‘Connecting The Next Billion’ A Focal Point At Mobile World Congress

Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt
Posted: 09/13/2017
MWCA Day One

In its debut event, Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco stuck to the script on day one, focusing on 5G and how the world’s mobile devices will continue to connect to each other and turn the Internet of Things into a way of life.

The event kicked off at the Moscone Center on Tuesday, September 12 to thousands of attendees. While the biggest tech news of the day came from The Steve Jobs Theater at the new Apple headquarters, MWCA pushed forward with the mindset of growing connectivity on both the consumer and business side of mobility.

In its annual Global Mobile Trends report released at the start of the event, MWCA claimed five billion people are now connected to mobile networks – encompassing two-thirds of the human population globally. While the figures are eye-popping, the study notes that it took four years to go from four billion to five billion, and connecting the next billion will take even longer.

Despite its self-proposed focus on 5G and how to make that connectivity work best, MWCA lamented that 4G’s advantages aren’t being fully utilized.

“Industry excitement around 5G overlooks the fact that 4G still has plenty of headroom for future growth,” the report said. “4G is forecast to account for two-thirds of global mobile connections by 2025 (up from around a quarter today), driven by increasing 4G adoption over this period in major emerging markets such as Brazil, India and Indonesia.”

The report went on to say early adoption for 5G will be more consumer focused in the U.S., for home broadband use as an example, without mention of its impact on the enterprise or business setting.

The first-of-its-kind Americas event had a lot to live up to, after reviews of its Barcelona-based February event were underwhelming in terms of how it played to the business side of mobility.

“In the last three to four years, the focus has certainly shifted to IoT,” McQuire said in an interview with Enterprise Mobility Exchange following the conclusion of Mobile World Congress Barcelona. “While there were a few announcements made on the hardware side, this was the weakest show in terms of enterprise announcements.”

The advancements really were just a progression of past announcements and collaborations, McQuire said. “(Mobile World Congress) used to be the marquee event for mobile announcements, but that’s no longer happening. There were some nostalgic devices from Nokia and Blackberry, but as far as the enterprise is concerned, there was very little.”

In an exclusive interview with Enterprise Mobility Exchange earlier this year, Head of Mobile World Congress Americas Reed Peterson explained the focus of the San Francisco-based event.

“Mobile World Congress Americas will include a strong focus on enterprise mobility across the conference program, as well as partner programs,” Peterson said. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be a common thread, particularly the need for enterprises to prepare for the digital revolution driven by IoT and the digitization and collection of massive amounts of data. The conference will also cover topics such as consumer IoT, cont, content and advertising, consumer data and privacy, cybersecurity, the future of AI, the retail experience and more.

Are you attending Mobile World Congress Americas this week? What’s your take on the event, and is it living up to expectations?

Photo courtesy GSMA.

Jason Koestenblatt
Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt