Held annually in Barcelona, Mobile World Congress is globally renowned for setting future trends in mobile and gives companies the chance to showcase and launch their latest innovations.
This was Rambus Ecebs first visit to the Fira Gran Via site in Barcleona as exhibitors, and while maybe not as historically picturesque as the previous location, it is no doubt better suited to the sheer scale of the task in hand.
Over 80,000 people attended the event this year and it is clear that the rise of software solutions to differentiate the various offerings is now uppermost in the mindset of all the major names. Despite the flurry of new handsets from the manufacturers; many of whom may be relatively unknown in the UK market but clearly have huge markets in the Far East; there seemed to be the impression amongst those we spoke to that in terms of hardware features, this was a year of evolution and refining; polish rather than revolution. Don’t get me wrong, some of these handsets are outstanding in terms of the design and manufacturing processes required to produce such equipment, at volume, at the price points achieved, but there were more than a few people wondering … but why ….?
Why was actually answered in the shift of focus away from the kit, to how it can be used. “Connected Everything” was the core to this – driven by the delivery of products that make the “Internet of Things” a reality. The GSMA connected city was a great example, which was interpreted and replicated by many of the major integrators; all of whom wanted to take visitors on their own “journey”. The use of the mobile phone for payment was once again prevalent – but that’s old news for many now. Loyalty too was still a favourite. However the use of the mobile for transport; a theme that has been slowly gathering momentum; may now have reached that mass-market tipping point so long predicted. Ecebs have been demonstrating this for some time, but now we have reference sites, and NFC handsets are more readily available at sub £100 price points, the questions we were fielding were more to with when and how do I get access to this – rather than how does it work and is it real? We can now say, not only is it real, this is where you can see it in use – and that has made all the difference to the conversations.
To continue the theme, some parts of the show even resembled a car launch, with Corvette, Tesla and VW Golf all on display on certain stands. Wearable technology was more
obvious with the next generation of products from Sony and Samsung actually causing non-geeks to stop, look and consider! Even motorcyclists were considered with wearable technology for staying connected. I just hope the boss doesn’t read this as riding my bike is the one place where I definitely don’t want the distraction of his calls … And maybe with the arrival of a Bluetooth connected toothbrush, we can say that the Internet of things has landed.
With such prevalent embedded technology, security was also a big feature. With so much connectivity, and with the revelations on the activities of various governments, the time was clearly right for the security firms to exploit this. One product that really seemed to catch a lot of attention was the “Blackphone”, an Android phone with an enhanced operating system called “PrivatOS” that is to offer: “secure calls and text messages, and store files and connect to the Internet via anonymous VPNs”. It seemed to capture the mood of the moment very well.
Finally, we have to thank Scottish Development International as Rambus Ecebs were based at their Scottish Pavilion, without their support both prior and at the event, we could not have had so many useful meetings. By providing the mechanisms, facilities and insights throughout, our presence at MWC 2014 would have been far less fruitful.
Many thanks to all for a great event, see you next year (and thanks to SDI for arranging the whisky event!). Slainte Mhor!