MWC 2018 in review

09/03/18

The GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the world’s largest annual exhibition for the communications industry and, as Europe’s number 1 mobile device protection provider, Assurant is proud to have been a key contributor to the event for over eleven years.

However regardless of whether you’re a newcomer to MWC or you’re a seasoned visitor like Assurant, the scale of the event never fails to impress. You just have to look at the numbers; more than 108,000 professionals from 208 countries and territories attended to witness more than 2,400 companies exhibiting across 9 halls and 11 outdoor spaces at Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc in Barcelona.

The theme of this year’s event  was “Creating a Better Future” and through new technology there has been numerous developments aiming to make customers’ lives easier and protect our environment.

SMARTPHONE INNOVATION AND MOBILE DEVICES

New devices this year showed a definite trend with ever-shrinking screen bezels giving the customer smaller devices whilst increasing the edge-to-edge experience.

Samsung held the biggest mobile launch of the year so far at their “Unpacked” event  revealing their Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus range. The new models feature a dual-aperture camera, a better positioned fingerprint reader and the latest processors. Prices have been steadily increasing though with the S9 £50-£70 more expensive than the S8.

Nokia were another manufacturer using MWC to reveal their new flagship device, the Sirocco 8, alongside updating another classic model; the 8110 with an iconic slider. With built in 4G for a faster connection, the phone features all the apps and functionality you would expect including the classic Snake game and a standby time of 25 days.

At the opposite end of the pricing spectrum there have been some lower budget devices unveiled including Google’s decision to launch the first Android Go smartphone containing a budget operating system (OS).

5G

5G connectivity for mobile devices has been around for some time and moves are being made towards planning how it will be rolled out in the future. 5G will be up to 100x faster than current 4G and 10x faster than the broadband connectivity that we are used to.

Connectivity speeds can dramatically change how customers interact with  devices to control many aspects of their lives and, as Assurant work with the majority of network operators, 5G is very exciting news for us. Recent 5G testing has reached speeds over 1Gb/s, however, as much as the technology is being hailed as a game-changer for mobile technology, it’s unlikely to be widely available to consumers until 2020.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

One of the benefits of 5G is the added ability to handle other technologies like AI and AR.

AI emerged as a breakthrough technology, powering everything from smartphone assistance to industrial applications. Operators will have the ability to use analytics to predict customer demand.

Artificial Intelligence now has the ability to process unbelievably large sets of data, predict trends and is continually developing at a startling rate, while chat bots are increasingly helping to reduce friction in customer mobile interactions. These were promoted across the congress and will undoubtedly change how we interact with our customers, drive our insights and improve our customer experience.

4YFN

While the big brands use MWC to showcase their new technology, 4YFN presented a different side to the event.

4YFN stands for ‘Four Years from Now’ and is a  business platform which can put 650 startups in touch with 700 potential investors giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their ideas and find suitable partners.

The whole initiative generated an exciting buzz, especially during the ‘Pitch the Press’ event, where entrepreneurs had two minutes each to present themselves to startups and the media.

The Youth Mobile Festival

YoMo at MWC encourages schools and young people to develop the entrepreneurial and creative skills they need for the future. This year 15,000 school pupils from across Europe participated in interactive activities and presentations related to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Mobile World Scholar Challenge

This year MWC added the Mobile World Scholar Challenge bringing together new and impactful ideas from academic and research communities from around the world. The Challenge is a video-based competition designed to discover and highlight ground-breaking new technologies developed at universities around the globe. Participants submitted videos that promote potential uses for their research. All winners received a cash award and their videos presented at MWC.

Final thoughts

At Assurant we’re passionate about serving our customers, using our presence in 24 countries and  complete value chain of 170 million lifestyle protection contracts worldwide, to gain an unmatched understanding of their needs, challenges and desires. We turn these global insights into local transformative solutions that deliver a better customer experience and unique benefits, driving loyalty, satisfaction and lifetime value to our clients. MWC is just one way we gain perspectives to see where the market is heading and position ourselves and our clients to succeed.

One key highlight from the event is choice; customers want a broad range of products to choose from and manufacturers are offering just that. We’ve always had options at the forefront of our minds and have products to complement customer lifestyle and needs. Whether they want the comfort of mobile device insurance or need to use our services in the event of an emergency, we’re on hand for customers when they need us.

MWC has developed into a huge eco-system of mobile based industries and connected technology, showcasing converging technologies and creating new products and innovations. At Assurant we’re never satisfied with today’s successes and believe there are always opportunities to improve, and MWC offers companies around the globe an essential platform to learn, network and share best practice. Judging by this year’s event, the Congress will continue to grow. We’re looking forward to next year already!

 

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