Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC) gets underway next week. If for some reason you haven't been following MWC since it moved to Barcelona, Spain in 2006 and really took off, it is the absolute rival to CES, and may well eclipse the Vegas CE show before long.
Not just for phones
MWC is not only set to be the biggest mobile event this year, it will continue to see the expanded understanding of what mobile devices are and for what purposes they are used, much as we've seen done over the last couple of years. Just as CES has recently seen the arrival of the leading automotive OEMs, MWC has equally showcased the largest mobile CE device. Major auto OEMs are set to highlight the latest mobile technology that is suited for in-vehicle, infotainment, applications. This year there is even a special, all-day session devoted to the Connected Car with a focus on application development for in-vehicle use.
But the auto space is not the only major industry vertical to see a growing MWC presence. Perhaps the fastest growing mobile sector is mobile health and fitness. Not only is the health and fitness market sharing space with automotive at MWC under the Embedded Mobile Devices Pavilion area in Hall 7, it also has a dedicated space in Hall 7, the Mobile Health Pavilion. With impressive demand and growth forecasts, the wearable medical electronics sector is holding the attention of many in the industry as the next great wave of CE devices, particularly for personal health and fitness as well as various remote, non-invasive, monitoring devices. The success and popularity of this critical sector for continued semi and tech growth rests on mobile security, sophisticated applications and architectures.
How long have we been talking about and waiting for NFC to hit? This year's MWC will continue to address the challenges and opportunities for NFC and mobile banking services. While some applications for personal banking via smartphones have been taking off over the past year (e.g., check deposit via picture), we still don't have the floodgates bursting as we are seeing with mobile health and fitness devices and applications.
Putting it together: The Connected City
An interesting feature of this year’s MWC is GSMA's Connected City exhibit which will open Monday, February 25. In this certain to amaze exhibit, GSMA, along with many partners including the US' AT&T, will present a real city street that allows visitors to experience, first-hand, what is envisioned when full, seamless connectivity is enabled. As GSMA announced:
[T]he Connected City will feature a complete urban environment, including a town hall, department store, apartment, electrical store, hotel, cafe and lounge, office, a car showroom and a street. Each area will be filled with new products and experiences showing how a more connected future – powered by mobile – will improve people's daily lives across automotive, education, health, homes, retail and more.
Michael O'Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA said: "The Connected City demonstrates how mobile is already enhancing businesses and societies around the world. The progress of connected devices and machine-to-machine communications will be hot topics at Mobile World Congress 2013 and the city will inspire all of us, across many industries, to recognise [sic] the potential of pervasive mobile connectivity to impact our lives. The possibilities of a truly connected world are limited only by our imagination."
By 2020, there will be 25 billion connected devices, and at least half will be connected by mobile technology. At the Connected City, visitors can explore how this growth will impact vertical industries and the significance of fostering strategic partnerships to take advantage of this growing market.
Ready for MWC to begin? We are!