Mobile World Congress 2015 Recap: Redefining mobility in a hyper-connected universe
Mobile World Congress has come to a close, but its impact will be felt for years to come. The halls in Barcelona were packed, and the energy was palpable. As global economies strengthen and mobile saturation reaches new heights, companies that live and breathe mobile seemed more hopeful than ever.
This past week, Weber Shandwick was on the ground to capture and embrace the defining trends. From virtual reality to the emergence of phones-as-a-hub, we found plenty of innovations that will not only shape the future of tech, but the way communication is also shaped.
The Impact of 5G. Perhaps the most important news out of Mobile World Congress is a technology that has yet to be fully developed. Mentions of “5G” were covering every corner of the show, promising speeds of nearly 10Gbps by 2020. That’s a 10x increase from the 4G networks that we enjoy today. The real impact, however, is looming beyond the raw numbers.
5G technology will enable mobile broadband connections that far outpace what many of us now use at home or at work. Moreover, it’ll spread to regions of the world that missed out on the first wave of connectivity, bringing wireless to regions that may not even have a strong wired infrastructure. The globalization of connectivity — paired with low-cost smartphones capable of acting as computers in emerging markets — has the power to transform the global economy.
Many companies strive for a global approach to marketing and messaging, but in practice, regions are often targeted differently based on varying degrees of connectivity. Soon, the exception will be the person that doesn’t have access to the Internet by way of a mobile network. This reality will force companies to retool their thinking as it applies to messaging and outreach, but it will also be instrumental in building customer bases in areas that were once viewed as inconsequential to the bottom line.
The Internet of Things has a hub, and it’s your phone. A future where our cars, bicycles, recycle bins and microwaves are all connected to the Internet isn’t far off. Surrounding ourselves with always-on devices won’t be difficult, but the art of managing them will be a delicate one. At MWC, we saw the shift to mobile phones as the command center. The next wave of smartphones will be powerful enough to control an entire network of devices. Users won’t have to look to their laptop or a static device relegated to a cabinet at home; phones will be the masterminds that dictate and monitor everything in our connected realm.
The secret lies in the explosion of apps. The app industry as a whole is expected to become a $100 billion business by the end of next year, and its immense flexibility enables a single phone to talk to a litany of devices and services. For brands, this presents a remarkable opportunity to be where customers are. Integrating messaging into one’s app workflow is a surefire way to meet people in a place that they’ll frequent, and those who move quickly into the space will reap massive improvements in reach.
This exciting evolution provides new storytelling and engagement opportunities for companies and brands around the world.
If you’re interested in corresponding with our reporter, feel free to reach out to Darren Murph.
Disclosure: GSMA, host of the Mobile World Congress, is a Weber Shandwick client.