In a blur of tapas and Estrella, another Mobile World Congress has been and gone. The leaders of the mobile technology world have now left Barcelona and flown home, leaving a trail of roaming data a mile long and the anticipation of a much larger phone bill in the post.
MWC 2016 was a great success with many vendors showcasing their latest developments in mobile. Our very own Wandera team was in attendance, exhibiting from the stands of two of our partners: Deutsche Telekom and AirWatch.
The team showcased how we can secure enterprises’ sensitive mobile data; effectively control spiralling mobile data spend and deliver deep insights into how corporate mobile data is being used. The Wandera message is always very well received and the enthusiastic reception last week confirmed that customers are indeed still having trouble addressing these very issues around security, cost management and compliance.
I’m always amazed just how much innovation is out there and how some of the world’s largest companies want to be more involved in the mobility landscape. Not so long ago MWC was the place to buy your antennas or your cell towers. Apps and data security weren’t even a ‘thing’.
The adoption and change has been staggering. At MWC now, you can see the latest app development solutions and then you can go and meet the guys who make smartphone cases then turn a corner and see fashion labels that are now making watches that are smart in every sense of the word.
This year, my overarching thoughts are that The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to mature with pretty much every tech company or operator claiming early wins in the space. However, I do see a problem on the horizon relating to varying degrees of security being implemented around IoT and the knock on requirements needed as vendors aim to make IoT easy and cheap enough for mass adoption. How can you be sure a connected fridge has not been hacked and someone isn’t re-ordering champagne with your credit card? Or worse still, that those pet monitoring cameras aren’t streaming your day-to-day life to the dark-web?
It was also interesting this year that VR made a huge splash. Yes VR. Mark Zuckerburg at the Samsung keynote talking about the Gear VR and how Facebook wants to have the best VR playback platform. Vendors with their headsets were beguiling visitors with virtual tours sending screams of delight and amazement through the halls.
So beyond the obvious connection of ‘mobile’ vendors such as HTC or Samsung making the hardware – aren’t both IoT or VR more suited to a E3 or CEBIT conference? You’d probably think so except that of course all new ‘things’ require and have an ever-increasing hunger for data. Without data connectivity all they do is make you look silly or the phone beep in your pocket when the front door is opened.
We take it for granted now that our networks can provide the right level of data at the right price to support our new ‘things’ and that the data in the ether is secured.
Ladies and gentlemen – it’s all about to get even more challenging for us all.
Like me, you might be old enough to remember the thrill of a 230.4Kb AppleTalk network and a dial-up Bulletin Board service. And now you truly marvel at how you can watch HD video at the same time as getting email, ordering your groceries and video conferencing. Imagine all that in a VR world. Or more to the point imagine all the data bandwidth needed to run our new VR immersion experience, be it for work or entertainment.
This week I also I leaned more about LiFi which offers a interesting mix of super fast wireless connectivity and implicit local security by simply using light. Cool to think we might be able to beam data to devices using a bulb and that putting a device in your pocket would the equivalent of your mobile’s ‘flight mode’ setting.
And I don’t want to forget ‘passive Wi-Fi’, which has been developed and trialled by some clever chaps in the US, bringing super low power, wireless transmission to IOT and battery powered devices. Apparently it is 1,000 times less power than Bluetooth Low Energy, which will probably present a positioning issue for the BTLE guys.
Data, data, data – faster, larger and more requirements.
We already know some of our ‘things’ don’t always take proper care of our data so I guess we will have to be extra vigilant as we surge forward with the next generation of mobile solutions.