Society-changing tech at MWC that you probably missed

Luke Peters, our Head of Content & Social Media, gives us the highlights of Mobile World Congress 2018. Specifically, how 5G and the internet of things are, finally, about to change the way we live and work.

Luke Peters, our Head of Content & Social Media, gives us the highlights of Mobile World Congress 2018. Specifically, how 5G and the internet of things are, finally, about to change the way we live and work.

I’ve been making the annual MWC pilgrimage to Barcelona for almost a decade. Back in 2009, I marvelled at how MySpace, continued to recruit 250k people a day to its “social network” and how TV on your mobile was about to become “a thing”.

And while column inches continue to be gobbled up by smart, shiny, banana-shaped hardware and weird mobile tech – Selfieccino, anyone? – this year’s thematic undercurrent was the stuff you couldn’t see but has the real potential to change how we live.

Felt but not seen

Ok, we’ve been talking about the potential of 5G, IoT, its applications and the fourth industrial revolution for a while. 2018 is when the floodgates of progress will really be opened.

Later this year, the UK’s 5G spectrum auction will take place. Once battles are won and deals are done, manufacturers will be able to plan and roll out their creations to businesses and consumers.

And MWC was littered with the potential. Whether a smartphone “driving” a car (kind of), Massive MIMO Smart Cities, or low-latency 5G technology appearing on the operating table to transform healthcare, there’s a plethora of new opportunity waiting to be unleashed.

There’s a strong claim for the this ‘unseen’ technology creating an even more connected form of digital citizenship. Tata Communications’ Matt Sykes said:

“We enable enterprises, people, and things to be born connected. Without the boundaries of traditional networks, Tata Communications MOVE makes it possible for enterprises to achieve borderless growth. Putting their connected devices into the hands of customers ready to go.”

Will 5G change the way we behave, communicate and interact? Speaking at MWC, Huawei’s Qiu Xuefeng agrees: “…4G changed life and 5G will change society. It will provide more than 15Gbit/s per user; ensuring excellent AR and VR applications.”

So what does this mean for us and our industry? Clearly there’s a seismic shift on the horizon. Whether that’s being primed for disruptive technologies such as mixed reality, or building your next emoji-led social media campaign; with more people, things and places being able to talk to each other, our marketing communication efforts will need to follow suit.

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