Another Mobile World Congress has been and gone – and for Mubaloo, it was an unquestionable success. Besides sharing the stage with some of the industry’s biggest names at our voice tech panel, we relished the opportunity to hear all about the past, present and future of the mobile and broader tech industry.
The theme for 2019 was Intelligent Connectivity. We heard from the innovators, the leaders and the challengers in a world where every company is now a technology business – and where the customer is driving the change.
Here’s our round-up of this year’s event.
The Immersive Content keynote got the event off to a flying start. Speakers from HTC, Vimeo and the Universal Group shared their thoughts on the changing role of digital. Following some incredible storytelling, based around ideas on the intersection between technology, experience and content, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud discussed her brand’s positioning as a business enabler.
HTC and the human experience
HTC chief Cher Wang worked on the development of one of the world’s earliest smartphones way back in 1997. At MWC 2019, she presented a responsible and accessible reflection on the role of technology. The eagerly-anticipated 5G will be the air we breathe; AR and VR serve as our senses, artificial intelligence the brain, and blockchain the DNA. We loved this merging of natural and artificial – and the reference to our responsibility to ensure the relationship stays safe and beneficial.
Augmented and virtual reality devices are closing in on mainstream adoption, which is why Cher feels the need for humanity, technology and imagination to come closer together. Developers must use tech for good and improve the human experience at every opportunity – something Mubaloo feels very passionately about.
Niantic’s global takeover
Also at the Immersive Content session, Niantic CTO Phil Keslin talked about the potential real-world applications for gaming technologies. As the developer of mobile gaming phenomenon Pokémon Go, Niantic unlocked the door for businesses to think about how they could forego traditional media advertising, in favour of immersive experiences for their users.
Also represented at the Edge Computing session, VP Growth Omar Téllez talked about the importance of building a real-world community around a digital experience. Pokémon Go promotes the importance of getting active both physically and socially in the community, using the transformative in-game experience. Tellez believes that similar approaches can work across every demographic. He highlighted the importance of a capable 5G infrastructure which would enable businesses to reach out to more people with content.
The second day in Barcelona kicked off with a conference that highlighted the importance of a connected experience for users. Intelligent Connectivity: The Great Enabler featured a series of keynote speakers from fields as diverse as smart cities, sports, and automobiles. It was also the day where our own Gemma Coles took to the stage for a conversation with industry leaders about the potential of voice tech.
The motoring merge
Motoring giants BMW and Daimler have announced a partnership to realise the future of cars. Senior figures from the partnership appeared onstage to share their views on driverless technology and mobility services.
Their discussion centred around the challenges of getting people from A to B like traffic congestion, and the promotion of alternatives like ridesharing. With the likes of Uber and Alphabet shaking up the automotive industry, the car-making giants are entering a new era of co-operation and innovation.
Bigger businesses have the huge advantage of scale over these relative startups – which is why it makes sense for partnerships like BMW/Daimler to work together on the next generation of automobiles. Even with the scale, it takes some laser-sharp focus when targeting a customer base whose attitudes to a four-wheeled lifestyle are changing.
Understanding your customer
Similar sentiments were shared at Keynote 6, where intelligently-connected experiences were the order of the day. Senior execs from Niantic, Citi and Groupon were part of a panel that discussed the need to deliver the best user experience possible for mobile.
James Forese, President of Citi, warned of the importance of not creating a divide between the tech haves and have-nots. ‘Inclusive finance’ is what he called Citi’s social responsibility to drive inclusion and intelligently connect customers for accessibility and adoption.
Groupon’s CEO Rich Williams credits the company’s foresight for smartphone disruption with its survival. Their relentless commitment to UX – rather than, say, tying in with search – was instrumental. Groupon understood that its visitors would arrive through Google and didn’t try to upset the apple cart.
Our final day in Barcelona came all too soon, as Mubaloo attended a Retail & Digital Commerce Tour of the city, which focused on the latest developments in digital commerce in four key areas:
ID scanning is a big part of hospitality, events management and retail. On the tour we saw several developments which will make this task easier and faster – including breakthroughs in biometrics, signatures and facial recognition. Idemia’s Arena Experience showed off a number of automated systems, including food orders, seating guides and ticket sales, all powered by RFID tech. Seeing them together under one roof showed the potential for transformation of big events.
Here, the focus was on chatbots, which are already enhancing the user experience and saving businesses on costs with integration of payments, customer enquiries and reviews. Support staff working remotely also saves on overheads and promotes flexible, freelance working. We saw an emergence in conversational platforms that combines all this into one user-friendly experience while drawing useful insights from multiple data streams.
VR traditionally has a large presence at MWC, but this year it was everywhere.In addition to this year’s batch of enhanced headsets and other hardware, there was notably a wide range of enterprise applications. We looked in on a Hololens demonstration as it simulated a surgical procedure – just one of the many examples of VR proving more than capable in recreating real-life scenarios for training purposes.
Engagement / messaging platforms
Our friends at Urban Airship, the largest engagement platform in the world, are continuing to do some amazing work. In partnership with Accengage, UA is expanding its presence across more European locations to deliver personalised notifications to customers – on behalf of the biggest brands. As mobile specialists ourselves, we understand the importance and difficulty of targeting an audience. Which is why their work continues to wow us. By partnering with Accengage, they’ve got the kind of insight and data to make the process even smoother.
The 2019 Mobile World Congress proved to be as relevant and valuable as ever for Mubaloo – we were proud to share our thoughts on the voice tech revolution alongside a distinguished panel of speakers. Want to know more? Visit our MWC microsite, and find out more about the voice tech session.