And we’re off again. Mobile World Congress day 2 has been all about digital reinvention. Sessions focused on the need for continuous development and continued commitment to digital innovation. Some keynotes got a little warm and fuzzy, but some gave stern warnings. Autonomous mobility was a hot topic, with a focus on vehicle users (‘driver’ isn’t really the right word) with the likes of Daimler, BMW, Ford, and Peugeot showcasing their latest tech.
So here’s our insights from day two of MWC….
Despite initial wariness from the telco industry, Barcelona welcomed Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to deliver the keynote speech on the second day of the show. In a break from the tech-heavy narrative of MWC, Reed took a few teary-eyed moments to thank the Academy for awarding the Netflix backed Syria documentary White Helmet.
But Hastings was quickly back to business, offering an olive branch to telecom operators by stating that Netflix could deliver a quality experience to mobile phones without hogging bandwidth needed for other services.
Netflix is relying on these mobile networks to increase its audience and boost profits – especially since it’s expanding rapidly beyond its U.S. home base on bought and original content.
More future-gazing came from Ericsson’s new CEO, Borje Ekholm, who used the occasion to promote the opportunity of 5G; a market that could reach $1.23 billion by 2026 according to a new Ericsson study.
In other 5G keynote news, EU Digital Commissioner, Andrus Ansip promised to support 5G in Europe but admitted that the UK may not benefit from digital single market advantages and roaming.
Autonomous and connected vehicles are making a huge impact at MWC this year. Peugeot has sped to the forefront fairly quickly, unveiling its concept autonomous vehicle – Instinct – which has two self-driving modes and is connected to Samsung’s Artik Cloud offering.
It’s not just your big car manufacturers that are making noise at the conference though, with Roborace unveiling Robocar, the autonomous race car of the future. Made mainly of carbon fibre and powered by Nvidia’s drive PX2, the car can reach speeds of up to 200MPH (and it’s a pretty flashy design too).
Continuing with this theme, AT&T made another collaboration announcement yesterday; it will be working with the Bridge Alliance of mobile operators to promote connected cars in both Asia and Africa.
What’s the GSMA been up to?
Another packed, fun filled day threw up some new announcements but more importantly, it helped to make tech look a bit more ‘human’. Take the GSMA, for example, it launched its Humanitarian Connectivity Report, highlighting the mobile network operators who make the best efforts to support disaster preparedness and response activities around the world.
This inaugural report will become the baseline for measuring future progress in the years to come. All it was missing was Angelina Jolie and William Hague but companies praised for their efforts in 2016 included: Asiacell, Claro, CNT, Movistar Ecuador, Ncell, NTT Docomo, Turkcell and Zain.
Watch out for our wrap-up of day three tomorrow, as the show announcements come thick and fast.
Social media is weighed down with self-promotion and food complaints from MWC, but we particularly liked this video from yesterday; an AR teacup!
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January 21, 2021