Last week, over 100,000 telecoms and IT decision makers descended on Barcelona for the largest mobile industry event in the world. Mobile World Congress (MWC) has been going for more than three decades now, but increasingly it’s moving beyond smartphones and traditional mobile devices to focus on the possibilities of the new Internet of Things (IoT) era.
So, while there were still plenty of handheld gadgets on display in the sunny Spanish city over the past few days, the show was also packed with news and developments to advance 5G, smart cities, connected vehicles, AI, MR and more. This chimes with a new CONTEXT predictions report, in which we point to digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution as offering major new opportunities for channel growth.
Those predictions started to come to life with the announcements this week.
Smartphones and wearables
Of course, this being the equivalent of CES for the mobile industry, there was plenty of activity in the traditional smartphone space. Samsung launched three new Samsung Galaxy S10 models including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, a new Galaxy Watch Active, and two new fitness trackers. There were also new 5G handsets from LG (LG 450 ThinQ), Xiaomi (Mi Mix 3 5G), OnePlus and others. Huawei also made headlines for the right reasons with a well-received foldable smartphone (Huawei Mate X). Sony went the other way with a 21:9 ratio screen on its latest Xperia 1 device, while Nokia continued to push the boundaries with a five-lens camera on its Nokia 9 PureView smartphone.
Honourable mentions should also go to Nubia, which announced a wearable ‘smartphone’ dubbed the Nubia Alpha, featuring a flexible OLED display. Plus, Microsoft was on hand to offer a glimpse into the future with the release of its HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset. The new wearable is said to offer a more immersive experience thanks in part to a new 2K MEMS display that features eye-tracking for the first time.
The 5G revolution
The next generation of networking infrastructure known as 5G is set to be a game-changer, enabling not only much faster streaming and download speeds for consumers, but supporting a much larger number of connected devices with high availability and coverage in any given area. This means organisations will finally be able to realise the vision of smart cities and IoT everywhere.
That’s partly why the US is so twitchy about a certain Chinese manufacturer winning major contracts to support this critical infrastructure. Rival Ericsson took the opportunity at MWC 2019 to make its case for being the 5G equipment provider of choice. But there were plenty more announcements at the show which herald a new era of IoT adoption.
Intel led the way with the Open Network Edge Services Software (OpenNESS) toolkit, a new open source reference software it hopes will make it easier for cloud and IoT developers to create and deploy new edge applications and services. The chip giant also discussed a new “network-in-a-box” concept to help drive smart city deployments. It combines the firm’s Movidius artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator, multi-access edge computing, and a 5G mobile network in a small box which can be deployed “like a beacon up on a wall,” according to GM of 5G Advanced Technologies, Rob Topol.
Not to be outdone, SAP also used the show to announce new IoT capabilities for its Leonardo platform. These will enable organisations to gather data from their connected devices and embed them into business processes to reveal business insights and drive value from Industry 4.0 deployments.
© CONTEXT 2019