Every year Barcelona plays host to the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, Mobile World Congress (MWC). This year we sent our Sales Expert Andres Cruz on his maiden voyage to the event. MWC is a beast of an event with over 100,000 attendees over 4 days, so it can easily be overwhelming especially for a first timer. So we thought it would be interesting to share Andres’ experience as an insight into this monumental event.
The odd thing to attend an event in a city like Barcelona is that everybody only asks you about the city. Unfortunately, the city is the one thing I cannot talk about in this blog, although I believe Barcelona is a contributing factor to visitors attending every year.
The main reason however is technology, which is, arguably, as interesting and exciting as Barcelona. You could be forgiven for wondering what is wrong with this guy, but I can assure you that you would not see the world in the same way anymore after seeing cars driven just with your mind, people controlling robot arms with VR glasses, sewer covers providing mobile cellular connectivity, drones charging their batteries wirelessly, and robots greeting people at the stands.
Finding out how the future is being shaped by technology is the reason I visited the event and in this blog, I want to share a small glimpse of what this future looks like according to MWC17. My focus here is on three technologies:
There was a lot of excitement and expectation around 5G. You could find mention of it wherever you looked, though not necessarily referring to the technology itself but to applications from and benefits of its arrival. So although there was a lot of hype about 5G, the technology itself remained rather elusive. The possibilities that 5G could offer to connected cars, virtual reality on real time, Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence and Industrial IoT (IIoT) were just mind blowing.
Although you could be overwhelmed by 5G in MWC, there were other companies like Nokia who opted for enhancing Gigabit LTE by introducing “4.9G” technologies, which enables MNO’s to improve network performance as part of the road map to 5G. From my view point this is a more realistic approach before leaping to 5G as LTE can still evolve to achieve 4G speed serving applications such as the Internet of Things and virtual reality. It is also important to remember that we do not expect to see 5G released until 2020. For Nokia, the real announcement was not the new non-Android Nokia smartphone 3310 and Ozo VR camera but the return of Nokia to the game.
Connected Street Furniture
Unlike our previous topic, street furniture was not one of the anticipated hot topics of the event. However, there were interesting developments in this area given the relevant role that this infrastructure plays in smart cities and outdoor coverage. Let’s start from the beginning with one of the core technologies for developing smart cities which is small cells. One of the biggest challenges to implementing this technology is the availability of new sites/infrastructure and the type of sites available. I agree this is not a sexy topic, but it is really important and it seems that companies like Commscope, Philips, AT&T and Kathrein saw a business opportunity here.
From lampposts that can provide wireless connectivity to sewer covers with embedded antennas, the examples shown below are some of the options given for different companies to enhance the urban coverage for smart cities. In most cases such options provide important savings for total cost of ownership, concerning maintenance and support.
The hidden power of wireless
There is overwhelming amount of information about IoT, narrow band networks, Cloud-management platforms and IIoT. Actually you could find at least three exhibitors per pavilion exhibiting each of those technologies. However, two specific wireless technologies grabbed my attention:
- cars driven just with your thoughts
- drones that were able to charge their batteries wirelessly whilst flying.
The first one made me question who wants a driverless car when you can drive it just with your mind as an extension or your body What if you can use this technology at home or in the office, just imagine for one second that you don’t need to use your mouse or keyboard anymore because you can do everything just thinking about it. The second technology could revolutionise the way we transmit power and energy across the country, I know Tesla would share the same amusement for this technology.
As exciting as these emerging technologies are, it’s important to remember that they require reliable and high quality wireless connectivity for them to achieve their potential. To find out how we can help create a robust wireless infrastructure get in touch with us today by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01342 305038.