|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|March 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT||
Catch up with all the news from Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC) by reading part one of this series.
At the recent Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC) in Barcelona, we heard operators and vendors discuss the future of mobile network connectivity around the globe. While we look forward to new updates on this subject (and updates from these major players), the conference was also ripe with examples of how mobile technology is driving other areas of innovation. In our second blog of this series, we'll explore this impact on the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), financial transactions and personal devices.
5G and the IoT
The next major shift in the mobile industry will be 5G, which is shorthand for the fifth generation of networks and promises more of everything users are expecting from 4G, but faster: ultrafast speeds for downloads, higher data capacity, fewer delays and broader, denser geographic coverage.
With much of the world's mobile usage consuming the lower frequencies of the spectrum, what remains is a higher frequency spectrum that can carry traffic over shorter distances. The biggest untapped opportunity for this spectrum is best realized when many small, connected devices operate in close proximity. A driver for 5G is the Internet of Things, ranging from connected cars to real-time navigation to industrial machinery that can be monitored remotely to a growing number of connected things in the home.
Simple, secure digital transactions
The global convergence of physical and digital worlds is dramatically changing how we interact with families, friends and the physical world around us. With this shift comes a seismic change in how we pay for things. At MWC, industry veterans focused their efforts on driving mobile payment ubiquity while new players also entered the market. Services such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay promise to create safer and richer experiences for consumers and enable users to make payments efficiently, simply and quickly. Increasingly, customers want choices for how they pay, whether a transaction takes place in-store, through an app or online, and without losing any of the security or benefits available in the physical world.
MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga discussed in his MWC keynote how the explosion of mobile devices extends opportunities for financial inclusion to the 2.5 billion unbanked around the world. Creating better and safer experiences, made possible by the devices people already use to communicate with friends and relatives, spurs global economic and business growth. It also helps governments become more efficient in their distribution of benefits and crime reduction.
Smart technology and smarter phones
Samsung introduced slim, glass bodies for its new mobile phones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The newest models are made of glass and aluminum, and the S6 Edge sports a curved screen that wraps around the phone's sides. Beyond being nice looking, the S6 Edge's design also includes new features such as an LED display upgrade claimed to be the world's highest resolution. Users can also attach the phones directly to the Gear VR, which can transport users to a virtual world.
These days almost everyone in the developed world has a smartphone. They are so commonplace that even our grandparents carry their iPhone proudly - people who swore they'd never carry a phone anywhere, can't leave home without it. Most of what you see on the smartphone form factor is similar across manufacturers and the focus has shifted from form factor experimentation to packing phones with a mind numbing list of specs, applications and a better user experience. But, how much can you differentiate on software or features to change the experience for the user? IoT provides the answer as smartphones become the glue bringing cheap tech together. A modern smartphone comes equipped with up to 10 sensors, designed to automate the home, work and life. Collectively these sensors produce vast amounts of structured and unstructured data made possible through storage and communications built into a smart phone.
While we always expect the latest unveiling of mobile devices from vendors like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, the emphasis at MWC was on how every connected device, whether it is an infotainment dashboard, home monitoring device or smart transport system, can be turned into a commerce platform across a range of industries.
One of the major drivers for this mobile expansion is the prevalence of IoT and cloud technology. In our next blog, we'll explore how these themes permeated the MWC, and what developments we can expect from each industry.
Learn more about how IoT will impact every aspect of industry and society in our #IoTuesday chat highlights slideshow.
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