Diverse Reality - A View from the MWC 2017 Walkway

MWC is the biggest Telecoms event in the world and most of us were expecting the big theme this year to be 5G. Whilst 5G was present on many stands, it was upstaged by both a faster type of 4G and a phone from the past. The other takeaway from Barcelona’s mega tradefest was the huge diversity of people, exhibitors and themes on show. ‘Mobility’ may have been a connecting theme but only in the broadest sense.

Here are my impressions:

Back to the Past

Samsung executives looked on aghast as Nokia, the European has-been of mobile phones stole the show with its latest or should I say throwback phone – the 3310. With 22 hours of talk-time and up to a month’s standby time and even a made-over Snake game, those of us that carry two or more portable battery chargers to get through the day couldn’t resist a nostalgic smile.

Gigabit LTE versus 5G

5G was on show on numerous devices but plastered over the billboards was the promise and reality of Gigabit LTE. Based on 4G technology and 4x4 MIMO, Gigabit-LTE is here, or at least it is in Australia we are told – other operators soon to launch. Expect only about 60Mb/s of real-life performance though.

Mobile Virtual Reality

There were tons of VR headsets for people to try but the ones that caught my eye were the mobile ones. From fairground rides to a spinning Wingsuit for the home, VR is about movement as well as optically-engendered reality.

Unconnected Diversity

From lap-top bags, to robots alongside a myriad of other products, MWC was the place to be and be seen. Spying a graphene helmet I asked the researcher on the stand if it had integrated Bluetooth and was told ‘no’. Great technology, though: light, reduced thermal characteristics and better damage control – I guess protection is better assured if you’re not talking at the same time. On the other hand, there were lots of connected cars with tens of sensors and 5G connectivity but the car that caught my eye was this graphene one and not a connected chip in sight.

Tinkerman Marketing

Hall 8.0 had the apps and most of them seemed to have a marketing theme. You could track, trigger, tap and even teleport, in intelligent and multiple smart ways to optimize audience targeting and maximize revenues. With Claudio Ranieri in the news, it reminded me of his nickname: ‘Tinkerman’. So many different marketing tools to play with but establishing an enduring formula for success may prove difficult, since conditions in the field are always changing.

Well, that’s it. MWC was a smorgasbord of diverse impressions and realities with no real ‘big theme’ to call out. But it’s still the place to be in (or out of) Telecoms.

What no Routing Topic?

Given the crowds on the walkway some form of routing device was needed. How about this as next-generation flow controller? It provides a centralized overview complete with megaphone for distributing policy instructions.