06 February 2019

MWC 2019: 3 key enterprise trends we expect to see this year

Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off for its 32nd year on 25th February. It is set to bring together 107,000 attendees from 2,400 companies working at the forefront of the industry. Every year we attend MWC, one of the biggest events in the world. So, what are the key trends we can expect this year?

Connectivity and 5G

5G has been big on the agenda for several years. But we are now seeing more evidence of what it will deliver. For one, much faster connectivity and lower latency than 4G and its predecessors. It’s important to note though that 5G won’t make 4G irrelevant. It will have different uses and likely deployed in different scenarios (examples below). 5G will be an important part of creating a smarter, more reliable ecosystem of connectivity. This will work alongside other technology such as 4G, Wi-Fi and LTE too.

There is no definitive deadline for when 5G will arrive in the UK, but it’s likely that we’ll see widespread coverage within the next three to five years. Since the last Mobile World Congress though, there have been several exciting milestones reached. These include 5GUK, ‘the world’s first end-to-end network’ being completed (March 2018), the 5G new radio standard having been finalised (June 2018) and the start of the UK’s first 5G trials (October 2018).

As well as being able to stream online content with no buffering, we could also see content on our mobile devices projected onto walls and surfaces via virtual and augmented reality, be able to control more of our lives through IoT at home and on the move, for example via driverless cars, and many other capabilities yet to be realised. There is a reduced likelihood of network disruption such as that of O2’s in December 2018 due to the improved reliability of 5G networks.

Artificial intelligence

It seems no element of business is exempt from discussions around how AI is having an effect, no less the mobile industry. AI is a vital element of mobile voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri. It’s powering mobile apps such as music-identification apps Shazam, Hound and even screening calls on handsets like the Google Pixel 3. At MWC, look out for example use cases that explore AI’s potential to transform current practices. Microsoft has already announced it will be at MWC detailing how it is transforming “spatial understanding through advanced sensors and AI at the edge to make technology more personal and natural.” Furthermore it is likely that mobile giant LG will be showcasing its new 5G smartphone featuring the Snapdragon 855 chipset. Also a fourth-generation AI engine, pegged to offer greater performance of AI tasks than previously available.

Digital trust and cybersecurity

A few high-profile data breaches hit the headlines in 2018. For example, Apple and Android IDs of over 10,000 children were available on Amazon Web Services via phone app TeenSafe. Or when Swann Security sent smart home footage to the wrong user’s app. With companies like TeenSafe and Swann Security branding themselves as secure and then suffering from data leaks, consumers have become warier. This means brands have a lot of work ahead to restore consumer trust in 2019. We expect digital trust and cybersecurity to be a key theme during the conference and on the show floor. A significant talking point will be how businesses can better protect their customers. What policies and procedures can they put in place to prevent reputational damage. For example, the threat of huge fines for non-compliance with GDPR. This is a major incentive for businesses to act responsibly.

Of course, 5G, AI and cybersecurity aren’t the only key topics we expect to dominate the conversation. Smart cities, Industry 4.0 and thoughts on how communication service providers can keep pace with changing consumer demands and appeal to the next generation will also prevail.