Like the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has transcended its initial trade show positioning and crossed over to become an event that captures the public’s imagination. It’s an extravaganza of technology that makes your eyes and fingers go frantic, while your mind buzzes with excitement. But to get the true value of this show that stimulates just about every single one of your senses, you need to get the big picture. Therefore, here are the most salient points from this year’s edition.
Marketing on mobile
We live in a world where spraying a brand’s message is simply unacceptable. One-to-one marketing at scale is the key objective and with the developments in mobile programmatic and creative versioning, it is becoming more granular than ever. Alex Newman, head of mobile at OMD EMEA, warned that while data is abundant, all data brought to the table must be scrutinized as there is a lot of overpromising going on. From a contextual perspective, location data is by far the biggest advantage of mobile media as compared with other digital alternatives, with a particular focus on accuracy and timeliness. It was further reinforced that such micro efforts lead to stronger results as a whole.
AI and the power of voice
From the personal assistant in your phone (ie. Siri) to the developments of devices such as the Amazon Echo, people are increasingly able to avoid looking at screens or devices, instead speaking to them. With the constant improvements in the accuracy of voice AI platforms, their adoption will keep on growing thanks to the ease of use. Speaking is indeed easier than typing. Your ‘most personal assistant’ will develop exponentially and the opportunities for brands in that space will begin to materialize.
The evolution of the consumer-centric IOT devices
This year saw connected devices becoming increasingly useful. Visa showed a connected car that served as a payment gateway. This would make paying for your order at a McDonald’s drive-thru and for the fee in a metered zone a lot easier. Seamless payment is most definitely a trend and, according to CNET, provided there are transaction size controls people are less and less frightened about security and other risks. There were many more IOT devices showcasing how technology changes the status quo in products’ utility.
VR becomes very real
VR headsets are expected to be in every home within the next two years, a prediction far more aggressive than initially projected, making brand opportunities truly scalable. The adoption rate has certainly surpassed all expectations. Mark Zuckerberg believes in social VR and regards it as the evolution of video on social platforms, documenting moments like never before. He explained how his mother documented his own first steps by writing it in a book, while his sister took pictures of a child’s first walk and he very recently filmed the early days of his own child. Zuckerberg’s vision is that people will soon be able to create 360° videos and share them on social platforms instantly.
The impact of 5G on technological innovations
For innovations to keep on coming, Internet speeds will need to continuously increase. Hence, 5G will enable many innovations, like autonomous cars, IOT and even live VR at scale. To operate accurately and reliably, an autonomous car needs to be connected with a zero lag. In the near future, most homes will rely on 15 to 20 devices connected to the Internet, requiring high speeds for the experience to be valuable. Live VR will also be enhanced dramatically with 5G. While current Live VR rollouts have been compared with being courtside a basketball game, imagine watching live news and feeling like you are right then and there. Either way, it certainly defines a new way of consuming content that will truly revolutionize the broadcasting industry.
Events like the MWC make conceiving the future less of a distant dream, creating a “virtual reality” of sorts that captures the imagination. As technology transforms our lives, it also creates a host of new opportunities for brands to connect with people on a more immersive level. Hence, it’s time to get busy.