MWC 2016 - Life, the Universe and Everything

  • Wednesday, 24 February 2016 09:10
  • Written by  Alan Williams

Mobile is Everything. The Internet of Everything. Everything.
You can't fault the organisers of MWC16 for failing on the breathless hyperbole front, as you can see from the huge poster at the entrance to 9 halls of mobile delights. There's nothing wrong in thinking big, in my opinion, and the notion that every industry and endeavour is, today, being rethought with mobile technologies isn't so far from the truth, although I think that we'll look back in a few years and recognise that the word "mobile" in this context didn't just mean the devices and technologies we carry around (which is what most of the show is still about). It will probably be more about technology supporting you in most activities that you want it to without being intrusive.

The reason I say that is that the current black (mostly) slab of glass that we idolise so much is really just the current engagement point for many of the things we want or need to do. As contextual computing capability comes of age, and your persona, preferences and expectations follow you, computing agents (think Siri on steroids - perhaps a bit frightening) will potentially engage a suite of technologies that are (hopefully) less intrusive to help you do the things you want to do. We're seeing the emergence of some of those technologies now and those of us interested in Smart Health, Smart Cities and Smart Homes are starting to experiment with first-generations solutions that are paving the way for what will be come commonplace in the next ten years or so.

Dream Weavers
MWC16 has one pervasive theme through the whole exhibition and that's, of course, IoT. Most of the solutions are recent and the customers who are leading the way in have mostly done a "hero" solution. There are many absolutely great examples of projects but they're mostly trailblazers. Don't be frightened about being left behind quite yet. But keep watching the space.

I spent time with Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Telit and many others discussing how their end-to-end solutions are being achieved (from IoT device to business level outcomes) and in the main it's still a pretty specialist, hand crafted affair. Most of these companies are thinking big, though, in terms of how they are going to sell millions or billions of devices into the marketplace, but the platforms to harness them are still very raw.

In order to weave these technologies together into coherent solutions most companies will need access to a lot of expertise - the dream weavers of tomorrow's solutions. That's where I see BlinkMobile's mission - understanding what technologies are out there and then offering working examples of them as a rich pallet of harnessable hosted services from which solutions can be easily woven.

What's hot?
So, what got my attention? Sensors, readers, beacons, and positioning systems are everywhere. There's a lot of action in the IoT "edge node" space - the devices that sit in homes and offices that control and bring together the inputs from all of the IoT devices in their area and get them onto the internet. These are increasingly intelligent and this is where the big guys like Intel and Microsoft and most of the large phone vendors are making a lot of noise. There's a useful and insightful publication from Telit called their "Internet of Things Executive Handbook 2016" being given out (just google "telit internet of things executive handbook" to get it online). I'm enjoying using this to shape my thoughts.

I'm also excited by services that make user engagement easier. I spent some time with Systran who provide cloud-based translation (as used within the Samsung phones) and who have an easily harnessed API - I think we'll be talking more to them. This will be a theme for tomorrow's blog.

...and thanks for all the fish!
The British did what they do best at their pavillion late in the afternoon/evening. They ran a series of technical insights at the British Pavillion that were quirky, intelligent, interesting and entertaining and yet delivered with a minimum of fuss and fanfare. These sort of unhyped messages are refreshing after a day of glitz and glamour. And they served such nice tapas too. Thanks guys.

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