Greetings from Mobile World Congress!
Is it possible that there are more people at MWC this year? I think so. Two main points to prove the case. First, Barcelona traffic was so bad this morning, we got off the bus one kilometer before the Grand Fira and walked the rest of the way. And we probably got there much sooner! Second, the show has a brand new hall and it’s full. We used to make our way through 8 halls. Now we have Hall 8.1 too.
Almost 90,000 people have gathered here to meet, talk and figure out where the business of mobile communications is going and how they fit into that future. MWC is all about the future.
Already on day one it is clear to me that the biggest noise and strongest showing is about the future of connected things – the Internet of Things. Here’s the thing. Manufacturers realize that adding Internet connectivity to a regular product automatically makes that product trendy and more attractive to buy. So “connectedness” not only adds value, it’s a great marketing tool.
At the first keynote on “Operators at the Edge of Innovation,” the speaker mentioned several of the new “connected” wearable products with brand names such as GoPro, Fitbit, Garmin and many more! The one that caught my eye is the CONNECTED SUITCASE! It’s pure genius. No more lost suitcases because the connected suitcase has an app associated with it – so you always know where it is.
Why do CSPs care about the whole Internet of Things? Isn’t it just about capacity and adding more devices? Not exactly. Here’s why. If it’s a medical “thing” like a real-time health monitor, it may need to be given priority on the network. If the “thing” is a self-driven car, connectivity must be super-fast and super-reliable and maybe that’s only possible with 5G. If the “thing” is a mobile wallet, the connectivity has to be super-secure. It’s never easy to be the CSP…
Experts predict that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things – more things than people. CSPs are at a turning point because, more than Google or Apple, they are poised to take off and become the ones to connect, track, bill, and coordinate all of the “things” that we want to connect. Our personal digital lifestyle and digital services will comprise much more than a smartphone, and yet our smartphone may be the “remote control” for us to start, stop, adjust and manage all of our connected things. CSPs are already the focal point for smartphone connectivity. The natural next stage of this relationship is for CSPs to become the focal point for all our connected things and digital services.
Here at MWC, they’re calling this focal point our “Mobile Services Identity” and they’re speculating on who’s going to own it. What do you think?