Our take from Mobile World Congress 2018
Mormedi was at Mobile World Congress again this year and our team scouted out the massive number of technologies and products on display by start-ups through to major global corporations. Below are some of the hot topics from MWC 2018, we’d like to share with you. 5G networks seem poised to launch in the near future and this will have a significant impact on advancements in artificial intelligence, IoT, and retail and digital commerce. In this rapidly changing environment, the need for companies to undergo and continue to undergo digital transformation is critical to their survival and success.
5G Mobile Networks
Access at anytime and anywhere is transforming the telecom industry. Soon, wireless network access will be prevalent. 5G technology will enable fast, flexible, reliable and secure wireless networks. Low latency networks and edge computing will transform our dreams into reality. We’ll see experiments and testing of concepts and experiences, with products and services previously seen only on TV and in films, enter our daily lives. With 4G, autonomous cars were only a dream. With 5G we will witness their real potential. Intel had one of the most comprehensive sets of 5G applications on display. It showed off a 5G-capable PC concept and 5G-connected car, as well as simulations of “virtual” cities. Another 5G connected, autonomous car concept was the Daimler AG Smart Vision EQ. Unattended services facilitated by super high-speed networks in real-time and sophisticated automated interactions fueled by artificial intelligence will lead to a revolution in terms of human behavior, as Watt’s steam engine invention did for Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s. In the very near future, 5G will set the stage for living in a sci-fi scenario, and we will be the main players in a new connected world.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI seems to be everywhere, very often related to VPA (voice personal assistants) and chatbots, nevertheless AI can take many forms. This year at MWC, we saw different approaches to AI, from product-centric connected devices and smart homes to more system-oriented ones. AI is boosting the power of data in IoT by integrating intelligence, for example, analytics, machine learning and cognitive technology. AI integration, together with faster connectivity speeds, are pushing the limits of technology like never before.
Telefónica’s artificial intelligence Aura, and Movistar Home intelligent device (designed by Mormedi) equipped with Aura, will become the connection center for all devices in the home from which users can manage all of their services. Citybeacon Smart City Hub from Intel connects communities through local information, alerts, products and services, and creates an all-in-one, self-funded intelligent infrastructure, enabling cities to provide value-added services to people and businesses. LG Electronics V30 Camera Vision AI incorporates automatic image analysis in shooting mode, along with object recognition and shopping suggestions.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT made a comeback at MWC with a much more mature business case. The conversation this year focused mainly on demonstration of use cases, connectivity options and security. Industrial implementations of IoT continue to lead use cases, with clear business applications in supply chain management and predictive maintenance. This year there was heightened interest in IoT for smart cities and, of course, autonomous vehicles (that will require the use of the planned 5G networks).
Consumer applications of IoT were easy to find as well. Connected home technologies such as Nokia Home Care and LG Electronics SmartThinQ, amongst others, were on display. A standout example was Samsung Electronics SmartThings and their IoT connected devices ranging from washing machines and ovens to TVs and lights.
The myriad of IoT connectivity options continues to grow with LPWA technologies (like LoRa), NB-IoT and 5G slicing. Some of these new technologies will create strong use case applications that take advantage of the merits each technology. The development of use specific technologies is increasing the potential of IoT, but also complicating the decision making for companies that want to implement it. As the number of IoT devices grows, and use and business cases become stronger, so do security concerns. IoT Security products had a strong presence at MWC, with big and small companies providing hardware and software products to make IoT devices safer.
Retail and Digital Commerce
Retail is being taken to the next level both from an operational and customer experience point of view. 360° solutions that provide a seamless shopping experience across physical and digital dimensions with optimized processes, flexible integration into existing platforms, increased security, and higher conversion and customer satisfaction rates. Value added services offer retailers new opportunities in data analysis that enable companies to integrate automated customer intelligence dynamics into their daily operations.
Three important points to consider. 1) Ecosystem ownership key to survival: Companies must explore how to gain end-to-end control of the omnichannel ecosystem at an operational and experiential level, taking advantage of multiple layers of communication channels. 2) A new mindset in payment: Payment instruments have to become real engagement channels, enabled by smartphones and mobile payments, while facilitating experiential meaning. 3) Leverage all customer touchpoints: It is vital we enable the collection and processing of more data beyond just payment information.
Examples of companies and concepts at the forefront: Urban Airship and Wirecard offer complete and integrated payment solutions for leading brands; smart mirrors (e.g. Marie Claire and Mastercard) are conquering the changing room, and allow browsing, selecting and requesting assistance, as well as payment through powerful financial service brands; Whisbi Offers conversational commerce solutions combining live video, voice and chatbots to increase sales conversion and live engagement; and Syte matches up customers who search for an item via a photo with brands who sell the product.
In this rapidly changing environment, the need for companies to undergo and continue to undergo digital transformation is critical to their survival and success. We would be happy to share our vision of the future with you, and discuss how we can help you build your strategic design roadmap to stay relevant to consumers and ahead of the competition.
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