MEC @ Mobile World Congress 2015
Every year, an estimated 80,000 makers, thinkers and innovators gather for mobile world congress, to experience the newest technologies and mobile products from around the world.
MWC has become the world’s biggest and only truly global mobile event. This year, 1900 exhibitors convened in Barcelona to showcase the next wave in wearables, smartphones, and tablets, as well as the connected home and car.
But MWC 2015 doesn’t just focus on hardware, the truly exciting announcements centred around high speed data access, digital payments, and a host of other infrastructure elements. All of which have the potential to change how we live, work, and play, all over again.
Data for all
Wearables. Sensors. The Connected Car and Home. All of these hold infinite promise to make our lives more enjoyable and efficient.
The hardware is more or less here, but the connectivity is still patchy, as are the standards and protocols that will link your smartwatch, home, and car together into one holistic ecosystem.
This year’s Mobile World Congress saw a focus on the issue of connectivity and egalitarian worldwide access to data -the key to bringing the future to fruition.
This year’s show had no shortage of new devices -from sleek smartphones and smartwatches to super thin tablets.
Today, however, the real differentiators are the cloud-based services that sit behind the glass, think Facebook, Uber, Nest.
Thanks to the fast evolution and adoption of these cloud based services, the mobile OS is becoming less relevant and the hardware itself, no matter how flashy, simply becomes Dumb Glass.
No matter what the OEMs would have us think, any hardware differentiators are disappearing, to be replaced by differentiating software.
Mobile payments mature
Samsung launched Samsung Pay, a direct competitor to Apple Pay, whilst Google launched Android Pay, an underlying infrastructure layer that 3rdparty developers can use to enable mobile payments.
There were also new offerings from PayPal, Wirecard, LG, Visa, various banks, and other ad tech providers –meaning MWC 2015 was awash in mobile payment tech.
The idea of mobile payments isn’t exactly new, but this year was different, because it felt like the infrastructure to support them had finally arrived.
Smart watches come into their own
Whilst the smartwatch has been a staple of Sci-Fi and nerd-chic for decades, timing (no pun intended) is everything, and the smartwatch is evolving from a gimmick to a wearable contender.
Smartwatches were everywhere at MWC, not just from the big manufacturers, such as Huawei, LG & Samsung, but also from independent manufacturers focussing on fashion and affordability. For example, My Kronozhad an entry level smartwatch for $99.
Now the real conundrum has to be tackled. What do people really want to do with smartwatches? It’s too early to tell, but some of the devices that debuted at MWC 2015 presented a good case for the smartwatch to become a staple item in our multiscreen world.
Virtual is the new reality
VR demos were in evidence throughout MWC 2015. Korea Telecom were using it to showcase their vision for 5G video streaming, whilst AT&T allowed you to walk round a virtual connected home.
However, the real news was happening in a backroom, and only experienced by select journalists, where HTC demoed their Vive VR headset. Apparently the experience is “indescribable”, but incredibly realistic.
Along with Facebook already having launched an in-house Oculus Rift VR movie studio, and what was on show at MWC, it’s clear to see VR is hear to stay. However, it will be some time before we see widespread brand and consumer usage.
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