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EDITORIAL What to look out for at Mobile World Congress 2019

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It’s that time of year again – the entire mobile industry (including all peripherals from smart clothing to antennae makers) is on its way to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the annual get together and hopefully this year some sunshine. So what is on the telemedia agenda?

While the show is so huge it is very hard to find anything, some of the key themes that telemedia executives should be on the look-out for this year cover a multitude of bases. While we have covered off some of them in the news this week, here are some thoughts on what offers some interesting opportunities for the industry, perhaps from the left field, some from the mainstream.

Payments

Payments are always interesting – it is how we get the money that we make after all. It also offers some insights into how to service consumers around payments to deliver a more attractive proposition to brands.

Cryptocurrencies – which rely on eWallet technology to access the blockchain – are still on the fringe of things, but slowly will start to become something that both brands and consumers can no longer ignore.

For merchants, cryptocurrencies offer some distinct advantages: transactions are fast, but they are also cheap. Having no trusted third-party banks or card processors sitting between the merchant and the customer means that costs can be as much as 100thof the cost of a card transaction.

Sure, there are volatility issues, but cashing out regularly – every 8 hours or so – can mitigate this. It adds to the cost but still makes it much more attractive.

Meanwhile, PSD2 and the open banking world it promises is also coming to bear, offering new ways for people to pay. On the carrier billing front, PSD2 offers to take charge to mobile into the mainstream – and we expect to see and here more all over MWC this year – but it also shifts other ways of paying.

The upshot is that payments should just be easier.

RCS and messaging

Once again RCS – rich communications services, the next generation of text if Google has its way – are also going to be the toast of MWC. Just like last year.

RCS has had a difficult time. On paper SMS is ripe to be undated and upgraded and RCS looks like it should be the revamp that text needs. However, here we are several years since its launch and it is still nowhere near mass adoption.

The trouble is that SMS works… everywhere. People are used to it, it does what it is supposed to do and everyone trusts it.

RCS, meanwhile, is up against some stiff competition from OTT messaging, push messaging and apps.

Maybe this year we will see what may yet make RCS a great play.

Value-added services

While RCS may get the headlines, the unsung hero of the halls at MWC is likely to be SMS. For telemedia players SMS is getting a new lease of life as it is the fall back technology that underpins how many OTT messages are delivered on a wider scale.

The opportunities around things like voice-commerce and m2m and a2p messaging are myriad. On the surface they offer telemedia companies the platforms on which to create new services and new forms of engagement.

But scratch that surface and you see the much more lucrative opportunity of using SMS and established infrastructure and technology to deliver the message, content and interaction afforded by these new platforms.

So, as messaging grows, so too does telemedia value added services.

5G is coming

5G networks are going to be a huge theme for MWC this year. The tech is in place and trials are underway – now we get to hear (and see) all the things it can deliver. In fact, days before MWC kicks off, Vodafone has demonstrated 5G connection to a smartphone for the first time.

Juniper Networks, an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will participate in this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to demonstrate how service providers can take advantage of its world-class engineering and innovation to help tame today’s growing complexity and concerns associated with the major transformation to a 5G-ready network.

On its stand in Hall 2, 2I60/2J61, Juniper’s subject matter experts will guide visitors on how to immediately start implementing the right foundational architecture to reap the benefits of new business opportunities created by 5G, IoT and the cloud.

Cloud services are also at the core of how telcos are going to deliver core servicesto their customers too. 5G will help drive that, but it marks a much wider shift towards the cloud being the core of what we do.

Similarly, smart cities – and smart clothing – are all going to be reliant on cloud and 5G services. Once 5G is in place, the range of how consumers can interact with brands, content and the environment is going to explode. MWC19 is going to offer the first true insights into how that may pan out.

 

 

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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