MWC2017: What to expect this year ?

It’s that time of the year again: MWC2017 is around the corner and no doubt once again this year the number of visitors, exhibitors and countries represented will break all records, as well as the quantities of tapas and slices of jamon consumed in the Barrio Gotico. Spectacular announcements of the latest smartphone innovation coming out of Asia are as always expected, bringing more computing power, extended memory, higher video definition, Virtual Reality support, faster wireless charging, waterproof rated , you name it. However, over the last few years, the exhibition has found it difficult to fully embrace these smartphone developments, firstly because one of the important players keeps spoiling the party by not showing up and secondly because, well, in the end the phones might do more, but they all look like just a thin black brick with a glossy screen.

So this has left some room to bring some attention to companion devices, supporting applications, operating systems, security, network etc… But in the end it seems that every iteration of the show has one topic capturing all the attention from the ecosystem: we had Low Power Wide Area networks for IOT back in 2015 with various competing technology parties popping up and joining forces to capture early market leadership. 2016 was the year for Virtual Reality and total immersion headsets making some parts of the show look like a mini Disneyland.

2017 ? Well let’s put a coin on connected cars. Who want to predict how many fancy vehicles will be on display ? Judging by our latest visit to Electronica or CES which in some areas had more to do with a concept car show than a general electronic exhibition, it will be much the same at MWC2017 and this makes total sense since the prime purpose of a car is to deliver mobility, right ? More seriously, how many radios will you have in your next generation hybrid self driving car what with RFID keyless system, WLAN for multimedia, BLE for tyre pressure sensors, 802.11p or Cellular V2X enabling ADAS, Radar or Lidar, ecall, satellite broadcasting, GPS, and not forgetting the good old AM/FM ? Wireless technologies have reached a level of maturity capable of building an ecosystem solid enough to enable a new approach for physical transportation. Let’s hope that the Connected Autonomous Vehicle will tackle its next challenge and put environmental and safety issues behind us.