Highlights From Mobile World Congress

This year I attended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and it was the biggest trade show I’ve ever been to. There were 10 halls jam packed with companies demonstrating their products and services, most of them emerging technologies.

The Ericsson stand featured research on hot consumer trends for 2018 and was fascinating. I loved the idea of augmented hearing (earphones that translate languages in real time) and a leisure society (robots that work and earns income for people, freeing up their leisure time).

Below is an overview of cool products I took in at Mobile World Congress:

Ericsson – connected cars

These reduce fuel consumption due to fleet organisation, run on just-in-time spare parts and lower insurance due to ride monitoring.

Springworks – connected cars

Connected cars means drivers can be notified when parked in unauthorised place; removing the need for police intervention. Cars report back on potholes that require fixing. Sensors keep insurance companies informed and careful driving equals lower insurance costs.

Mobike – smart public pushbikes

Such services mean bicycles can be left all over the city for use to reduce emissions and get people fitter. Company can track them and lock their use if being kept locally by people instead of sharing

T Systems – smart parking sensors

Smart parking sensors allow such services to tell city drivers where empty parking spaces are. They can also be used to pay for parking via an app.

T Systems – rubbish bin sensors

These advise refuse collection services which bins require emptying and when; to make the service more efficient.

Graphene Flagship – graphene material

Graphene material is solar powered wearable material that is transparent, flexible and strong and has electrical conductivity. It’s made from graphite and it has the following astonishing abilities:

  • Can make conductive inks water resistant.
  • Can be used for textiles, paper, polymers and concrete.
  • Can be used for heating and to connect devices, such as mobile phones.
  • Can be used to replace metals and plastic to avoid throwing away spent materials that could be recycled or re-used.
  • Can be put onto windows to make them touch screen controllers.
  • Can be put into smart phones as an optical sensor within the camera.
  • Can be used in shoes to measure posture, weight distribution and more to inform medical treatment.

Lenovo – mobile phones

Lenovo’s phones are going modular. You can now buy a basic phone and add speakers, a camera, a projector, etc. This is how the company sees computers going in the future, such as with snap-on games or consoles.

Intel - CityIQ smart lamp posts

This detects traffic, parking spaces, gun shots and missing people from facial recognition.  Light, sound and air are monitored and converted to info using 5G. San Diego has bought 3,200 as a trial.

Intel – VR wireless low latency 5G headsets

Using these headsets, two players can play the same game anywhere in the world with no delay – as long as they’re using the same network.

BMW, Mobile I and Intel – autonomous cars

Mobile World Congress boasted a demonstration of driverless cars by these companies. They’re opting for a staged release starting with dual control before going fully driverless.

Mercedes and Smartcar – driverless taxi

The two companies are teaming up to develop taxis with no drivers!

On my second day at Mobile World Congress, I visited the app developers’ hall and it was buzzing and friendly. Almost everybody I spoke to said they wanted more customers, which wasn’t a surprise, although the profile of each developer’s customer was different. I would say over half of the exhibitors I spoke to hadn’t heard of the channel and wanted to deal directly with their customers without a third party. The rest were ex-channel, but most were still wary of losing the relationship with their end-customer and wanted a partner program that paid a finder’s fee to a partner rather than them owning the relationship.

I was surprised how many seemingly small start-up app developers had 250-plus employees globally and already seemed well established. This is an area that certainly sees fast and widespread growth.

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