MWC Barcelona was back with a bang. After two years of uncertainty, it was great to see the industry back together and networking at this huge show. The skyrocketing demand for mobile connectivity is something that resonates with us even more today, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. That demand continues to grow to connect both individuals and businesses. The experience of being back at a show also reminded us of the importance of face-to-face meetings. Despite the rise of Zoom and Teams, they can’t be substituted.
Here are the key takeaways from the show.
5G and IoT
The real headline to take away from this year’s show was the fact that we’re no longer talking about 5G as a concept and has moved on from implementation to real life use cases. This was reinforced by the attendance of 5G users such as companies from the transportation sector and first responders who are already reaping the benefits. Utilizing 5G technologies such as network slicing enables telcos to offer customizable services for first responders and to benefit from significant improvements in speed, capacity and latency.
The transport and logistics sector also stands to gain a great deal from 5G with a truly connected supply chain where everything from the equipment used to manufacture a product to the vehicle that collects it right through to the store that sells it, are connected in real-time, driving up production and efficiency. IoT over satellite is a great solution for those areas that ae in hard-to-reach places or where terrestrial connectivity is not available.
Together with our IoT partner, HiSky, we had the opportunity to talk to satellite operators and service providers about the growth potential across a range of different markets and discussing the huge benefits that IoT can offer a business.
Focus on Ultra Rural Connectivity
Both Hispasat and Intelsat made announcements on ultra-rural connectivity solutions, reinforcing the need to achieve ubiquitous connectivity to the most remote places on the planet. Hispasat introduced a pilot project for remote, mountainous locations. Intelsat announced a project in Brazil where it will help extend sustainable connectivity to remote regions that are off the electricity grid.
At MWC there was also a slew of players from the tech sector that were keen to enter or strengthen their position in the private 5G market. Many enterprise vendors and solutions providers showcased their deployments of private cellular networks, private 5G networks to be exact – a signal that this ecosystem is maturing and expanding. It was clear that traditional enterprise vendors such as Microsoft, Dell and IBM are now moving into the telco arena, demonstrating their edge and cloud-based solutions. Both are viewed as key enablers in the scalability of 5G especially around automation solutions for 5G services applications and the orchestration of private 5G and LTE deployments.
The metaverse has increasingly become a talking point.
5G influencing life, the metaverse and everything
The metaverse has increasingly become a talking point. The future of AR (Augmented Reality) and its ability to reach users through the rollout of 5G prompted operators and other tech vendors to showcase and hype their VR-based simulations. A TIP (Telecom Infrastructure Project) panel session was dedicated to the discussion around enabling metaverse-ready networks, where Meta, along with Vodafone, Telefonica and Microsoft, speculated on what the metaverse will look like. It was made clear that 5G, Open RAN, edge cloud and private networks will all be required to deliver the full metaverse experience. What happens next remains to be seen.
A thriving sector
One thing that was evident throughout the entire show was the energy that reverberates through this sector. This was an opportunity for the telco and tech worlds to come together for the first time in a long time, to drive partnership and change, and the excitement was palpable. With so many young, creative minds and the drive to change the way in which we communicate, the possibilities are endless. Let’s see where it takes us next.