This year everything was about the Internet of Things! Every second company at MWC 2015 had a main pitch which included the Internet of things. In traditional telecom companies like Ericsson, ST and so on the main theme is Internet of things or a variant of that. So I will not talk about that here :-)!
At MWC this year I would like to highlight three important trends that I have seen during my visit, which I also guided a group of VIP clients to during one of the days. For me they are
- The mobile ecosystem 2.0
- Next generation maker movement / prototyping
- The IoT standard mess continues
I will below explain why they are important and also give some examples of products and companies in each trend.
The mobile ecosystem 2.0
The apps and services on the mobiles have been around for a long time but they moved from early adopters to mass market with the help of Apple's AppStore in 2008 where they also slowly become the most important value proposition for a mobile with "there is an app for that" slogan. The availability of apps are also one of the biggest barriers for the new mobile OS’s when they try to enter the market.
Now the next phase has begun and it will becoming really big, which is where hardware accessories are building their existence on the mobile in center creating new values. Here we of course have the wearables like fitness bands, smartwatches, different eyewear’s like Sony SmartEyeglass and Sony Clip-on with an Enterprise focus from the beginning like Google Glass has pivot to. But it does not stop with that because we also have companies like FLIR ONE which build a heat camera which you plug into your smartphone and with that can deliver the heat camera function at a very competitive price but they can also give new possibilities with developer programs where you can create your own custom applications combining functions in the smartphone and the assessor.
The common strength is that they all supply SDK's and developer programs where you can develop apps and services tailored for you need, either as custom for your company or a new commercial service and doing this by combining smartphone, cloud and accessory functions in new ways. This is for me something extremely powerful and we should all use it to our advantage in our daily business to disrupt how we do things.
Next generation maker movement / prototyping
There are quotes like "Hardware is becoming more like software" and "software is eating the world" and these quotes are becoming truer for every day. We have had Raspberry pi’s and Arduino’s for a while that makes prototyping with electronics, connectivity and internet of things very easy. Anyone can build something connected at a low cost extremely quickly and combined with open source hardware and software there is large communities around the platforms which makes it possible to reuse what others have already done enabling a time to function at unprecedented speed.
This is now coming to the next level with Intel's Edison and Curir, two platforms which are extremely small and can be used both for prototyping and to build commercial products. But there is also companies like Thingsee spun out of the Nokia decline which has created a rugged device with 8 sensors and cellular/wifi/bluetooth connectivity including a one year battery. They enables plug and play start where you can send data from any equipment to their cloud and drag and drop function for your simple use cases. It is also possible to build your own functionality both on the devices and in the cloud. These platforms will speed up the prototyping even more and also work in commercial applications so they give you an improved time to market.
The ioT standard mess continues
This was a telecom fair so you defiantly have the telecom organizations which create standards like GSMA and OMA also doing that for IoT, but there was also Qualcomm's Allseen, Intel’s Open Interconnect Consortium but I missed the Thread group by Google and the likes of Industrial Internet Consortium by GE and Industry 4.0 from Germany.
However, this must not continue! I do not believe in one standard to rule them all but there must be fewer of them. This is a real obstacle to get a mass adoption of connected solutions today (for 56% in a recent study that is the top barrier even before security! The most horrible thing was when I talked to the people at OMA and asked them about how they viewed the other standard organizations, the guy I talked to did not even know they existed…. :-(
So if this was what I saw as the biggest trends at MWC this year there was also something I really missed:
- Security; in the post-Snowden era and after all IoT hacker attacks during 2014 like these, I was looking forward to see a real focus on this on MWC but it’s presence was very modest.
- Value from data with subjects like big data and analytics was also not in focus even though most companies doing connected solutions believe that the future new services will come from data.
So finally, it was a fantastic visit as always and we will continue to see more and more companies from other industries to visit and exhibit at MWC in the future!