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2014 in mobile: the buzz from Barcelona

2014 in mobile: the buzz from Barcelona

150 150 Britt Cooper

So another Mobile World Congress has come and gone, leaving a trail of trends and industry signals amongst the many product and carrier announcements. As ever with mobile tech events the elephant in the room is cellular data, and who’s going to pay for it all as new devices, services, connectivities and capabilities roll out.

Here is our list of the factors we think will impact your monthly corporate data bill. If not immediately, soon.

Wearable Tech

From the swish new Google Glasses, to bio-monitoring wristbands, to smartwatches like Pebble and the long rumoured ‘iWatch’, wearable tech looks set to make the jump beyond wealthy early adopters to the mainstream. If it makes the next big leap into the workplace, mobility managers will face a whole new category of mobile data challenges to manage.

Connected Cars

Parts of MWC looked like a car show room this year thanks to the launch of innovations like the Tesla Model S sedan, with its mobile-connected TV screen powered by Telefonica. For mobility managers the launch of Apple’s CarPlay (along with coming products for Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft) is the innovation that needs watching. In Apple’s case the service tethers to the user’s iPhone to offer notifications and voice command-driven calls and messaging, as well as media streaming services, app purchases and so on, from the dash.

The Internet of (mobile-connected) Things

Computerizing all sorts of otherwise mundane household goods—washing machines, refrigerators, thermostats, televisions — and then connecting them to the internet dominated a lot of the discussion in Barcelona. Carriers want to monetize the traffic and device/appliance manufacturers want to sell more services. For mobility managers the worry has to be ‘how much of this constant chatter between devices and owners is going to be directed through our employees’ smart phones?’ The internet of things could well become a major source of bill shock.

The smartphone is now your employees’ PC

In case there was any doubt, mobile devices have become such an extension of the laptops and desktops employees use at work, they need to be treated as such by mobility managers. With all their robust functionality, smartphones and tablets have become handheld computers with a largely unused voice function. Whether it’s explicit company policy or via the move to BYOD, staff now use their devices persistently for work and no play. With PC sales flat lining, the move from desktop to laptop to mobile is now all but complete.

Need a quick snapshot of this year’s event? Here are some other top take-aways from MCW2014, in an infographic.