4 min read

intive at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Laurence Mifsud

Director, Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT)

I am in the midst of enjoying my first trip to GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and have some first-hand observations straight from Fira Gran Via. I’ll do my best to cover everything that caught my attention on the first couple of days at the event.

As an organization, GSMA is a European trade body that represents the interests of approx. 800 mobile network operators worldwide. It produces a number of important industry events. Apart from Barcelona, there is Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and Mobile 360 Series.

The Barcelona Congress happens to be the largest annual mobile-focused exhibition and conference in the world.

Quite frankly I have been in awe of the size, the hustle and mega brands exhibiting their over-the-top displays of grandeur and dominating pricey floor-space vs nearby competitors!

What's hot

Earlier this year there were a few handsets launched at CES Las Vegas, however here at MWC there are exciting new additions like Samsung’s S9 and many Nokia reincarnations including the revived 'Matrix phone’ nick-named The Banana Phone, which has a retro yet trendy slide-snap feature.

Missing from the show is the mighty Apple. I can understand their approach but it’s still kind of weird not seeing them amongst the rest of the tech innovators!

However, whilst new handsets are nice and an indication of the challenge Apple’s iPhone X faces from its Android rivals, it’s the way that they change, modify or adapt to our behaviour that should make them interesting to brands.

4G, 5K - speeding up

This new generation of handsets, I have noticed, comes with much better and brighter screens and faster processors designed to make the most of the current 4G network bandwidth. The same 4K OLEDs that we now expect in our TVs will be on our mobiles too.

However, it is 5K that is all the rage here at MWC with a large percentage of telco operators and mobile companies branding these 2 letters all across their displays.

Also, Augmented Reality seems to be increasingly popular. As I walk through the many halls I notice mind-blowing camera app designs and of course the integration of voice command which is common-place.

It's all about voice now

It is clear that Amazon (not present at MWC …this year at least!) has focused on owning the voice to basket journey with the home market. Google Assistant however is looking to become a more widely integrated assistant. Bose has added Google Assistant to its latest headphones! The rise of voice command/search challenges brands to find new ways to ensure their products surface in an audio-driven world. It will be very interesting to see where all of this leads and obviously very exciting in terms of future projects for the Media & Communications team at intive going forward.

2 more days to go here, 2 Red Bulls down already this morning and 1 objective in mind – getting intive front of mind for brands with scale!

With thanks to my colleagues so far soldiering on with me: Mateusz Przepiórkowski, Daniel Bąk, Jere Erkko, Paweł Panowicz & Sławomir Kupczyk.

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