Each year Mobile World Congress (MWC) features a slew of announcements. Some have the life expectancy of a snowflake on the desert floor, but a few represent major shifts in the landscape, and develop into something of substance. Vendor follow-through provides a key indication of value – do returning vendors showcase actual progress on last year's promises (trials are good; commercial deployments are better), or do they parade something new and hope that analysts have forgotten last year's hype?
The background to the event is operators' need to do more with increased levels of connectivity as they battle to derive greater ROI in the face of cost pressures and revenue stagnation. To achieve this, operators need flexible and highly manageable networks, and Ovum expects SDN and NFV to move from slideware to reference cases. They also need more and better services, with broadcast LTE, VoLTE, and the integration of Big Data the most prominent, and they need more connections. We expect the Internet of Things (IoT) to create the major hype for the show, and enterprise-orientated applications and services to have a greater prominence, given that this is where revenue growth is most tangible.
Perhaps most importantly, we also hope to see long-overdue evidence that operators understand that they are just part of an ecosystem that will deliver the future communications landscape – they are not its entirety. We will be looking for examples of the operator as a partner, whether as an integrator in IoT, an enabler, or simply a connectivity provider. Elsewhere, we expect a number of announcements from enterprise mobility vendors looking to highlight their new app development and management capabilities. We also expect the same devices that dominated the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show to make their way to Barcelona for MWC and to grab many of the headlines.
Jeremy Green: Industry, communication, and broadband
“In terms of network operator strategy, we expect to see lots of emphasis on service development aimed at propping up the telcos’ top lines. As was the case last year, operators will be seeking to demonstrate that the Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity – including smart cities, connected cars, and connected consumer electronics devices – has significant upside potential for them, and that they still have a role as ringmaster and integrator for this type of service. Similarly, there will be talk about how VoLTE, at last being rolled out, will give them the ability to compete with over-the-top (OTT) communications services.”
Mike Sapien: Enterprise
“The Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise mobility solutions, and the various ecosystems within them, will continue to mature and, in many cases, consolidate. The industry seems to have moved past M2M and is now looking at IoT as the next big thing. Operators are starting to focus, picking more horizontal platform approaches and fewer vertical solutions, and building stronger, deeper partnerships and internal capabilities. Track and trace remains a strong horizontal focus for operators, while connected car solutions will feature heavily this year. There has been some consolidation in enterprise mobility, and there is more to come: trends in this area are fuelled by the transition to the cloud, and by IT services integration beyond traditional device management.”