Bill Gates once said that “Development and adoption of new technologies is usually slower than we expect, but when it happens it’s faster and the impact is much greater than we could ever have imagined.” (loosely quoted).
Expectations have been set extremely high on the impact of AI, VR/AR, IoT, 5G and in particular automation, but current experiences and roadmaps don’t live up to the hype. MWC 2017 provided a somewhat sobering picture of the current state of the market as well as the vision and future impact.
Here’s a quick summary on the big trends and insights from MWC based on hundreds of interviews, tours, presentations and announcements:
No big news other than that Nokia and Blackberry are back, Sony launched an amazing camera phone that few people will buy and Chinese manufacturers (Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Oppo, etc.) have very strong portfolios.
Industry leaders spoke about the importance of meeting traffic and speed demands, success of pre-standard trials, how great 5G will be, radio spectrum needs, the services that will be enabled and that we are still three years away from large scale commercial rollouts.
Growing demand across all industries, 200+ technology suppliers with some leaders such as Telit, Eseye, Aeris, Jasper and Fujitsu. First implementations of the LoRa Alliance standard and ten times higher number of real cases studies versus 2016.
4. AI & Machine Learning
Many exhibitors claim they do AI, but few truly do because it is complex and takes time. However, this is changing fast thanks to cloud platforms (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Ayasdi, Sift Science, etc.). TechSee’s Augmented Vision provided a great example of the process.
5. Conversational Interfaces
Automated voice and text communication powered by AI/NLP is really complicated and Alexa is the only widely supported solution followed by Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung Vive and MindMeld.
Amazing showcases by HTC, Samsung and others but few people are buying the devices so far whereas AR/Mixed Reality devices such as Microsoft Hololens and Vuzix now live up to expectations with growing enterprise demand.
Mobile technology is transforming the car industry by improving security and safety, enabling new business models, integrating payments and enhancing the customer experience with several announcements to support Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana voice interfaces.
For most companies this means you need to keep a very close eye on what’s going on, invest in the use cases and technologies that solve problems for your business today and be ready to invest when the serious disruption takes off.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will do a deep-dive into the key trends and insights in IoT, AI/Machine Learning, VR/AR and Automotive based on this year’s MWC and CES together with our own ongoing research and work.
Magnus Jern, Chief Innovation Officer