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15 Emerging Hot Topics from MWC16 Summer Research So Far

It’s been a crazy busy few weeks for the Content Team as we sink our teeth into research for the Mobile World Congress 2016 conference programme. The summer has seen us talking to a vast number and range of companies from across the ever broadening mobile ecosystem. Through these exchanges, some hot topics and trends are beginning to emerge. Here’s a quick sample of what we’ve heard so far….

  • The Internet of Things has seen phenomenal growth and is already bringing revenue increases to some enterprises, but there is still some crucial work to be done in effectively securing the IoT, ensuring appropriate connectivity to enable application needs and reducing complexity in application development.
  • Big data & analytics presents huge opportunities, now the challenge is how to use, manage & monetise responsibly.
  • Security is more important than ever and it cuts across every facet of the mobile experience, whether in the network, the plethora of new connected ‘things’ or in the enterprise.
  • Operators have a real opportunity to become digital services providers. Virtualising their networks and recognising the need for organisation wide business transformation and leadership from the top are crucial to this.
  • The lines between offline and online are rapidly disappearing with the emergence of contextual commerce & the convergence of mobile, social and commerce.
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality present some exciting opportunities with real dollar value, particularly as companies move away from campaign driven strategies, and realise alternative use cases.
  • As many operators face stable or declining revenues, they are on the hunt for new sources of revenue growth. Enterprise customers present a big opportunity if telcos can deliver a quality overall experience and move toward on-demand consumption with flexible offerings, better differentiation and better packages. Attention on the SME market is growing with more credible and affordable service offerings as operators’ look towards the cloud and more flexible OSS/BSS.
  • The ‘mobile value chain’ is disappearing rapidly as new forms of business relationship, new ways of competing and new ways of delivering value arise – creating fresh uncertainties and opportunities. Co-opetition is replacing traditional supplier-purchaser relationships.
  • More than ever before, perceived value is shifting away from goods towards services, whether in B2B, B2C or B2B2C markets.
  • Mobile networks are continuously under pressure to evolve. Front-runners among operators are starting to see the benefits of virtualisation not only in terms of cost saving but also service enablement.
  • 5G continues to be high on the hype curve but in the background moves to be ‘5G-ready’ are making strides among some operators.
  • WiFi in established markets proceeds to develop in ways that promise to enable stronger competition from unlicensed carriers; whether or not that promise is fulfilled remains to be seen depending on business case.
  • The disruption we see in the digital ecosystem finds its echoes in other industries such as retail, finance, automotive, media and logistics. Unbundling or combining services, products and activities opens up opportunities for new players, including from the IT/telco sphere.
  • Leadership is getting a new emphasis across the ecosystem; roles and responsibilities in the C-suite are under pressure to adapt to new business and technological realities. Siloes between business and technology-oriented business groups continue to dissolve under pressure to meet business objectives and grow profitability.
  • Traditional underpinnings to the digital ecosystem such as standards bodies, regulators, and test beds are under pressure to move faster or face declining relevance. A greater appetite and ability to ‘fail fast’ among first movers threatens to create a variety of de facto standards.

Pretty exciting stuff. We’re looking forward to seeing what other interesting themes emerge in our research. The challenge will be squeezing it all into a four day multi-track conference programme! Stay tuned for more on how we’re getting on with this in the coming weeks.