The focus of Mobile World Congress 2018 is 5G, AI, IoT and beyond

What will 5G, AI and IoT do for us? That the question at Mobile World Congress 2018.


Every time there is a big wireless, telecom or technology trade show, the big question I am always asked by the media as a telecom and wireless analyst, is simple. What was the key message or take away from the show? Last week, at the world’s largest wireless trade show, Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain, the answer was clear. First it is about 5G, with plenty of AI and IoT mixed in. Yes, our world is rapidly changing.

So, what will 5G, AI and IoT do for us? Today, in our 4G world, we can download a movie we want to watch in roughly 6 minutes. Using 5G, we will download the movie in roughly six seconds. It will change everything. It will encourage new business creation. It will empower new ideas and new companies just like we have seen with Uber and Lyft in recent years.

Smartphones: Apple iPhone, Google Android, Samsung Galaxy

So, 5G is like comparing a modern Telsa to the Ford Model T. Both are exciting for their time, but going forward with IoT, the cloud and AI, all the exciting innovation will be turned up to high. This is a very exciting time the industry is getting ready to move into.

It is exciting for handset makers like Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as Google Android, Samsung Galaxy and more. In fact, as we move rapidly into AI and IoT, expect competition to heat up between Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Apple HomePod with Siri and more.

Networks: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Xfinity Mobile, Project Fi

This is also a great growth opportunity for wireless players like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. These were just networks, but as these other technologies continue to grow, these companies will also continue to grow as content providers as well as service providers. This is a huge new growth opportunity for them.

Plus, there are so many new competitors as well. Companies like Google Project Fi, Comcast Xfinity Mobile and many more. As we move rapidly into these new areas, real growth opportunities are there for the taking. The next question is, which companies will be successful going forward?

At MWC18, there were so many new areas to focus including fintech, which is digital money, digital economy, mobile apps, health and fitness, industrial IoT, security, smart cities, mobile advertising and more.

New smartphones were introduced like Samsung and their new Galaxy S9. This seemed to be one of the highlights of the show. Initial thoughts are this is an exceptional device for those who like Android smartphones. I’ll let you know more after I take a closer look. Sony Xperia XZ2 was another new device that looks good initially.

In fact, there were many other smartphone introductions as well. At the same time, there were also other smartphone makers which did not launch anything. This was interesting as we see this sector mature. Smartphone leaders are still Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy.

Google Android Go discussed their new operating system, which will appear in the marketplace later this year. This is a clean and stress-free version of an Android only operating system. This is compared to the other versions on popular handsets like Samsung Galaxy for example. These devices often combine Android OS with handset OS, and often creates confusion and customer dissatisfaction.

MWC was full of smartphones, wireless phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, operating systems and so much more. There were business and consumer services and equipment. Speakers from a variety of companies who fuel this transformation were also there.

Ajit Pai of FCC, Marcelo Claure of Sprint and Glenn Lurie of Synchronoss Technologies

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, Marcelo Claure CEO of Sprint, Timotheus Höttges CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, Jeff Zucker CEO of CNN and many others also gave a keynote address.

Glenn Lurie, new CEO of Synchronoss Technologies gave a keynote address and is punching the company back into the spotlight. They help the wireless carriers future-proof their business. They have recently joined AT&T Smart Cities Strategic Alliance and they also struck a deal with Sprint to help them prepare for the future.

All in all, MWC 2018 was another incredible wireless show. It is important for everyone to keep their eye on the ball going forward. While every company will try, and while there will be plenty of innovation, only some companies will be real winners. The rest will try and fail. So, the next several years will be interesting to follow and comment on.

Picking the right companies, technologies and industry trends is always the toughest nut to crack. New technologies like self-driving cars, telemedicine, drone technology and so much more are waiting for us with 5G.

It is an important key to success for investors, business customers, consumers, workers and partners. Every company must stay on the growth wave I often talk about. Either they stick with this growth curve, or it will pass them by and leave them behind. And that is always the big challenge in these early days of the 5G, AI, IoT and cloud revolution.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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