The tech world is abuzz right now in anticipation of the biggest mobile event of the year — MWC Barcelona (formerly Mobile World Congress). This year, Smaato will return to Barcelona for the tenth consecutive year, and we are all looking forward to connecting with existing partners, making new contacts, and hearing about the hottest new trends in mobile!
Here are the five trends that we are most excited about — and which we expect will dominate the conversations at MWC.
1. Foldable Smartphones
MWC is a global showroom for the newest mobile hardware. So we’re expecting some exciting new integrated smartphone features such as facial recognition and voice assistance, or artificial neural networks. Both Samsung and Huawei are also expected to unveil fully-foldable smartphones in the lead-up to MWC.
What we’re most excited for: Huawei’s press conference on Sunday, February 24.
2. 5G and Connectivity
5G was already on a lot of similar lists about trending topics at MWC in 2018. Unfortunately, few strides were made in 2018 to bring this next generation of connectivity to fruition — but 2019 is shaping up to be much different.
5G isn’t just about making the internet connection on your smartphone even faster. It’s about making wireless high-speed internet possible on all devices — from connected cars to the internet of things (IoT) devices. Oh, and remember that Huawei foldable smartphone mentioned above? Yeah, it’s also supposed to be 5G enabled (along with one by LG)!
What we’re most excited for: The MWC opening keynote, “Intelligently Connecting the World,” which will explore how technological innovations such as 5G can and should be deployed in today’s regulatory environment.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While some people at the show may use “artificial intelligence” as a buzzword to create hype, don’t let yourself become totally jaded. AI is becoming an indispensable technology that will change the way business is done in all industries.
The business value of AI is expected to reach $2.7 trillion by 2020,1 and as more companies build this technology into their business model, it will undoubtedly have a transformative effect on consumers worldwide. We’re very excited about the unique potential of AI for different industries and businesses — and we expect many of these new implementation models to be introduced at MWC 2019.
What we’re most excited for: The fourth MWC keynote “An Intelligent Future for All” and the session “AI in Advertising.”
4. Digital Health and Wellness
Healthcare has long been a brick-and-mortar concept. Quality healthcare is confined to the walls of the hospital or doctor’s office — yet there are millions of people worldwide that cannot access such quality care. Mobile’s reach could be the positive change needed to help those currently struggling to access health services.
Over the past year, health and fitness apps have experienced significant growth. Global consumer spend in these apps grew 3X from 2016 to 2018 — an increase that is fueled both by fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal and meditation apps like Calm and Headspace.2 Today’s increased connectivity is now paving the way for the field of digital health and wellness to expand beyond traditional fitness apps to provide mobile users with a more accessible and personalized approach to healthcare.
What we’re most excited for: The Battle of the Health Apps — a demo session in which exciting and potentially disruptive developers from health apps will pitch their concept to a panel of MWC judges and receive live feedback.
5. Trust and Transparency
Transparency is a topic that has been dominating headlines in the mobile industry the past year — but for good reason. Since the GDPR went into effect, all players in the digital advertising sphere have had to reevaluate the way they handle consumer data. And with new data privacy laws on the horizon (we’re looking at you, ePrivacy Regulation), these headlines won’t be letting up anytime soon.
Another factor at play here is the battle against fraud. The scandals of this past year have spurred an industry-wide discussion on how ad tech vendors should be protecting both advertisers and publishers from fraudsters. We’re looking forward to seeing this discussion continue at MWC in the form of keynotes, sessions, and private meetings.
What we’re most excited for: Data Privacy: How Consumers Truly Feel.
Are you ready for MWC? Check out our MWC Survival Tips for some advice on not only making it through mobile’s biggest event but also making the most out of it.
Source: 1Gartner, April 2018| 2App Annie, January 2019