Mobility in 2014 and Beyond – Keynotes, Product Launches, and Innovations

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I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic with 140mph headwinds. Almost 10 hours from BCN to EWR. Lots of time for blogs, now I’m only constrained by battery power. I miss Placa Reial already.

The Mobile World Congress is a massive 4 day meeting of mobile carriers, device and vehicle manufacturers, networking and consulting services providers, and other connected mobile industry companies.

Another notable event was Firefox’s innovative launch of their new GM, Mobile Operating System. Other vehicle manufacturing companies had a presence on the expo floor featuring mobile device connected cars from GM, Ford, Mercedes, Tesla, and BMW.Mobile industry executives from the world connect in Barcelona to showcase new service offerings, devices, tools, and industry innovations. This year’s exhibition space included 8 large meeting halls displaying the latest technologies. Device manufacturers, especially Samsung, had a large presence at the halls.

Keynotes included presentations from industry executives from Telecom carriers, device manufacturers and software executives. I was most impressed with the huge effort for companies to showcase their new products and services. The conference halls had exhibition stands that were like large retail 30’x100′ “stores in a box”, temporary for only 4 days, complete with devices and displays, sales/ marketing representatives, IT support, and refreshments.

Conference themes emphasized home, health and vehicle connectivity, network speed (most of Europe is still on 3G networks or less) improvement, mobility monetization, augmented reality, and collaboration. From health and sleep tracking devices like FitBit wearable bracelets, to mobile enabled toothbrushes that prompt you to brush your teeth better and report brushing habits to your dentist, the pervasiveness of mobility connectivity continues to increase. I see these improvements more as innovations and less as disruptions as existing businesses and quality of life will only be improved with these innovations.

I attended Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote presentation on the first day of the conference. Mark presented his vision for creating internet.org, a new group dedicated to delivering the internet to the “next 1 or 2 billion” internet users. For that next segment of the internet population, the means to acquire (afford) the internet is there but the awareness (tangible benefits or advantages) is not. Internet.org’s charter is to create that awareness of why the internet will be helpful to that segment of the world population. Connectivity, networking, and access to information are all compelling parts to internet access. Also, those new users will potentially be consumers of internet applications including Facebook and WhatsApp mobile messaging application, Facebook’s newest $19B acquisition. Will internet.org be a successful sign-up mobile worldwide campaign or a self-serving application growth attempt that has limited effects on the internet population? It’s difficult to tell at this moment, but MWC future conferences will analyze and review those goals.

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