This year, MWC23 (Mobile World Congress 2023) attracted from 27th February to 2nd March over 85.500 attendees from 151 countries and more than 2.400 exhibitors in Barcelona.
Event has been dedicated to exploring the latest mobile technology innovations and trends around five main themes:
- 5G Acceleration: how 5G is set to transform industry, enterprises, and the way we communicate, work, play, and live.
- Reality+: how Immersive Experience and the Metaverse are allowing new ways of communicating and accessing information to the customers.
- OpenNet: networks are opening up, becoming more agile and futureproof, but also potentially exposing them to new types of cybersecurity attacks, that we need to manage and protect.
- FinTech: making payments, exchanging currencies, both traditional and digital, and other banking and commercial interactions is becoming faster and easier.
- Digital Everything: digitalization, IoT, and the combination of the real and the digital worlds are a phenomena that will potentially affect every one of us.
One more year it deserves a special mention the focus on the entrepreneurial start-up community through the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) program, welcoming international start-ups and speakers to share insights on how to drive the ecosystem forward.
These are our 10 take aways from this event, where we can say that absolute normality has returned after the pandemic and post-pandemic years:
1. Not a clear trending topic this year
First take away of this edition would be that unlike in previous years when there used to be a very trending topic, this year there is not any dominant technology but a large number of technologies presented and many sectors represented with a notable growth of Mobility and Health.
2. Mobility is becoming increasingly important
In a context of concern for the environment and congestion in large cities, this MWC2023 has shown the latest trends in urban mobility with great weight on the electric vehicle, as well as the Hyperloop project has been presented with a full-scale prototype.
FinTech was one of the five main themes in this edition, including conferences, start-ups, and big companies showing latest innovations in Payments, DeFi and Digital Assets.
J.P. Morgan has been the team sponsor this year, promoting the clear idea that “Payment companies need to operate much more like Tech companies”.
According to the precedent message, a significative number of conferences from professionals and observers of the FinTech sector they have considered hot topics like: DeFi use cases, compliance & regulations, CBDCs, Crypto/Tokens/NFTs, Web3, Money in the Metaverse, etc.
There was also a significant presence of companies showcasing their products. A special mention for Infineon, an interesting player specialized on enabler payments on wearables like smart watches, bracelets, rings or artificial nails.
4. From Metaverse to Immersive Experiences
Metaverse concept has lost the hype from precedent edition and turn on a more realistic concept of Immersive Experience, showed on different scenarios, more of the gaming or entertainment in general. In summary, the return of AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) technologies.
5. Artificial Intelligence, not easy to showcase
Everybody is talking about the new AI Generative models (ChatGPT and others) but not very much companies have showed real uses cases or disruptions regarding AI on the exhibitions.
Some exceptions could be a style advisor using Visual AI, or XRAI’s AR glasses with virtual assistant app integrating OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology into its app and glasses setup.
Robots is a classic topic for WOW effect in some booths presenting robots in some rather exotic use cases. This year at least we have seen an interesting use case for coffee machines in order to automatize the choice, preparation of selected coffee, and payment in a full autonomous way.
7. WhatsApp for Business is taking the leadership in Messaging
In a more practical topic, we have observed that WhatsApp for Business is growing relevance around the “Conversational Engagement” concept, surpassing other technologies like RCS that are not getting off the ground in a general way, as is happening with WhatsApp.
8. Smartphones and consumer devices
As in every edition, some breakthroughs in mobile phone tech and related consumer devices has been presented by different vendors.
Some examples: Nokia unveiled its "self-fix phone”, the first Android smartphone designed to be repaired at home; Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro are launching in Europe, in partnership with Leica; Realme presents the GT3 240W with the fastest charging tech; Oppo presents a device able to measure six biometrics, including heart rate, blood oxygen level and blood pressure.
9. Start-up ecosystems and Open Innovation programs
A new year of big success with a lot of startups from multiple countries and technologies (AI, Blockchain, eHealth...) participating on 4FYFN (4 Years From Now) initiative. 4YFN is the startup business platform that enables startups, investors and large corporations to connect and launch new business ventures together.
Additionally, big companies like Deloitte, Decathlon, Banc Sabadell, Repsol, AWS, Telefonica (Wayra) and others show his open innovation programs and startups ecosystem dynamization, and take eventually profit to look for talents.
10. Telco Operators front Tech Giants
Last but not least, a relevant announcement has been made by José María Álvarez-Pallete, Telefónica’s CEO and GSMA president, presenting an alliance between the largest communication operators named Open Gateway, to allow participating companies to get extra income from their 5G networks.
The Open Gateway initiative is being launched for eight APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) at first, with open-source code. APIs are interfaces for developers to communicate with other applications, in this case, the network itself. Developed together with the Linux Foundation, these APIs relate to SIM card usage and network quality. This means that the 5G network will become programmable by third parties via standard APIs, no matter what network provider it is.
With Open Gateway, operators plan to allow developers to use their 5G network to release apps without other intervening parties. That would mean you don’t need Google and Apple anymore to release an app or download it as a user.
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