has launched its Applied Intelligence Platform to make it easier for customers to use AI without the need for in-depth data science expertise.
Chris Wigley, a partner at QuantumBlack, a McKinsey company, said, "As many executives keep asking how to implement and gain value from artificial intelligence, it's no surprise that this is one of the major focus areas for MWC this year. One of the most interesting trends of the MWC for me has been increasing attention on the ethical and safety side of AI.
"At QuantumBlack (McKinsey's artificial intelligence boutique), we've worked hard on the data bias topic. We can think about this in that a set of data we are using to create a model does not reflect the population to which the model will be applied or used. For example, facial recognition software may not work so well for women or people of color because it has been trained in a biased data set that contains many white males. Or do we run the risk of creating a system that – based on historical data reflecting human historical bias – is not based on a desired change, such as prioritizing underrepresented groups in job applications or switching to a more just system of parole or stop and seek decisions.
To make AI work for all of us as human beings, I believe the executive's attention to these topics can help create a world in which AI benefits us by minimizing risk. "
Folding Phones: The New Standard?
Folding phones dominated the headlines over the Mobile World Congress, with Huawei's mobile head of industry observing that innovation marks the "biggest change" in the smartphone industry. The foldable Huawei Mate X smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy Fold were both displayed for the first time at the event, signaling a new trend in the mobile space. Andrew Cartledge, mobile specialist at Mobiles.co.uk, says folding phones should be "one of the next big news in the smartphone industry."
"In fact, our survey recently showed that one in five people (23%) said folding screens were the smartphone development they would most like to see next," he points out. "Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Fold, Huawei unveiled Mate X, and we can expect other companies to follow suit. Chinese brand Xiaomi has also set off its own folding phones, and this may be the week we can see what they have to offer. "
By offering a great screen experience that can fit perfectly in your pocket, it seems like folding phones are a trend you are here to stay.
Cybersecurity and privacy: an ever-present concern ᐧ
With more technology, greater risks emerge, and as such, security and privacy were important themes of this year's Mobile World Congress. The University of Iowa recently reported that a security breach was found in both the 4G and 5G standards, and therefore Raj Samani, chief scientist and member of McAfee, says a higher risk is likely. He said: "The MWC is flooded with news that 2019 will be the year of 5G. Promising faster speeds and greater connectivity, the University of Iowa is right, 5G will inevitably pose security risks to the networks that people are using.
"However, what they did not consider is that the risk will have far greater consequences for consumers. As the user experience becomes faster and seamless, people will be tempted to connect even more to the Internet on multiple devices. The level of data transmitted by networks and stored in the cloud will increase with these faster speeds. In turn, the number of connected devices will increase at an exponential rate, expanding the threat surface significantly.
"To ensure that data is protected in a 5G connected world, security must be embedded at all points of contact – from the cloud to the network, to the router in people's homes and to all connected devices."