The motto of this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was “The Next Element”. The IoT was a clear trend in terms of technologies and their use in industry. The trade fair was marked by concrete declarations of intent, presentations and new alliances in 5G technology. As in the previous year, smartphones gave way to other end devices, but the focus was clearly on technologies and virtual goods. mm1 presents an overview of the major innovations and trends at MWC 2017.
The high band widths and extremely low latency times during data transmission unlocked by 5G technology are set to pave the way for innovative fields of application. The standardization process is taking shape, allowing network operators and equipment providers to carry out the first meaningful tests. 5G technology will become a basic requirement for virtual reality, artificial intelligence and edge computing applications.
In addition to 5G, the spotlight was also on other network technologies. LPWAN networks (low-power wide-area networks) have now become established in the IoT environment. Manufacturers and operators presented a large range of applications across all industries. New market players such as Sigfox or LoRa are building up their own IoT transmission networks, while established network operators are focusing on expanding their 4G networks (NB IoT, LTE-M).
3. Connected car
Connected cars have become a permanent feature of the Mobile World Congress. This year, the focus was on autonomous driving and integration into mobility models. In addition, the first fully autonomous racing vehicle was presented at the trade fair.
4. Robots & drones
While drones were primarily regarded as toys in recent years, manufacturers have increasingly concentrated on industrial applications. Deliveries by automated robots and landing sites equipped with wireless charging stations for drones are already a reality.
5. Smartphones, tablets and wearables
There were only a few highlights in the field of smartphone development. Blackberry remained true to its roots and presented a smartphone with a physical keypad. Alcatel showcased a smartphone with multicolored LEDs on the back of the housing, boasting the potential to become a fashion accessory. Only few innovations were presented in the field of gadgets ranging from smart home to wearables – once again, evolution came before revolution, while the industry is still waiting for a breakthrough in the mass market.