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Mobile World Congress 2018: 5G in the Spotlight

Thousands of people visited Barcelona, Spain, from February 26 to March 1 for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 where more than 2,000 companies showed off the latest smartphones, artificial intelligence (AI) devices, autonomous drones, and, of course, 5G-driven technology.

 

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We were at the conference to capture the perspectives of tech leaders, technology partners, and engineers. Day one focused on the launch of new products:

 

  • Nokia introduced its new flagship smartphones. But this giant hasn’t forgotten its heritage. The company introduced the 8110 4G, a revamped version of the 20-year-old classic, complete with Snake.
  • Sony surprised us with new versions of its phones, which were released less than a year ago alongside Bluetooth earbuds, a concept debuted at last year’s show.
  • Allying with tech legends such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, Spanish telco giant Telefonica launched Aura, an AI-powered digital assistant, as well as a new smart home device.
  • Alvárez-Pallete, Telefonica CEO, also confirmed that some of Europe’s biggest telecoms are working together to create a new global data portability ecosystem. This gives customers the ability to transport customer usage data with them as they travel.

2.pngSamsung Booth at Mobile World Congress 2018

Having taken a year off in 2017, Samsung returned to MWC to display its latest flagship model in the smartphone segment, the Galaxy S9 and S9+. We were particularly excited about this since we’re partnering with Samsung to develop 5G test user equipment (UE) for 5G New Radio (NR), .

 

 

Changing the World: To Infinity and Beyond

 

The future of mobile phone technology wasn’t the only innovation on display this year. The keynote, “Creating a Better Future for Everyone,” focused on solving social problems and improving quality of life for the most vulnerable in society with innovations in cognitive intelligence and mobility.

 

3.pngHuawei demonstrated an early-concept 5G robot controlled by an individual wearing sensors, a technology that could potentially stand in for humans in dangerous workplace situations. Other cutting-edge technology included an AI-powered Kabuki mask, earbuds that can translate 40 languages in real time, and Sony’s steps toward 3D selfies.

 

 

 

Vodafone Germany and Nokia built on Elon Musk’s announcement earlier this month by announcing plans to deliver the moon’s first 4G network.

4.pngVodafone’s Mission to the Moon Exhibit at Mobile World Congress 2018

 

Back on earth, T-Mobile announced plans to start building a 5G network in 2018. Initially, the company plans to connect four major cities to its 5G network with the intent to extend the network to 30 cities later this year.

 

There was also a lot of chatter around e-commerce at the show, including Rakuten planning the launch of its own cryptocurrency, Intel showing off a 5G electric vehicle that can make payments on its own, and rings and bracelets that let people make secure payments with a tap.

 

5.pngIntel at Mobile World Congress 2018

 

Future Tech Leaders Take the Stage

 

The show’s 4 Years From Now (4YFN) event showcased the startups behind the next wave of innovation. Unilever’s vice president of global marketing made a public commitment to increase the number of female-founded startups the company invests in. Right now, just 23 percent of its investment goes to female-led businesses, and it wants this figure to be 50 percent by 2023.

 

Women4Tech offered a chance to understand and explore how empowering women in the tech and mobile industry can transform the way business operates. To expand on this, our Women’s Leadership Forum at NIWeek will give attendees the opportunity to hear from female executives and thought leaders.

 

Innovations Powered by 5G

 

The conference featured countless releases and impressive technology, which makes it nearly impossible to capture everything. But some of our favorites included an emerging 2D material that enhances existing solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and manufacturers who are experimenting with the possibility of self-driving smart cars.

 

What’s most exciting to think about, however, is how 5G can help make these things a reality and the role we can play to enhance what wireless technology does for us. Now that there’s a set of specifications to work with, we expect to see rapid development in 5G applications over the next year.

 

We’re sad to say goodbye to Barcelona, but we’re eager to see what awaits us at MWC 19. What are your predictions for the future of technology?

 

See our announcements from MWC 2018 >>