Some musings on Mobile World Congress – Neural Technologies’ experience
Author: Cameron Kent Marketing Communications Executive
Date: 13th March 2017
Categories: Technology, Data, Financial, Telecoms, Revenue Assurance, Fraud protection, Optimus, Neural Technologies, Big Data, Revenue Management, Mobile World Congress, MWC, GSMA, GLOMO, Global Mobile Awards, Digital Transformation, Digital Integration
One week on from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Neural Technologies has yet to see the dust settle. Within our industry the GSMA run congress is a must attend event, therefore the ideal centralised location to host productive meetings with our Partners and Customers – this week we have been moving through the gears and further advancing our business relationships with like-minded companies, as well as following up on new leads. With 2017 marking our first full stand exhibition at MWC, we have also taken the opportunity over the past week to digest all that we learnt on how we represent ourselves as a company and how those we have not previously dealt with first perceive us. What, though, did we ascertain from the rest of Barcelona’s Fira Congress halls?
Oh what a circus..
For a start, it was bigger than ever. According to the official stats, over 100,000 people attended this year’s conference – up almost 10% from 2016. No normal attendee could have covered all of the halls and every stand; we caught glimpses of the conference whilst moving between meetings, which took 15 minutes at a trot themselves. Aside from the sheer scale of it all (and the need for a really comfortable pair of shoes), there was a few things to take away from MWC.
There was a lot of buzz around Data, as there has been for a few years now, but still very few companies speaking out about how they are using data to drive their businesses forward. Whilst the industry seems happy enough to talk about use cases and potential monetary benefits of using data, Neural was one of the few offering to help companies derive insights from their data. Telcos do, however, appear to be realising that they need to implement the systems and infrastructure to deal with big data, so Neural will be looking to help its customers and potential customers with that in the coming months.
The GSMA released a report outlining the mobile industry’s collective vision and expectations for the 5G era, which included the objective to “drive growth in new use cases for massive IoT and critical communications services.” In other words: get the IoT up and make it work. This goes hand in hand with my previous comment on data; companies have finally started building the infrastructure, but need help finding ways to monetise the data they will be collecting. There needs to be a collective push from the industry to stop talking about it, and start doing it. For this to succeed, before taking the plunge operators need reassurance from companies like Neural that they can provide sufficient support and visceral financial benefits.
After last year’s excitement over NFV and LTE, there was more focus on the mobile industry this year. From Nokia announcing the release of an upgraded 3310 – the retro icon – to Netflix talking about making movies and series suitable for watching specifically on mobile devices, the word was on everybody’s lips. It is sometimes taken for granted that mobiles have lasted so long and remain so vital to us… after all pagers came and went; tablets are popular but do not come close to replacing our beloved mobiles. The importance of mobile is growing with each passing month, and network operators must continue to build their systems and infrastructure to deal with the challenges and opportunities that this provides.
The Elephant in the Conference Hall
Telecoms.com has gone into some depth about 5G and its potential prospects and pitfalls, so I will keep this brief (their article on it, here, is really good). Whilst few will say anything negative about 5G in public, many express skepticism in private. My own view is that telcos need to sort out their 3G and 4G offerings before being bullied into the next phase of evolution and the industry needs to learn to walk before it can run in that respect. Customers would rather have a crystal clear call on 3G, or stream a TV series without a glitch on 4G, than suffer with poor services because their provider is trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and offer 5G. Yes, robot surgeons and driverless cars are eye-catching, but our day-to-day resides in the real world and we need solutions that will make life easier today.