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Mobile World Congress 2019 - Intelligent Connectivity

Waiting for my flight home from Barcelona to sunny Luton here are some of my key take aways from MWC19.

Artificial Intelligence 

The intelligence part of MWC is Artificial intelligence (AI). If you haven’t noticed there has been an evolution from internet of things to intelligence of things! Sensors, devices and software that can learn and make your life easier. The principles for AI haven’t really changed much in the last decade however the technology and its applications are phenomenal with infinite possibilities! Most stands had some sort of AI, plenty of robots with applications from teaching kids to read to making cocktails! The application of AI will be pervasive, I see this being big not just in service, industrial and leisure space but in the advertising space. Devices learning behaviours, trends and offering relevant options in them micro-moments. Safe to say AI is not snake oil, it’s happening, it’s very advanced and there is a lot still to do!


The connectivity part of the MWC is 5G. In previous few years 5G was advertised as the game changer. This year is no exception 5G was signposted everywhere! So is this the year for 5G? Apart from the ridiculously fast mobile speeds the application of 5G goes far beyond mobile. It’s a huge investment for governments and telcos so it will need a broad range of application to monetise the newly found hyper speed. 5G will allow devices, sensors to connect across a disperse area far beyond WiFi. NTT data/ Everis consulting, Nokia, Intel, and Microsoft had varied stands ranging from edge computing to smart cities and the application of 5G. They hand connected devices, sensors and drones for managing, optimising and rescuing cities during calamities. I am not convinced that 5G will be main stream this year however mobile remains the catalyst for smart connected cities and homes.

Automation Home

Xiaomi and many other companies had stands focusing on automated homes and the application of connected homes. I really liked the Xiaomi laser projector, it was a phenomenal device that at the right price point (currently around £1500) it is likely to wipe out the need for home tv screens. There were a number of stands discussing the power of voice as an interface to run your home. We are becoming more comfortable using voice to interact with technology. Automated homes will be accelerated further this year and I believe that customers will use these life hacks of automation more readily to adjust heating, monitoring security and even making your breakfast! 

Virtual / Mix Reality

With the rise of edge computing, machine learning and augmented reality devices a large number of companies demonstrated the application of mixed reality across health, construction, smart cities and gaming. Intel had an immersive Spiderman experience, Nokia had table tennis with physical bats with a virtual ball and Microsoft demonstrated their new Microsoft’s Hololens. This year will you pass people on the street wearing VR glasses? I think not due to cultural acceptance and the current form factor is not practical for every day use. Having said this the applications of using virtual and mix reality in industry will become more mainstream. I think this year mix reality application for everyday life will be within mobile devices where people will augment and blur reality using their phones, imagine Pokemon go on steroids! To power this tech in realtime will require edge computing, AI and yes you guessed it 5G!

Folding Phones 

As in previous years Samsung has an impressive space with a big hands demo of the galaxy s10 range. An impressive range of devices with the biometric inbuilt to the screen, gesture control and phenomenal camera. Samsung are also developing out their ecosystem of connected devices with new wearables, wireless ear buds to compliment their offering. The show piece for Samsung was the Galaxy Fold, yes the folding phone! When you can fold a screens and maintain a high resolution of display the possibility of form factors becomes endless. Huawei had a folding phone as well the Huawei Mate X. Both are impressive with different designs so the jury is out on which design will work better in the wild. I can see the flexibility of having a foldable touch screen as agame changer. The new possibilities using a dynamic and flexible screen real estates will be a paradigm shift in user interaction design experience and open up some stunning use cases.

Digital Identity 

How do you identify someone you know? Probably by the way they walk, look, their habits and behaviours. This is exactly what will happen with intelligent digital identity. The catalyst of digital identity is strong customer authentication (SCA) and GDPR. Organisations will need to ensure that customers data is securely available to the third party providers (TPP) and put the appropriate governance in place to ensure they identify the customer. I met many companies big and small that are focusing on how customer can use digital to identify themselves. There are going to be many options for this to cover many use cases. I met some really innovative startups looking at digital identity from a customer experience perspective and other startups looking at it from a pure security perspective ensuring the security of the technology is not compromised. Digital identity with the intelligence of things will really take off offering a connected service though multiple interfaces from your car, your fridge to maybe your toothbrush! 

Four Years From Now (4YFN)

I also spent a day at 4 years from now (4YFN) where Sabadell BStartup was the gold sponsor. 4YFN is a place where you meet some of the world upcoming startups who are creating innovative solution for real world problems. The startups ranged from consumer electronics, healthcare, finance and everything in-between. I am always fascinated by companies origins stories and understanding their why and purpose. I met some people from Innocells who invest in startups and provide a platform for startups to thrive. I learnt about some of the upcoming companies and trends that they are researching and investing in. I managed to hear talks from N26, Google and Airbus and in the discovery area a number of pitches from startups.

My gate has been called and the flight is on time! So it’s time to fly back to sunny England. Good bye Barcelona it’s been a blast, I look forward to meeting the companies again to explore how we can work together and make magic in digital.

Thanks for reading.

Bhavesh Vaghela

Digital Craftsman

My views are my own, delightfully dyslexic so please forgive the typos!




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Bhavesh Vaghela

Bhavesh Vaghela

VP of Products


Member since

10 Oct 2016



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