Last week we attended the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. It’s the largest annual exhibition for the telecommunications industry. It’s also Christmas Day for those wanting to see the latest mobile devices.
After days of watching demonstrations, visiting exhibits, listening to presentations and talking to as many vendors as we could, we came away agreeing on three major trends.
1) The IoT Tsunami Will Continue
Gartner estimates that by 2020, more than 20 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. Sometimes it felt like about half those devices were at the MWC.
Incredible IoT demonstrations were presented by some of the biggest names in the telecommunications industry: AT&T, Intel, Vodafone, Nokia, Ericsson and Telefonica. These included:
- Connected screwdrivers with built-in sensors that count turns and calculate the number of usages and turns-per-usage
- Pressure and temperate sensors for utilities that detect natural gas leaks and shut them off
- Waste bins that report waste levels in real time to improve collection scheduling and cost-efficiency
- Parking spaces embedded with small sensors that allow drivers to find parking quickly and efficiently
- Ground sensors that work with satellites to help cities monitor and deal with greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
In fact, a GSMA survey during the event showed that nearly half the visitors and exhibitors see IoT as the biggest business opportunity of 2017.
2) 5G Will Be A Game-Changer
For starters, 5G will be 100 times faster than 4G LTE. And if MWC was any indication, it will soon underpin just about every mobile technology, from connected and autonomous vehicles to surveillance drones.
For example, Telefonica and Ericcson are collaborating in 5G research. Visitors to their MWC booths got to see how their efforts are making remote driving a reality. Anyone dropping by could drive a vehicle around a track located about 50 miles from Barcelona, thanks to 4K video streams of the track.
NTT DoCoMo showed how a 5G connection could transmit a virtual reality view from cameras around a factory floor to a VR headset. Industrial robots could also be remotely controlled over 5G.
Just how far away we are from marketable 5G is debatable. Qualcomm expects to have a processor chip ready by 2019 that will connect to 4G and 5G simultaneously for a more powerful signal. Stay tuned.
3) Enterprises Will Turn to SDN/NFV
As enterprises become more mobile and offices become more remote, tremendous burdens will be placed on their legacy IP-based networks.
Performance will slow. Security vulnerabilities will increase. Employees will grow increasingly frustrated. Customers will seek more forward-thinking competitors.
To prevent this, more companies will turn to a combination of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
SDN adds speed, security and reliability to the Internet. NFV accelerates service innovation and provisioning. Together, they give enterprises private network functionality without private network costs.
Whether you’re an enterprise with big network problems or an IoT device developer with big dreams, Dispersive can help. For more information on how we or one of our carrier partners can benefit your situation, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (844) 403-5852.