• MWC is nearly upon us and GlobalData consumer, infrastructure, and enterprise technology analysts are anticipating the major topics and themes to be showcased at this year’s event.
• While 5G and IoT have been the two big (and broad) themes at the last two shows, this year’s focus may be more granular and, hopefully, will be based more on real-world solutions than on hype, as these technologies start to mature.
Every year at MWC, analysts prepare for a diverse array of one on one meetings, booth tours, and occasionally inspiring keynotes and panel discussions, as well as a barrage of media and marketing events aimed at getting analysts excited about new products and services and turning these into “story” ideas.
Assuming that coronavirus doesn’t further disrupt the event by the time it is scheduled (February 24th-27th) it is fairly easy to anticipate what we will see there. Like the last two years, this year’s show is going to be focused a lot on 5G, on IoT, and on new and improved offerings for both consumers and enterprises, including devices, services, applications, and infrastructure solutions. But since this is the third year in a row that 5G and IoT are the major themes (which is not surprising as MWC remains a show about the mobile industry and these technologies dominate the news cycle), we are hoping that this year will be more about the real world and less about the hype. Clearly IoT has been around for a long time, but has been somewhat disappointing so far in terms of revenues to the provider ecosystem. 5G has barely gotten started, but is already dominant in the service and product discussions of mobile operators and equipment vendors.
• Many new 5G device launches and demos from the likes of Samsung, Google, and other device vendors (except for LG which has canceled plans to attend due to health concerns, and Apple, which never attends).
• Healthcare technology demonstrations that may use the coronavirus outbreak at the center of the conversation about why we so badly need remote telecommunication solutions for healthcare.
• Discussions and demonstrations on 5G contracts, equipment, services, and management platforms from the key mobile infrastructure vendors (e.g., Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei).
• Solutions that include seamless mobility combined with UCC offerings that feature 5G-enabled capabilities such as AR/AV and immersive videoconferencing options from UCC equipment and services providers.
• Announcements from operators about their 5G rollouts (both NSA and SA versions), differentiators relating to 5G services and device options, and demos of solutions relating to 5G subcategories such as slicing, IoT security for massive IoT deployments, edge computing partnerships for low-latency/real-time use cases, and AR/VR-enabled applications.
• Edge solutions of all shapes and sizes – devices, software, cloud services, and operator solutions for the operator/network edge, within the operators’ network, at the edge of the business customer network, and within the customer premise.
• Solutions that show an increasing vertical focus within the mobile ecosystem, showcasing the many ways in which retail, manufacturing, healthcare, utilities, public safety, sports and entertainment, hospitality, etc. will benefit from 5G and IoT.
• Solutions from mobile module vendors (e.g., Telit, Sierra Wireless) that incorporate MVNO services as well as IoT connectivity management and application enablement capabilities along with modules and platforms.
• New IoT applications from software developers, SIs, and hyperscale cloud services companies that show-case automation, robotics, real-time data collection and processing, data visualization, and AI-infused analytics.
• A large swath of new mobile applications and capabilities for IoT and digital transformation from the likes of Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, HPE, IBM, and other major enterprise software vendors.
• A focus on multi-layer IoT security solutions, with claims that these offerings finally should put to rest the still significant fears of security breaches as a deterrent to businesses trying out IoT.
• LPWAN progress reports from vendors and operators to show that NB-IoT, LTE-M, and LoraWAN solutions are solving real problems for customers.
• Updates on private 4G/5G and CBRS initiatives and service rollouts from the broad ecosystem of service providers, equipment vendors, operators, ITSPs, and SIs. Also shown will be new WiFi 6.0 offerings that may be complementary or competitive with cellular and CBRS.
Clearly there will be a lot more announcements and demos to discuss once the event is over. In the meantime, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak are still unknown, as in addition to LG pulling out, ZTE has cancelled its press conference, and Ericsson pulled out of the event as we were writing this blog.