In a sign that the mobile industry continues to pick up pace, the 10th Mobile World Congress (MWC), described as ‘the world’s biggest and most influential mobile event’, broke attendance records with over 93,000 participants from 200 countries.
As a company looking for continuous innovation, fresh thinking, and pursuing possibilities, Indue’s CEO Manuel Garcia and COO Derek Weatherley attended the Barcelona event this month and Manuel offers his four key take-outs.
The mobile ‘industry’ now spans practically every other industry across all countries, evident in the 200 countries represented at MWC, and over 40 conference speakers from the entertainment, advertising, banking, health, and education industries.
Forty-three percent of the world is connected to the internet, with the digital economy predicted to the bigger than the US economy.
There are already seven billion SIM cards in the world and about 3.7 billion unique subscribers. By 2020 there will be 10 billion mobile devices connected and 3.8 billion mobile internet users. The smartphone will be at the centre of our lives, controlling all other technology and devices.
As a typical consumer has 26 online user names and 5 different passwords, the mobile phone and the SIM card stand out as a means to manage and protect a person’s digital identity.
The new economy is increasingly facilitated by information and mobile devices are now central to this data collection. Their ability to connect with the internet, along with the expected standardised development of 5G in 2016, makes them a key tool to industrialise the internet. 5G, expected to be available in 2020, will operate at possibly 1 terabyte per second, improve the quality of the customer experience, create a step-change in terms of energy consumption and costs, and provide more flexibility. 5G will also help us overcome issues such as connections, latency and speed, with the ability to enable 100 billion connections. There will be nothing in our lifestyle we won’t be able to connect to via an internet connection.
The next industries to benefit from the evolution in digital data will be mobile payments – making payments, receipting, speed and security – and health care.
Other innovations discussed at MWC included ‘ePaper’ (foldable technology) and self-charging phones that charge from voice vibrations or screen tapping.
Customers, technology and business models are being influenced by changing trends and one driver is the principle of sharing. Connectivity is enabling businesses to better meet the needs of the consumers and the better this connectivity works, the more efficient and productive a business can be.
Mobile carriers and ‘over-the-top’ players need to work better with each other in order to give consumers a better experience and this will see business models merging into one. For example, Facebook not only serves as a means of sharing images and socialising between users, it is also a communication network. The question is whether it should be subject to the same regulation as communication networks.
Developing nations lead the world in the adoption of mobile money and there are 100 million active users of mobile money, with 16 countries now having more mobile money users than they have bank accounts. Technology companies are increasingly obtaining Visa and MasterCard licences, so the integration of banking and technology will only become more prevalent.
Innovation at present is particularly focused on the development of digital money such as Bitcoin. It is also focused on the device itself, which are now capable of doing more than was ever intended, such as wearable technology or connecting to suitcases, where the phone will track your suitcase, tell you where it is and how much it weighs.