February 28th, 2017

Uncovering MWC17: Day 0 to 1

Mobile World Congress is on and the news stream is full of device announcements from the new and the old. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know (and what most people don’t know).

Artificial Intelligence

We predicted that every company would put AI in their marketing and they have. We also looked for companies that apply machine learning to their services and here are a few examples:

  • Image recognition – Fashwell, Catchoom and IDScan show great examples of how machine learning can be applied to improve image search and recognition.
  • Augmented vision – TechSee shows a promising technology to improve remote customer support for equipment/appliances.
  • Virtual Assistants – The clear leaders in this space both announced new devices; Google Assistant on LG G6 and Amazon Alexa on Huawei Mate 9 and Moto Z.
  • Translation – We checked out Mymanu and Waverly Labs, both working on live translation wireless airbuds. Babelfish anyone? Neither product is fully ready, but getting close.

In related news, Alphabet’s (Google) new AI is designed to remove hate speech but doesn’t understand what hate is yet.

AR/VR

Not too much new in this space, but lots of great use cases and demos.

  • HTC Vive continues to lead on experience and Samsung Gear VR now has a controller. The challenge as we see it is still that it’s such a big difference between the desktop-based VR equipment (Vive and Oculus) and mobile (Gear VR and Daydream) while expectations are very high.
  • Nokia Ozo is still the best top-end full VR camera and worth checking out.
  • Tried out the AR glasses by Vuzix which are a big improvement vs. Google Glass and an interesting product for the enterprise.
  • Tested, and keep on getting impressed by, Microsoft Hololens which leads the mixed reality space, although they call it holographic computing.
  • We also tested the VR products by polish Billon.pl (not exhibiting) and VR camera maker Tesseract (also not exhibiting) which were among the better ones.

Automotive

MWC is starting to look like a car exhibition with cars everywhere (and for a good reason). Cars are going through a mobile revolution with connectivity, security, autonomous driving, integrated payments, entertainment, and more. Some of the most impressive demos were Jaguar (Smart City) and Vodafone smart vehicles. But also Mercedes, Seat, BMW and many others. Several of the cars are now also powered by Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana. The future is closer.

Devices

There are 100 phone manufacturers at MWC and still some excitement despite the absence of Apple and the Samsung S8:

  • Nokia 3310 is back with Snake and everything else for $49 and I will get one. In related news, Nokia’s partner OMD also announced three new Android phones in the mid-range creatively named 6, 5 and 3.
  • Blackberry is alive and kicking through license manufacturer TLC with Mercury and KEYone (yes, with a physical keyboard for heavy communicators).
  • LG announced G6 and Sony Xperia XZ with an amazing camera and display.
  • On the airbud front, we were impressed by Swedish Airin who announced their second generation product which we believe is a big improvement compared to Apple’s product.
  • Hubble Connected shows two products with Amazon Alexa worth trying out including Moto VerveOnes and Hubble Hugo.
  • In the connected home space we looked at Yale (smart locks/security), HomeMatic and Ferguson, but the challenge is still the lack of real connected home standards.

And yes, there was lots of robots and drones in Hall 8…

In summary, a lot of exciting things happening in the machine learning space, VR/AR, automotive and devices even if the individual announcement didn’t stand out that much.

We will continue to cover and summarize the key trends and news from MWC17. Stay tuned!

Magnus Jern
Chief Innovation Officer

Tags: apple AR/VR automotive events machine learning Mobile world Congress MWC17 new device announcements. Samsung

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