Trend watch: Søren Haubold on Mobile World Congress 2019
Interview with Søren Haubold, G+D Mobile Security Market Intelligence and Strategy, about his views on this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and how the key trends featured could impact G+D Mobile Security’s business
Q: For those of us that are not familiar with the annual Mobile World Congress, why is the event so important for G+D Mobile Security?
Each year, the MWC is the largest mobile event in the world. Not only does it have a huge reach with more than 107,000 visitors from approximately 205 countries and over 2,400 exhibitors, but it also has an extremely high level of international C‐level attention. Due to this level of attention, major developments are often revealed here for the first time and the biggest trends are discussed across industries.
Q: Speaking of trends – any surprises this year?
Not really surprises, more — confirmation that we are heading in the right direction: This year’s MWC showed that 5G is the most widely discussed topic across all industries – the race for readiness has truly begun! Almost 20 MNO’s announced their 5G ‘go‐lives’, with Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei positioning themselves as frontrunners in regard to 5G related developments. Qualcomm and Huawei presented their commercial 5G chips, which are already being used in devices. These chips support data rates of up to 10Gbps (compared to a max of only 600Mbps with 4G).
Q: How ready are people for 5G?
That question does not have a simple answer. On one hand, the industry hasn’t really come up with any particularly appealing consumer use cases – ask yourself: is the faster streaming of YouTube videos really the ultimate of what we can do or will multiplayer games with 4k video streaming be adopted by the mass market? Now, take into account that 80% of operators’ revenues stem from their classic consumer related business. Put simply, it will be extremely challenging for operators to find proven ROI, where their high investment costs for 5G will be covered (GSMA predicts 2,7 trillion US$ until 2020).
On the other hand, there are some clear examples of readiness for 5G, for instance — IoT use cases. Ericsson demonstrated this with their mining, robotics or remote plant maintenance examples. Therefore, I can definitely confirm that 5G will change the game for IoT as it is fast, reliable and offers extremely low‐latencies.
There are some clear examples of readiness for 5G
Q: Can the 5G trend be an opportunity for G+D Mobile Security?
Yes! – we can link this to another trend we saw evolving at MWC this year was the rising importance of security matters. With high‐profile security breaches catching media attention, this is somewhat unsurprising – however, discussions around 5G really bring security concerns into focus. Security in 5G and for the IoT is becoming an important matter, to operators and ecosystem players, as they see the stability of the security chain in cellular networks at risk. This is due to rapid inconsistent implementations and the arrival of new players who will provide insufficient security enclaves that are fully or partly based on software only (if at all!). At G+D MS we should take on the responsibility to improve or at least sustain the high levels of security that we have managed to maintain over the last 30 years since the start of 2G networks.
Q: Apart from 5G, what other findings can you share with us?
A lot of automotive brands were present again, including BMW, Volkswagen, Seat and Daimler with their own booths and Audi, Volvo, Fiat or Renault with partners’ booths. Their main discussions concerned connectivity, advanced user experiences (full digital and connected HMIs), urban mobility and futuristic design studies of autonomous cars.
Daimler, BMW, VW and others announced cooperation in important matters either among each other or with major market players from other industries such as Microsoft, IBM or AT&T.
In addition, it is with some pride that we saw eSIM being one of the top ‘talking‐points’ at the congress. For me, this is a sign of a maturing market that no longer obsesses over extravagant products or sensational presentations. Instead, we might witness a shift towards social funds and responsibility as well as environmental protection initiatives where high‐end premium phones and services will finance the introduction of the next billion users into the digital age – a true mindset shift! Or, as Samsung Mobile CEO Mr. DJ Koh stated, we will evolve from being “a world’s first to offering relevant and valuable experiences instead.”
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