The best bits of MWC 2016
MWC 2016: what a week
Last week was the annual Mobile World Congress in sunny Barcelona – and what a week it was for fans of all things mobile and digital.
Over 100,000 techies descended on the city’s Fira Gran Via conference centre to get the first look at this year’s tech innovations, and hear big announcements from the mobile industry. The event gained international media attention, and was attended by 3,600 journalists from all over the world.
Those who attended weren’t disappointed.
If you couldn’t make this year’s MWC, don’t worry – we’ve compiled some of our favourite bits. Here are the top five things from MWC we think will be hot in 2016.
Virtual Reality goes mobile
We think 2016 is set to be the year of VR. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a talk praising the tech: “VR is the next platform where anyone can experience anything they want,” he said.”It’s going to change the way we live and work and communicate.
The conference focussed on how mobile technology is one of the biggest enablers of VR. Apple famously never appears at MWC, but all the other leading mobile companies were in attendance. Most were all too keen to reveal the ways they’ll be utilising VR over the coming months. Samsung announced that users who pre-order their Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will get their VR gear headset thrown in for free. Likewise, LG demoed VR goggles designed to connect with their new G5 smartphone.
Since Apple weren’t in attendance, and are very secretive about their tech, it’s difficult to say what VR developments they’re planning for the coming 12 months. However, if they want to stay put as an industry leader in mobile, their future offerings had better be pretty good.
More creativity in the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things was a popular topic at MWC 2016. In particular, the week spawned some interesting suggestions on how the tech could be used more creatively.
Fujitsu touched on a topic that we discussed on the blog only last month – pedometers for cows. The Japanese tech creators have crafted an extra-tough wearable, suitable for even the most clumsy cattle.
Another smart IoT innovation demonstrated by Fujitsu is a connected van, to be used by couriers. The van can keep track of packages being loaded and dispatched, as well as providing an internet hotspot for engineers working in areas with poor mobile broadband coverage.
This year saw a new feature at MWC: the Internet of Things Pavilion. As IOT tech becomes more and more mainstream, we predict it will become an increasingly larger feature at MWC.
The OHP just got seriously sexy (Yes, we did just write that!)
Presentations will never be the same again.
One surprising highlight from MWC 2016 was a gesture-controlled projector from Sony, compatible with its Xperia mobile. The device connects with a smartphone, projecting the screen interface onto any flat surface. Its small size means it’s more user-friendly than many other projectors available – perfect for impromptu movie screenings.
Here’s the really cool bit, though. Just like a normal smartphone, the projection itself is controllable by voice and touch. Don’t believe us? Check out this video of the projector in action at MWC.
At the moment, this is just a prototype, but Sony may bring out a version for sale in the future. Watch this space.
The rise of women in mobile
It’s no secret that women are an under-represented demographic in the tech sector: just 17% of technical employees at Google are women, and at Facebook it’s just 15%.As well as this, women in lower income countries are 14% less likely to own a mobile than their male counterparts. At this year’s MWC, the organisers were proud to announce their highest ever proportion of female attendees: just over 20%.
MWC are committed to making the tech sector more accessible to women, as well as connecting women all over the world with technology that many of us take for granted. For the first time this year, MWC hosted a series of events focussing on Connected Women.
The series included talks on how women in leadership can accelerate the digital industry, and a networking session for female mobile professionals. We’re keen to see how MWC will maintain this commitment to women in the mobile sector over the coming months.
5G: ‘The final frontier’?
Believe it or not, 4G has been knocking around since 2008, so it seems to many that the launch of 5G mobile technology is almost overdue. Official word from Ofcom is that 2020 is the year we can expect finalised 5G as standard. That leaves plenty of time for mobile stakeholders to start exploring the ways they can best use this tech.
For those who need to brush up on their mobile jargon, 5G refers to the fifth-generation of mobile technology. For a network to be considered ‘5G’, it will need to be at least ten times faster than 4G networks, with near-instant latency.
Some interesting examples of 5G technology usage were raised at MWC this year. Intel announced that they’ve partnered with some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Huawei, Nokia and Verizon, to start developing a 5G offering. CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, suggested that the widespread rollout of 5G could occur by 2018 – two years earlier than Ofcom’s official prediction. Whenever it happens, 5G is set to provide some exciting new opportunities for all those operating in the mobile sector.
For those keen to be on the cutting edge of mobile technology, MWC never disappoints. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for what happens next with these exciting tech developments.
Were you at MWC 2016 last week? We’d love to hear about your highlights too!