Once again, Barcelona has been the meeting point for the mobile industry in a new edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC). Once the emotion of the moment is behind us and we have assimilated the surprises, it is time to take away those ideas that need to be remembered.
With a year where perhaps, there were not as many spectacular new releases as in other years, the MWC 2018 has allowed us to understand which technologies have been consolidated and which have not. These are the 10 ideas to remember from the MWC 2018.
- Internet of Things (IoT). The first premise that needs to be quite clear is that absolutely everything is connected. In this virtuous circle, the Internet of things is the capacity to put sensors on any machine, tool or object. Sensors that collect data and send them to the cloud. From there, once received and analysed, actions are performed, or messages are sent to the rest of the network.
What is usually known as smart now already applies to anything we want: smart homes, smart cities, industry 4.0 or connected cars. We can even connect drugs to track if they are being taken correctly.
Now, if we start to put sensors everywhere, we’re going to get stuck in a funnel due to the maximum capacity of 4G. Whenever there are crowds of people, in a demonstration or major sporting event, the network saturates. The solution to this problem leads us to the second idea.
- 5G. 5G technology will allow us to perform a quantitative and qualitative jump ahead. It was one of the hot topics in the MWC and is past the speculation phase with the first tests being made. Many of these tests are been performed in Barcelona, a living laboratory of new applications.
The major advantages of 5G are its capacity and speed, allowing you to perform millions of connections per square metre much faster. But the most important thing is latency – the delay at which it arrives – that will be less than a millisecond. This response capacity, imperceptible to people, will have a significant impact on machines, which can work in real time on tasks such as maintenance of factories or medical operations.
- Big Data. If everything is connected at a higher speed and capacity, more data will be gathered. It is not an exaggeration to refer to data such as the new oil that feeds those able to segment consumers precisely. Any company with thousands of users generates Big Data (or should do so). Is this good or bad? It depends. It represents a great opportunity to get the information that you are really interested in.
The world of data, we must remember, also includes Dark Data, the information we store, and we do not use for lack of time or processing. Or Dirty Data, the wrong data (due to a lack of accuracy in replies in forms, for example), which represent a real headache. Not to mention Fake Data, which is dangerous given how fast any content can travel.
- Cyber-security. In this context, guaranteeing digital security is essential because whenever a data is transmitted, it can also be received. And, talking about security, we come to the fifth idea.
- Blockchain. This technology aims to become the benchmark in terms of network security. As its name suggests, it is based on the construction of open databases that are duplicated in each device.
It is an open language where everyone can contribute. All the information is stored in blocks, which bind to the previous one forming a chain. Each block has the identifier of the previous block and a time stamp. The block identifier is created, together with the data it contains.
Blockchain security is based on encryption where, although it could be cracked, any modifications made in any block of the chain would always be visible to all the users, given that any change would cause the chain to break.
- More power. Computers are becoming increasingly more powerful to process all the information generated. To make them even more powerful, however, chips are installed in smaller spaces. A trend that, due to physical limitations, will end the day that smaller chips (tunnel effect) cannot be made.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI). Technology’s exponential evolution has allowed machines to be very good at identifying patterns via the analysis of large amounts of data. Artificial Intelligence therefore needs Big Data. Or needed it.
We are beginning to see the ability to create machines capable of learning, simply following some basic rules. Up to now, we taught machines to do things the way we do them, but from now on machines can invent new ways of doing things for themselves.
- Everything is smart. There is nothing that is not susceptible of becoming smart. People too (smart people). We are all connected, either by cell phones or through breakthroughs such as graphene stickers on the skin or other types of implants such as evolved prosthetics or glasses. This new reality also implies new ways of interacting with machines, which leads us directly to the ninth idea.
- Virtual reality. This technology allows us to see things that are not there and is basically a training tool. We also have Augmented Reality, with which you can see what’s in front of you while offering more information to improve the experience.
Now, what is more, we have Mixed Reality, which combines both. You see what happens but things that are not there also appear. And the stuff that appears takes into account what is around it.
These new realities lead us to personal assistants, a place where all major players want to win and impose their version. And they want this because the assistant is what is between us and Internet; it will tell us which browser to use, what to look for or what to buy.
- IoT+AI = Intelligent things. If we combine Internet of Things with Artificial Intelligence we get Intelligent Things, such as robots, which have already been around for four generations. Or drones. Or autonomous cars. Everything is moving, everything is connected.