Insights and Reflections from MWCA 2017

Sue Holub, Chief Marketing Officer

For the first time, GSMA Mobile World Congress was held in the Americas, replacing CTIA’s “Super Mobility Week.” Formerly an event reserved only for Barcelona and Shanghai, GSMA brought the world’s biggest mobile and wireless show to San Francisco; and it was a huge success!

After a busy week of thought-provoking keynotes, informationally-rich presentations, and show floor conversations, one thing is clear: The Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing with mobile and wireless driving it. We are rapidly progressing towards an environment where everything that can have a connection, will have a connection; as the lines between physical and digital become blurred.

Here are some key takeaways from the show:  

IoT Has Room to Grow

The Internet of Things was a hot topic at the show, but many of the conversations revolved around how to bring it to scale and expand its capabilities beyond current use cases. As IoT adoption grows, we can clearly see the human impact across many industries, including healthcare, transportation, and other business segments.

In order to ensure wide spread adoption, fragmented IoT ecosystems need to come together to create standards and scale across all industries. Many businesses are hesitant to build IoT solutions, due to the complexity and fear of the unknown. As a result, turnkey IoT solution providers will become critical in moving IoT adoption forward.

Additionally, IoT devices must move toward multi-modality. As networks advance, preferred IoT solutions will be ready-made to adapt without additional servicing or new parts. IoT solutions lacking this prerequisite will quickly become obsolete.

Using Wireless and Mobile for Good

Wireless can be a great equalizer. Everyone – regardless of financial barriers or geography – should have access to the same critical applications and solutions. For example, there is technology available to offer access to educational experiences across the globe that would not be possible without connected devices.

Mobile and wireless have the potential to positively impact the lives of billions. GSMA issued a timely release of their 2017 report highlighting industry progress in attaining the organization’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals that encourage industry members to achieve objectives such as Good Health and Well-Being, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Climate Action through the use of mobile-enabled solutions. To accomplish these goals, players in the mobile and wireless industries must unite to help change and improve the world. Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives should be built into the framework of every organization’s business plan to improve lives globally – together.

The 5G, Augmented/Virtual Reality and Smart City Hype is Real

5G hasn’t yet arrived, but that hasn’t dampened the buzz around it. Stakeholders in the wireless industry believe that 5G has the potential to join an exclusive club of technologies that can transcend all boundaries and make a transformative impact on society. 

Many at the show believe that chatbots and AI are not just trends – they will shift the way businesses engage and service customers, and how they function.

The future of mobile and wireless is limitless, but key stakeholders must work with governments and regulators in order to push innovation forward – especially where smart cities are concerned – as governments and regulators are the key to knocking down barriers. However, we should not look past such items as financial concerns, like short-term payoff, as they can often prevent municipalities from adopting connectivity and IoT solutions as well.

We hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did! We look forward to seeing you in Barcelona at the next Mobile World Congress, Feb. 26-March 1, 2018.

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