An Evolving Mobile Landscape at MWC

Pratick Thakrar, MD Inspired Mobile

Pratick Thakrar, MD Inspired Mobile

With attendees growing year on year, MWC is now THE event on the mobile calendar. I only wish Scotty had the transporter working to get me between Hall 1 and 8!

New handset launches, features and operator announcements took the limelight; but this year, we saw new acronyms of the digital world come to the forefront, namely AI/IoT/VR/CH (Connected Homes).

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes to the fore, smartphone’s take a new twist with Digital Assistants becoming a key differentiator in high-end mobile devices. Sony in particular seemed to be betting big on this area, with talk of linking up with Line Corp to develop AI-powered devices.

One area we heard surprisingly little about was wearable tech, which does align with a general downturn in category sales (of Apple Watch). To me, Wearables are inevitable, but aside from Huawei’s Watch 2, there wasn’t much to write home about (or to the MMA about!).

That said, the advent of connected homes technology, to me, creates a natural extension and leads us nicely towards IOT and smarter digital cities, with Inspired at the heart of the omni-channel consumer strategy (sorry, shameless plug).

Arguably, the top story from MWC was the return of the Nokia 3310!

It’s interesting that even as smartphones continue to evolve, nostalgia and simplicity still cause such widespread excitement. With Blackberry and Moto also launching new models, major brands from the recent past are definitely making a comeback. Whether this translates into sales remains to be seen, but there was a definite buzz at seeing names like Motorola and the forever-loved 3310.

5G appeared to have taken a step forwards towards becoming a reality, at least in terms of hardware. The next step now is surely for a consensus to form on what exactly 5G will look like, how it will function and how exactly it will all be powered. We still seem to be some way off the superfast speeds that have been discussed, but it could now only be a few years. Naturally, this will have implications for mobile marketing, especially rich media ad units, which will then be given the opportunity to grow even more complex and immersive.

It was exciting to see demonstrations of drones, and socialising with a robot was a definite first for me. On top of that, seeing the exhibitions from automotive brands such as Ford and Mercedes-Benz was truly fascinating.

Looks like the operators are BACK in charge of interconnectivity!

Now to SXSW…no rest for the wicked!

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