By Sanjay Macwan, CEO, integer1 LLC
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 is focusing on 8 core themes – each is a major theme in its own right, but collectively, they represent the most powerful technological and business advances and opportunities in recent history. Here is a quick summary of each of these themes:
The 4th Industrial Revolution: Automated Society powered by IoT (Internet of Things), or more like IoE (Internet of Everything). Taking contrarian inspiration from Newton’s law of motion, one might say, “Objects that are not connected will be connected, and objects that are already connected will be more connected”. When people from two generations beyond look back at this period they will marvel both at how primitive things were and how this 4th Industrial Revolution laid the foundations of their transformed living, working, and entertaining.
The Network: What is the real ROI of an increasingly complex and costly network? What is the ROI of exciting but still emerging technologies such as 5G, NFV, SDN and so on?
Content and Media: Technology-driven, technology-influenced relationships between content creators, distributors and consumers are much richer but are increasingly complex to manage. The rewards are significant for those who succeed. How do you succeed?
Applied AI: Even with all the hype around AI, what’s already being powered by AI is significant and real. Going forward the potential for disruption/innovation through AI seems limited only by human imagination. Unless, of course, AI itself begins to imagine new possibilities on its own. Scary and exciting all at the same time.
The Digital Customer: The digitally savvy customers now increasingly expect highly efficient (not always same as highly automated), intelligent, and personalized services from companies in all industries. How best to serve them?
Tech in Society: The technology is an integral part of any society and its social good and social services – including but not limited to governance, security, health, education, and environmental needs. What are ethical dilemmas and what is the best way to navigate for most good?
Future Services Provider: In the face of the 4th Industrial Revolution and other technological advances (5G, AI/Machine Learning, Digitization of society/enterprises), what do future service providers look like? Is the vertical integration (applications + infrastructure) the only way to growth and scale?
Innovation: a highly overused word in recent times and yet very relevant given continued advances in technologies that will continue to throw up some most unexpected ideas.
As one can see, across these eight themes, MWC 2018 will have a very rich content and demonstrations to offer. But I am most excited about two themes namely Content and Media, and Applied AI. It is especially exciting to combine these two themes and examine what’s already being done and begin to imagine what else is possible. Can AI write and create original and genuinely interesting/engaging content? In other words, is it possible for AI to have its own equivalent of Game of Thrones or JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame? That may seem far out yet, but how about AI that can understand and decipher the content – especially premium video content – as well as human consumers do? Through advances in computer vision and machine learning, exciting startups like Valossa are doing just that and in the process enabling range of use cases at scale that unlock significant rewards that the Content and Media theme that MWC 2018 is focusing on. On other end of the spectrum, In the face of growing video application on wireless networks (including emerging 4K/8K etc.), another exciting startup HECAS is delivering rich videos through wireless networks much more cost effectively without compromising the quality. And many more such AI-powered solutions for Content and Media space to look forward to at MWC 2018. I conclude this post just as I started by saying that video (content) and AI will permeate every bit, byte, and app at the MWC2018. Can’t wait to see it all unfold.