We’ve all been back at our desks for a few weeks, so now is a good time to reflect on Mobile World Congress. With over 100,000 people attending the show, including most of the major players in the telecoms industry, what was, and possibly more importantly, what wasn’t discussed in Barcelona is of great importance to the sector.
Show NewsThe most exciting news from the show was the revival of Nokia branded handsets and especially nearly everyone’s favourite handset of yesteryear the Nokia 3310.
Aside from the Nokia news the other big topics of the show were very similar to ones we’ve seen in previous years:
- 5G - While we’re still three years away from the supposed launch of 5G, there was a lot of conversation about it - see more here.
- IoT - And the 5G conversation brings us on to IoT. Although not that many new handsets were launched, nearly every hardware player had a connected or wearable device on their stand too.
- VR - Many of the wearables were headsets that allowed you to enter a virtual world. And in fact most of the queues around the show were for the VR demos of rollercoasters or the like - again.
- AI - Artificial Intelligence, or machine learning, was perhaps the area with the most to say for itself. A lot of the AI developments were consumer led, whereas if it was for the networks and helping the networks to solve problems before the end users even notice, then it was called machine learning.
Should be News
If you based your opinions on the telecoms market only on what created a buzz at Mobile World Congress, then you’d think that we are all waiting for 5G networks and VR headsets to become mainstream before we make any money again. Yet there is a lot of activity that doesn’t get the headlines that AI does – and maybe it should.
A lot of the activity is service providers innovating to meet the needs of the OnDemand generation, and working with partners and suppliers to help with that transformation. We are all aware of the positive disruption Uber and Airbnb have had, but the ones that do it properly and quietly don’t always get the praise and recognition they deserve.
Becoming an OnDemand service provider isn’t just about offering digital services – in the modern, digital world, that is a minimum requirement. The best providers need to be truly customer-centric. And to do that they need to base their personalised offerings on the data that they have collected and analysed from their users: they need to be data-driven.
Of course, being data driven alone isn’t enough, they must also have the ability to automatically and in real-time provide new offers and services to their customers. Analysing a user’s data might show you a pattern of behaviour, but if you can’t react to that pattern immediately, then the opportunity is lost – the key is combining the data with the real-time offers. This is where automation steps in, recognising customer desires, in real-time, to provide the customer with offers automatically in a timely manner, which equate to amazing customer experiences.
One segment of the industry that is doing this well is the MVNO sector. There were some announcements from some of the players about this at Mobile World Congress this year, but again, not enough. We work with a number of outstanding MVNOs and the best ones recognise the importance of the OnDemand generation from the start.
New gadgets are exciting and will always get headlines at shows such as Mobile World Congress, yet behind the scenes, and often unmentioned, there is a lot more going on that will provide true transformation of the industry – we should know!