Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018 concluded yesterday, with the clear message that 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) are key to our mobile future. The industry’s leading companies inspired us with a great many 5G-related demos and there was a real buzz about the upcoming shift, both on stage and in casual conversations around the halls.
With more than 60,000 attendees to impress, many companies were working hard to give us a taste of what 5G could soon mean in our daily lives. We particularly enjoyed trying out virtual football, but there was plenty more to see:
- HTC had a massive booth with a range of virtual sports and games besides football. The HTC Vive virtual reality system let visitors play baseball, practice their guitar skills and battle it out with light sabres.
- Philips provided VR headsets to let us move through a virtual world of Philips tech on our wrists and in public transport.
- China Unicom imagined 5G-enabled autonomous driving and AR holographic communications.
Connected cars were in the spotlight on day three in Shanghai. Speaking at the Future Vehicle Summit, Dennis Fu, Regional VP for APAC at Car Connectivity Consortium, confirmed that 5G will be a significant boost to car connectivity. But he cautioned that the fast pace of development in the sector is having a negative impact as players are failing to come together to agree on standards and interoperability. A common approach to vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-everything technology is vital.
Back out in the exhibition halls, VW and others showcased next-generation electric vehicles. China’s Byton showed a stunning concept car with advanced connectivity features, including a digital tablet built into the steering wheel.
Developments in financial services were also a focus of the day. Taking to the newly introduced Leader Stage, Ali Naseer, Chief Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Officer at Jazz, speculated that fintech innovation – especially blockchain and mobile payments – will force incumbents to adopt new technologies sooner rather than later. Consumer education is necessary, with illiteracy being a challenge for digital and mobile payment adoption in Jazz’s home market of Pakistan, alongside people’s security concerns.
With Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018 over, it’s time to mark our diaries for June 26-28, 2019, when the show returns to Shanghai once more. In the meantime, Mobile World Congress will be in Barcelona from February 25-28, 2019.