3 Things to Focus on at MWC17

By Mika Skarp

The Mobile World Congress is now upon us and this seminal annual event never fails to live up to it’s bold, broad handle. Every year over 100,000 telecom minds meet in Barcelona to kick the tires on the latest, greatest mobile network and device technology. Of course there will be the perfunctory announcements about the pre-next generation launches (in this case 5G) boasting new and every faster air interface speed records. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear about some vendor who has delivered over 100Gbps over pre-5G technology. We’ll certainly be all ears and eyes, but if you want to learn something really important at this year’s show where best to focus?

While mobile technology advances are at the very beating heart of every MWC, the big theme this year is (or should be) less about the technologies to enable 5G but the business models that will support it. The fact is, and as we've chanted like a mantra in these pages, if we continue to operate into the 5G era the way we have through 4G, we’re all doomed. The status quo will do nothing to boost sagging mobile operator sales and profitability. Rather, and in order to return to a path of healthy growth and profit, new business models are badly needed. I am going to focus on three that I believe hold a great deal of promise.

The first opportunity is in the not-so-sexy area of network security. Even though it may put some audiences to sleep, mobile security is a hot topic and is definitely worth taking a closer look at. Today one of the biggest vulnerabilities also happens to be in arena seeing the most use, namely WLAN. No question that WiFi has been a boon to mobile connectivity, but it’s also become a prime target for cybercrime of all stripes. Is there something we can could do about WiFi to make it more secure? Should we begin looking at using macro networks for secure connections instead? And if so, does the concept of delivering secure macro networks on WiFi hotspots suggest a promising new business model for carriers? So it would seem.

The second star in the MWC sky are AR applications and especially their user interfaces. Anyone who’s seen AR at work, (and we’ll be demonstrating it ourselves at MWC), can see its potential to seriously disrupt the the Internet experience as we know it and especially when combined with AI. Certainly, many companies, small and large, will be trotting out their latest AR applications at MWC, but the ones to watch are those at the front end of the experience, focusing on the UI/UX factor of this burgeoning category. Remember that before it become a billion dollar darling of the tech industry, Slack was but a lousy game with a truly excellent communication toolkit. Are there similar AR applications out there? I would not be surprised to see a few bright stars reveal themselves in Barcelona next week.

The third category of focus for me is public safety. Already much on the minds of leaders and innovators in the Critical Communications space is how we can use commercial LTE networks to detect possible public security threats as they happen and help law enforcement operatives more quickly respond to track down and neutralize suspects. We’re honored to be on the cutting edge of these developments integrating Cloudstreet’s core technology, the Dynamic Profile Controller™ or DPC™ that can turn any LTE network into a dedicated public safety network with SLA-assured connectivity.

Partnering with Canadian body camera innovator Airvisor we’ll show how the DPC-enabled public security network can stream two-way, real time situation video to dedicated bearers over standard LTE networks. Along with it’s sleek, lightweight stereoscopic camera design is a feature rich software suite, purpose built for real-time facial recognition and surveillance tracking in large public spaces like stadiums and airports. This, along with our AR solution working with Nokia and the SmartEyeglass from Sony Mobile, is one of the many use cases we’ll be demonstrating at MWC17. We would love a chance to present these solutions to you at the show. You can find us at booth in Hall 5 Stand 5F31. See you in Barcelona!