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It was time again. In Barcelona, the global mobile community met at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in order to present and discuss the latest smartphones, gadgets, business models, concepts and infrastructures.
Whereby: It is not solely community, because the times in which there were a sworn group of nerds and “mobilized” are gone. 101,000 visitors from 204 countries, watched by 3,600 members of the press. This is no longer a niche, here it’s about big business – about the future of the digital economy, which is largely driven by mobile trends and their big and small protagonists. Market leaders can no longer be permanently sure of their market position. Disruption is the key word, just at MWC. You can feel it clearly, everyone is on alert in order not to miss the next important step.
Mobile is everything. That was the very pertinent theme of this year’s fair. What pleases the mobilized, can be a little scary to the rest. Mobile is changing the world. This is also the tenor of numerous high-profile keynotes: Mark Zuckerberg, Sir Martin Sorrell, Brian Krzanich and many others speak of an all-encompassing sea change. And these dimensions are clearly on show at the fair. Solutions for mobility, healthcare, gaming and security, for jobs and payment systems and lifestyle were presented. In short: rather for all sectors.
Like at CES, in January in Las Vegas, Virtual Reality (VR) was omnipresent and a real crowd pleaser in Barcelona. The “Roller Coaster Ride” in Samsung’s Gear VR 4 D theatre was a must. This contrasted against the disappointing and somewhat careless VR appearance at LG with their VR goggles LG 360 VR, which was unfortunately extremely uncomfortable and out of focus and also the environment was not sealed off by their small size. The unmotivated “Cheerleader” with megaphone had apparently already tried it himself and was already disillusioned. Point at this point by the way again for Samsung and their presenters.
Also impressive are the new “Internet of Things” products: Like in Vegas this hot topic continues this trending in Barcelona. Our environment gets crosslinked. Whether we like it or not, it just happens. Perhaps we can decide how active we want to play part in it and if we want to shape this networked environment and regulate it if necessary. But it is clear that in the coming months more and more deals will emerge: Jewelry, more elegant Smart Watches, toothbrushes and maybe even clever garbage cans, as they were presented at the Telekom.
Related to the Internet of Things (IoT) is the Smart Home. Again, the journey continues and after the first prototypical years we can expect that in this area, there will be an enormous range of options to upgrade our living rooms with technology – for more convenience and more security. Due to the amount of new products, it is quite likely that the prices of new “standard” technologies, such as networked sockets, lights and heating thermostats will fall.
The “Rolling BOT”, a rolling robot from LG on the other hand is likely to remain a rarity in the near future. But there is at least one interesting area of application, if you believe the manufacturer: He will provide safety in your absence, by patrolling the apartment. And besides, in time he could even amuse the pets, so that they’re not bored.
In this light, the Smart Fridge by Samsung appears almost reasonable again. For about 5,000 dollars, he will be available in the USA in the near future. And MasterCard has developed a direct billing system so that I can order food smoothly and, therefore, supplies for the refrigerator and the family. Yes, that would be good.
And so that the (mobile) world turns even faster, the development of mobile networks and transmission speeds is being worked on. 5G was the ubiquitous keyword at MWC. The fifth generation mobile network is expected to reach one gigabit per second, so about ten times faster than LTE. The first prototypical approaches were presented at the fair, including the stand of the telecom or the South Korean SK telecom. Both are part of the recently formed international network alliance “ngena” which, from 2017, will offer cross-border mobile network services for business customers.
At the end only one thing was missing: Apple. Traditionally, one of the major players staged exclusively their own events. And many are panting after the previous guarantee of success. Particularly in the smartphone segment you want more (design) confidence rather than a uniform look. Samsung with the S7 Edge and the Gear 360 camera, but also for Sony or LG it is sometimes good to go their own way.
Now, what are the Learnings for the marketing world?
The new platforms of mobile service and interaction world must be played purposefully by brands and media. As in the “traditional” mobile marketing all new mobile gadgets and the IoT world have to be more value oriented. This requires clever concepts and tact, so we don’t overwhelm, intimidate or even annoy users. A careful handling concerning the contents is the new challenge, because in a market where everything is suddenly possible, everything will probably be tried out first.
And it requires new forms of organization to be able to rise to the challenges of the future. There have to be flexible, interdisciplinary as well as brand-, technology- and agency-overlapping dynamic teams, to work out the solutions. The times in which one part of the chain acts as sole knowledge holder are over. Therefor the market is moving too fast – too fast for one alone.
Mobile is everything. And Mobile is the time of collaboration. And that I am looking forward to it.
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