With another Mobile World Congress just around the corner, we’ve put ears to the ground for what we think will be the significant industry innovations amongst the annual influx of device, carrier network and infrastructure announcements.

For us the key issues will be the security vulnerabilities that these new innovations present as well as the cost impact of high data consumption driven by increasingly robust devices and operating systems.

More wearables, more worries

Last year’s buzz will be this year’s full-on marketing assault as wearable developers continue to try and pry open the market for smart watches, health monitoring wristbands, fitness trackers and biometric jewellery. PriceWaterhouseCoopers says 21 per cent of US consumers already own a wearable device. Mobility managers will need to assess the risk of employees bringing these devices into the workplace.
While IT security is arguably pretty good at addressing threats that live outside the network, if wearables really gain traction, security tools will need to address a slew of new devices that are connected to internal networks.

A rapidly expanding IoT universe

Computerized or “smart” devices of all kinds will be a vested interest for many at Barcelona, with carriers looking to monetize new data traffic and device/appliance manufacturers wanting to sell more connected products. Mobility managers will be faced with skyrocketing cellular data costs, constant chatter between IoT devices and company smart phones as well as the security vulnerabilities within connected ecosystems. Gartner estimates 4.9 billion connected “things” will be in use by 2015 driving a significant requirement for enterprises to make connectivity between all their devices secure.

5G gets real

Which brings us to the a growing buzz around the idea of 5G (whatever it turns out to be) as a necessary cornerstone for the growth of IoT, as well as higher resolution streaming video services. Discussion around 5G will be more meaningful this year, with vendors telegraphing their 5G expertise and definitions loudly in Barcelona. For the mobile enterprise, 5G promises even better connectivity and user experience, but on the other hand, this superior connection paves the way for increased security risk as more data means a bigger threat vector.

Samsung’s Tizen and OS fragmentation

With Samsung actively pushing out smart TVs and smartwatches powered by its proprietary Tizen OS all around the globe, it’s fair to ask whether they’ll jettison Android in the near future. If so mobility managers could find themselves dealing with the management headaches of securing yet another mobile operating system. On the other hand, Tizen could prove to be more secure than Android, and as such eliminate a host of worries. On a related note, many enterprises are anticipating more information on Google’s impending release of Android Work API’s. Android Work has been compared to Samsung Knox and is expected to open up a broader set of capabilities to secure generic Android phones.

Driving more data consumption

Last year’s MWC looked like a dealer’s showroom with the launch of connected car innovations like the Tesla Model S sedan and Apple’s CarPlay dashboard UI. CarPlay tethers to the user’s iPhone to voice command-driven calls via Siri, notifications, and messaging – as well as media streaming services, app purchases and so on from the dash. That’s potentially even more cellular data moving through your sales team’s smart phones. We’ll be watching for more such innovations from the other smart phone manufacturers.

Because you’ve read this far …

Here’s one of the more outré predictions for MWC2015 making the round of the Interwebs: tiny wearable drones that take selfies, controlled by your smart phone. Move over selfie stick!