Away from all the new devices and tech wares on display, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona provided some clear trends as to where mobility and technology is heading and how people's behaviours will change as a result. The force behind this is indeed velocity - the tech industry is converging and moving fast in a particular direction.
Two key shifts are taking place in the mobility industry.
First, the industry is moving towards connecting things from connecting people. Everything from your house to your car to your bicycle to your clothes to your pets will be connected. Today, 99% of such things are not connected and people-to-people connections only form 10% of all possible connections. As more "things" get connected, people will be able to get these "things" to do whatever they want them to do and provide relevant, timely and vital information.
Second, the industry is moving towards enabling people to share entire experiences from just text or audio or video. People will be able to immerse themselves in other people's experiences without having to be there physically in person. We will be able to experience our children's wedding celebrations to our grandchildren's first baby steps to our neighbour's vacations without needing to be physically present during those occasions or events.
So Internet of Things and Virtual Reality were the topics du jour at the MWC this year.
Given the above, we saw three other big topics being discussed at the seminars and keynotes.
5G was a big theme as we would need bigger and faster connections in order to connect things and be able to share full 360 experiences, especially when we would want to be able to do so live and in real time.
Modulation was another big theme this year. To be able to leverage the best in technology, devices would need to be modular and inter-operable with other devices. This allows speed in development and go-to-market implementation of different technologies in specific areas that work seamlessly with other devices and tech being introduced simultaneously.
Lastly, there were some discussions around data. With significantly more and complicated connections come a disproportionately higher volume of data to synthesise and action meaningfully. We will need to be able to use this data in conjunction with over-the-top data sets from partners or 3rd parities (without the need of having to actually combine them) to extract benefits.
Benefits or ROIs will be extracted if we are able to understand people's journeys, drive personalisation and make predications. In that world, context trumps segmentation as segmentation is hindsight and not predictive.
Rajesh Mahtani is head, growth and product, Starcom Mediavest Group SEAPAC