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​Top 5 things to watch out for at Mobile World Congress 2016…

​Top 5 things to watch out for at Mobile World Congress 2016…

Gone are the days when you could predict - with a fair degree of confidence - what the top two or three trends were going to be at Mobile World Congress.

Think B2B, think industries

Ericsson first launched the concept of the networked society nearly five years ago.

Since then, Newman says the telecoms industry (both service providers and vendors) has embraced the concept of developing vertical market strategies and services.

"The enthusiasm for M2M, IoT, and ICT services has only strengthened the resolve to build vertical propositions," he adds.

However, the process of building vertical teams, expertise, and offers has taken longer than expected.

"Only in the past couple of years have service providers come to understand that they need to focus on just two or three vertical markets rather than mapping out the whole B2B sector," Newman adds.

The telecoms industry has also had to wait for industries themselves to understand the potential benefits of digitization and the value of connectivity in enabling digital processes.

"At MWC this year we will see specific examples, case studies, and solutions for a range of different industries," Newman adds.

"The growing interest in IoT has brought manufacturing to the fore, but utilities, transportation, and healthcare will also feature on the exhibition floor."

Defining the limits and boundaries of 5G

The 5G story is developing differently from previous mobile technology generations.

Indeed, Newman believes the potential to deliver faster speeds - the key attributes of 3G and 4G - has almost been forgotten in the headlong rush to IoT.

"We expect to see the 5G label being applied to a whole range of new technologies and initiatives on display in Barcelona," Newman adds.

"Transformation, network virtualization, and IoT connectivity will all come under the 5G umbrella."

However, Newman says Ovum analysts will be asking some of the more difficult questions in a bid to understand and validate the 5G business case.

While virtual reality demos will be an entertaining diversion for weary delegates, it is not at all clear that 5G will have the capability to support VR (and why would you need 5G in your living room anyway?).

"When it comes to mission-critical communications, 5G also needs to show significant reliability gains over previous generations," he adds.

"We will also be looking to build a clearer picture of emerging low-powered IoT network technologies.

"Events like MWC are crucial for initiatives such as Sigfox and LoRa that are looking to secure operator support before rival solutions built on LTE and 5G come to market."

The platform business model

Developing a platform business similar to those of the large Internet companies has become an obsession for the telecoms operator community.

Ovum expects to see two sets of initiatives around platforms at this year’s event.

"The first relates specifically to network virtualization and technologies such as SDN and NFV," Newman adds.

"Concepts such as APIs, developer ecosystems, and innovation more broadly – the key ingredients of software platforms – are central to the network virtualization business case.

"The second set of initiatives relates to platform ventures that we expect some operators to launch at MWC.

"These will be for specific services and sectors, principally in the B2B space."


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