The recent 2018 Mobile World Congress was filled with acres of booths promoting the latest chips, services, hardware and, of course, mobile phones (S9! XZ2!). Most of this conference is decidedly B2B - things telcos need and the companies that can provide them - but there is a bit for the advertising industry.
5G was everywhere, trumpeted as the magic tech dust, in cars, manufacturing and pretty much everything. However, there were no shipping, or much in the way of functioning, prototypes. 5G promises to be 10 times faster and have significantly lower latency, which will help minimise distances: if any information can be instantly anywhere, there are fewer reasons to physically travel (think holographic video conferencing). But this won’t be widely available until around 2020, so there are still a few years before it hits the street.
The Internet of Things
While not hitting the same hype levels as CES, it’s clear that the IoT ecosystems are maturing and getting real utility. Google’s assistant was in a lot of devices and their proof of concept home in their Android Works showed the potential of all the devices working with a single conductor.
AI (and machine learning) was probably the most used tech buzzword. Almost every manufacturer talked about the benefits of AI, but few had depth on this (ASUS
, I’m looking at you). But the promise of machine learning is real - using fuzzy learning to understand context, it can improve chatbots, autonomous cars, ad serving, content personalisation and so much more.
One of the minor buzzwords at MWC, it was pervasive on the issues security and supply chain. It’s being integrated into the IoT (with some intriguing blockchain on chip).
There were several attendees making advances in mobile advertising. Like the rest of the conference, it felt like a maturation of existing platforms. Some examples of this include: Urban Airship
is promoting their personalisation of mobile messages, Pocket Media
focusing on segmentation and user acquisition for ads, and traditional consultants pushing harder into the space, like Accenture’s promoting the integration of big data
and full integration of the tools from strategy through to delivery.
This conference definitely felt evolutionary, not revolutionary. There were no new announcements or technologies that felt like a massive breakthrough. Yes, there was 5G, AI, blockchain, IoT and all the other buzzwords. But there was nothing that we haven’t seen or heard promised before.