After more than 2 years of gathering top minds of the mobile industry online, Mobile World Congress was back for a live event in Barcelona this March. For Logate, it was a special edition, as we were the first Montenegrin company to exhibit independently on MWC. Gathering around 65,000 attendees from 183 countries, MWC Barcelona has successfully justified its reputation as the number one go-to event for the connectivity industry. With the biggest tech giants presenting their latest innovations, we managed to get a glance into the future of connectivity. What are the new horizons we are looking at? Where are we pushing the frontiers of connectivity? Find it out through our key conference takeaways.
1. The world is more connected than ever, but there is still work to do
This year’s Mobile World Congress has shown us that we live in the world of hyperconnectivity. According to a report by GSMA from 2021, 94% of the population in the world has access to a broadband network, while 51% of the world population is using mobile internet. The 4G coverage has increased to 84% by the end of 2020, whilst 5G coverage increased from 5% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. Even though the coverage gap is rapidly closing and there are a number of access technologies available, in his keynote speech, director general of GSMA pointed out that at the moment we still have 3,7 billion people not connected to the internet. The good news is that the usage gap is being reduced faster with each year, as infrastructure innovation, education, and human rights advocacy are paving the way forward.
2. Internet of Everything - the next evolutionary step is here
MWC allowed us to see how interconnected world looks in reality. Smart home gadgets, electric vehicles, cutting-edge mobile devices, smart infrastructures in cities are all showing that the Internet of Everything is the next evolutionary stage in the world of connectivity. We witnessed how new models of cars, cyborg pets, drones and industry appliances look at the stands of some of the biggest exhibitors. One of the notable appearances was Fisker’s new electric vehicle Fisker Ocean, which demonstrates the full potential of connectivity with its capability to be managed through its mobile app. ZTE, Huawei and Android were some of the big names exhibiting what smart homes and offices of the future might look like, all enabled by the 5G capabilities. IBM drew a lot of attention to their stand with their Boston Dynamics robot dog that is made to assist in navigating rough terrain. Finally, some of the biggest mobile devices manufacturers such as Realme, Xiaomi, Oppo and Honor presented their latest smartphones, while LG, Sony and Samsung had limited appearances due to pandemic restrictions. One of the crowded stands was also Telefonica’s stand where its robotic bartender delivered drinks to visitors, displaying the capabilities of AI and the internet combined.
Logate - the first Montenegrin exhibitor among tech giants
MWC 2022 was special because it was the first time for a Montenegrin company to have an independent exhibition space. Logate has been in the telco business for 15 years, and this year we presented our OpenProvider AAA solution among 1900 other exhibitors. Presenting at such a big trade show gave us a deeper insight into the industry and allowed us to connect with partner companies and potential customers way beyond the Balkans and Europe, where we have been present so far. If you haven’t been able to meet us at the exhibition, check out what our AAA solution is about and let’s have a chat.
3. While 5G connectivity is expanding, 6G vision is being developed
The 5G connectivity offers the possibility for innovative use cases through its higher speed and capacity, lower latency and increased reliability. MWC gave us a close insight into the state of 5G connectivity and monetization across the world. In his keynote speech, the director general of GSMA, Mats Granryd, explained there will be over 1 billion 5G connections established by the end of 2022. Additionally, he explained that 180 operators around the world had already launched commercial 5G services by the end of 2021.
An interesting insight was given by the CEO of Vodafone, Nick Reed, where he uncovered that 5G coverage is at an impressive 90% in Asia (South Korea and China), 45% in the USA, and only 10% in Europe. He argued that at the current rate it will take at least the end of the decade for EU to match China’s transformation experience of this year, whilst Africa is hardly even at the starting line.
And while 5G is rapidly expanding and enabling innovation, during MWC there was a launch event – “On the road to 6G”, organized by the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) and the European Commission, where thought leaders from the government, academia, industry and civil society discussed the strategy and tools that are required to develop technical capacities for 6G systems towards 2030.
4. Cloud and Edge computing are enabling enhanced services
New technological advancements in computer science are opening the possibilities for new and enhanced services in telco. Edge computing is transforming the design of connected objects, by putting the processing power for a large number of devices in the infrastructure around us, closer to the user. Products are now becoming smart, by bringing cloud applications closer to the device, optimizing service performance and experience. Telco edge infrastructure is a great network optimization opportunity for CSPs, and an opportunity to offer distributed cloud services to businesses. With edge computing, CSPs are gaining a new monetization opportunity, having computing power closer to where the data is generated, offering minimal latency in processing and connection. Also, edge computing is essential to enable different AI/ML and VR/AR use cases in real time.
5. Artificial intelligence for smarter connectivity, but ethical concerns remain
Artificial intelligence is here to stay and shape our world. It influences the mobile industry by enabling smarter networks, which are more adaptive, resilient, secure and sustainable. Some of the key initiatives around AI in the mobile industry that were presented during the MWC revolved around network monitoring and intelligent management systems, self-healing networks, automated network provisioning, end-to-end orchestration, cyber-threat detection and optimization of network energy consumption. Although AI is impacting the industry for the better, a burning topic that was stressed at the conference was ethics around AI. It seems that new applications are bringing new challenges around discrimination, misusage of facial recognition applications, unethical practices in e-commerce, among others. Thought leaders are calling on governments and regulatory bodies to strengthen the regulations around the ethical use of advanced technologies.
6. Private networks enabling enterprise connectivity
One of the hot topics of the MWC 2022 was enabling private networks, especially private 5G networks for businesses and organizations. As digitalization has blossomed for individual users, with the help of smartphones and smart gadgets, now the big providers are focused on providing digital transformation for organizations and enterprises. Some of the big names in this market that are providing new private network capabilities are Cisco, Celona, Qualcomm, Accenture, Microsoft, among others, helping big telco players such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Vodafone already deliver new services. In the future, we might expect this segment of the market for providers to grow, offering new service models.
7. Fragments of Metaverse were already there at MWC
The Metaverse is not only an idea anymore. It has already begun to blur the boundaries between online and real life, as it is taking us towards the hyperreality world. An instance of how this world might look like was presented at the MWC by South Korean telecom, SK Telecom, with their 4D roller coaster where visitors could take a ride on a giant robotic arm through the virtual world “Meta Planet”, created by the company. Other exhibitors showcased the meta-world ideas through their different use cases, ranging from AR/VR shopping to VR for safety training for car rides.
Metaverse was a highly discussed topic in keynotes and was presented as an extraordinary opportunity for the connectivity industry. Infrastructural requirements were discussed with an invitation to the industry to invest in network latency reduction, symmetrical bandwidth and higher speeds to enable a real sense of presence in the virtual world. The metaverse idea and its realizations have also popularized the non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are promising to further transform the financial industry, delivering new ownership models.
8. Connectivity industry is helping sustainability goals
The telecommunications industry has a significant environmental impact today, with predictions of a rise due to an increasing number of users, devices and an increase in energy needs for the consumption of multimedia formats. Improving energy efficiency is now moving to the core of the corporate strategies in the industry. Artificial intelligence is playing an important role here, as advanced AI models are now capable of better managing and controlling energy consumption. GSMA’s director general, Mats Granryd, pointed out in his keynote speech that the smart tech that the industry possesses today can help significantly reduce carbon emissions. He stated that these technologies are still underused in the industry of energy, transport, manufacturing and buildings, adding that adequate usage in these industries could contribute to the reduction of around 11 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2030, which accounts for 40% of the total required CO2 reduction. Thought leaders see this as a huge opportunity and the mobile sector as having a significant role to play in the overall net 0 goals until 2050.
9. The future is about values and trust at the center of technology
The future is headed towards ultra-broadband connectivity, enabled by 5G and fiber networks. Technological concepts such as virtualization, cloud-native functions, ML/AI, cloudification, open architectures and edge computing are transforming the industry and bringing us closer to the idea of the autonomous network, running with minimal to no human interference. The connectivity industry powers other innovative areas such as smart cities, healthtech, fintech, proptech, sportech and others, that are in turn displaying the full potential of technology and its impact on society. Thought leaders, however, mindfully remind us that even though exciting and bringing new opportunities, this new era should be handled having in mind that people give purpose to technology, not the other way around. Technology has huge enablement power, however, people and values should be at its center, should we want to see its true, sustainable, healthy potential realized.
Manage and monetize your carrier network
with OpenProvider AAA
We went to MWC 2022 to present our OpenProvider AAA system – a cloud and edge AAA/AUSF system helping CSPs perform IP policy, subscriber data management and charging control. OpenProvider is a 3GPP cloud and edge solution for all access technologies, including DSL/FTTH, WiFi, 3G, 4G and 5G.