mec@mwc 2015 - key takeaways
Post on 17-Jul-2015
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EVERY YEAR, AN ESTIMATED 80,000 MAKERS, THINKERS AND INNOVATORS GATHER FOR MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, TO EXPERIENCE THE NEWEST TECHNOLOGIES AND MOBILE PRODUCTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
MWC has become the worlds biggest and only truly global mobile event. This year, 1900 exhibitors convened in Barcelona to showcase the next wave in wearables, smartphones, and tablets, as well as the connected home and car.
But MWC 2015 doesnt just focus on hardware, the truly exciting announcements centred around high speed data access, digital payments, and a host of other infrastructure elements. All of which have the potential to change how we live, work, and play, all over again.
Previous years have focused on smartphones, but this year was different. New form factors and technologies are emerging; from smartwatches and VR goggles, to smart toothbrushes and smart bikes. Yet the smartphone remained front and centre as the ubiquitous device at the heart of everything.
MWC 2015 underscored this point - not only is the smartphone here to stay, but its now more important than ever. It is far more than just a phone, it is the key connector, and remote control, for every future digital service.
Our verdict? Its still vitally important to ensure all digital experiences are optimised for mobile, but it is even more important to understand the disruption that smartphones are causing to consumer behaviours, and to their expectations of how they interact with brands.
OVERALL, ONE THEME STOOD OUT THIS YEAR AT MWC
Wearables. Sensors. The Connected Car and Home. All of these hold infinite promise to make our lives more enjoyable and efficient.
The hardware is more or less here, but the connectivity is still patchy, as are the standards and protocols that will link your smartwatch, home, and car together into one holistic ecosystem.
This years Mobile World Congress saw a focus on the issue of connectivity and egalitarian worldwide access to data - the key to bringing the future to fruition.
Thanks to Google and Facebooks mission to bring data to the masses, many new consumers will experience the internet for the first time via a mobile connection -and this connection may be the only internet experience they ever have.
For the rest of the world, the faster devices and data transmission technologies on show at MWC mean that more and more consumers will begin to rely on their mobile devices by default.
For brands everywhere, a mobile-first strategy isnt just important, its now essential.
Mark Zuckerberg delivered a keynote,
in which he discussed Internet.org,
Facebooks plan to bring Internet
connectivity to underserved areas, in
partnership with wireless carriers
Broadcoms new chipset promises to deliver the speediest Wi-Fi to your smartphone and turn your device into a hub for the Internet of Things
Googles SVP of Product, SundarPichai, revealed plans to launch its own MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) in the United States, with the goal of shaking up innovation in the wireless carrier industry
This years show had no shortage of new devices - from sleek smartphones and smartwatches to super thin tablets.
Today, however, the real differentiators are the cloud-based services that sit behind the glass, think Facebook, Uber, Nest.
Thanks to the fast evolution and adoption of these cloud based services, the mobile OS is becoming less relevant and the hardware itself, no matter how flashy, simply becomes Dumb Glass.
No matter what the OEMs would have us think, any hardware differentiators are disappearing, to be replaced by differentiating software.
With handsets becoming less exciting, consumer focus is switching to their experience of services that they use across any device
For brands, this means that the focus today must be less on the actual devices, and more on how customer data and web services can be linked and supercharged to offer users cross-screen, real-time utility.
Remove customer pain points, by offering a frictionless utility, and you will have a legion of loyal, brand advocates as customers.
LEXIFONE offers users of its
international calling app the option to have
their conversation translated into
another language in real-time via the
VOLVO BRINGS DRIVER SAFETY TO THE CLOUD: road status data is collected from connected cars, shared to the cloud and turned into real-time notifications for drivers.
GOOGLE, MOBILE, AND THE CLOUD: Product Tsar Sundar Pichai is betting big on his companys machine learning and cloud computing expertise to power the next generation of mobile services.
Samsung launched Samsung Pay, a direct competitor to Apple Pay, whilst Google launched Android Pay, an underlying infrastructure layer that 3rd party developers can use to enable mobile payments.
There were also new offerings from PayPal, Wirecard, LG, Visa, various banks, and other ad tech providers meaning MWC 2015 was awash in mobile payment tech.
The idea of mobile payments isnt exactly new, but this year was different, because it felt like the infrastructure to support them had finally arrived.
Mobile payments have been waiting in the wings for quite some time. Now, with the adoption of NFC by Apple, and the steady rollout of NFC point of sale systems in stores, theyre ready to take centre stage.
Just like plastic supplanted paper money, mobile initiated payments will become the new status quo in very short time. Brands will need to understand the new behavioural patterns, and opportunities that arise, once it becomes possible to initiate payments across new points of contact.
The focus now needs to be on understanding how to integrate these new payment opportunities into physical and digital spaces - making the process as inviting and seamless as possible for consumers.
SAMSUNG PAY: an NFC
based point of sale solution
that also supports
magnetic strip payments.
ZTEs GRAND S3 integrates EyeVerifys Eye Print ID bringing biometric identification to smartphones.
ANDROID PAY: an underlying infrastructure solution with supporting APIs to enable new innovative payment services.
Whilst the smartwatch has been a staple of Sci-Fi and nerd-chic for decades, timing (no pun intended) is everything, and the smartwatch is evolving from a gimmick to a wearable contender.
Smartwatches were everywhere at MWC, not just from the big manufacturers, such as Huawei, LG & Samsung, but also from independent manufacturers focussing on fashion and affordability. For example, My Kronoz had an entry level smartwatch for $99.
Now the real conundrum has to be tackled. What do people really want to do with smartwatches? Its too early to tell, but some of the devices that debuted at MWC 2015 presented a good case for the smartwatch to become a staple item in our multiscreen world.
Smartwatches have high potential for uptake, but they wont supplant the smartphone. Rather, they promise to augment the other screens, and nodes, in our increasingly connected lives, providing us with new and highly valuable utility. e.g. acting as keys, health monitors, sensors etc.
There will be a certain amount of cross over in services like payments and digital locks, but it is likely that users will allocate different tasks and behaviours to smartphones and smartwatches.
For brands, its essential to closely monitor the behavioural patterns that will emerge from smartwatches and integrate them into a holistic mobility strategy.
THE LG URBANE: combines
with the charm of a classic
watch, as well as the ability to
start your car.
THE PEBBLE TIMESTEEL: precursor to a modular model allowing 3rd
parties to add-on additional functionality.
THE HUAWEI TALKBAND B2: a refreshing departure from the initially gigantic form factors with a lightweight frame that still incorporates the usual smartwatch features.
VR demos were in evidence throughout MWC 2015. Korea Telecom were using it to showcase their vision for 5G video streaming, whilst AT&T allowed you to walk round a virtual connected home.
However, the real news was happening in a backroom, and only experienced by select journalists, where HTC demoed their Vive VR headset. Apparently the experience is indescribable, but incredibly realistic.
Along with Facebook already having launched an in-house Oculus Rift VR movie studio, and what was on show at MWC, its clear to see VR is hear to stay. However, it will be some time before we see widespread brand and consumer usage.
Imagine how much more powerful it might be to virtually walk around a hotel in Bali, than simply look at photos or a corporate video. 360 degree visuals are just the beginning. The next generation technology, seen at MWC 2015, will engage all our senses to create truly immersive experiences - no form of technology has been able to accomplish this before.
Its easy to dismiss VR as a shiny new toy, but keep in mind nobody predicted the transformation the iPhone would bring. That said, we should not rush to create VR content just yet - instead we should carefully watch this space to see what use cases start to drive mass consumer adoption.
THE HTC VIVE: adds physical freedom to the VR experience, enabling users to see and truly explore virtual objects and spaces.
SAMSUNG GEAR VR:
a more lightweight,
THE ROTO VR CHAIR: VR isnt just about what you see, but also about what you feel. Roto designs VR chairs that enable "gr