As we prepare to kick off this year’s MWC, there is one thing we should be quite clear about. Gone are those years when we focused on telephones or were interested in knowing the latest smart phone. In fact, this year’s slogan makes it crystal clear: Intelligent Connectivity. But how will people fit into this? Below, we highlight the 5 ideas to get connected to the MWC 2019.
- Internet of Things (IoT). In this virtuous circle of everything being connected, the Internet of Things means adding sensors to any machine, tool or object. Sensors that gather data and send them to the cloud. From there, once the data has been received and analysed, actions can be performed or messages can be sent to the rest of the network. What is popularly known as smart can be applied to anything we want: smart home, smart cities, industry 4.0 or connected car. And while all the machines are connected what will us humans do? Well, we’ll be part of the circle. Not only does the smartphone integrate us within this connectivity, but also in other areas such as healthcare we can now be connected via implants, lenses or pacemakers that gather and share data.
- Artificial Intelligence (IA). Exponential technological growth has meant that machines can be very good at identifying patterns via the analysis of huge quantities of data. Artificial Intelligence therefore requires a concept that now is beginning to come into its own: Big Data. Now we are capable of creating machines that can learn simply following some simple rules. Up to now we taught machines to do things just as we learnt them, but from now on machines can learn new ways to do things on their own.
- IoT+IA = Intelligent things. And if we match the Internet of Things with Artificial Intelligence we get things like Intelligent Things, such as robots, drones and self-driving cars. As one can see, everything is in movement and everything is connected.
- Blockchain. This technology aims to become the mainstay of online security. As its name suggests, it is based on the construction of open data bases which are replicated on every device. All information is stored in blocks, each block is connected to the previous one, creating a chain. Furthermore, each block contains the identifier of the previous one along with a time stamp. As well as the data it contains, it also creates the block identifier. The security of the blockchain is not only based on its encryption that, although it could always be broken, always makes visible any modifications made in each block to all users, given that any change breaks the chain.
- 5G. The MWC’s eternal promise. It’s been on the table during the last few editions: more capacity and speed to handle millions of connections per square metre far faster than before. And now, latency – the delay in the arrival of data – will be less than a millisecond. This capacity of response, imperceptible to humans, will have a huge impact on machines that will be able to work on tasks such as factory maintenance or medical operations in real time. An eternal promise always out of reach because it requires a higher antenna density and, thus, far more new installations of them. The day, not far off, that some major manufacturer begins to incorporate 5G antennas in their cell-phones, we will begin to experience it.
Connectivity will be the star of this year’s MWC. We can connect everything, but the biggest industry battle is always on the commercial front. And here the disputes between brands will undoubtedly limit complete connection between devices and applications. It is hard to imagine there not being various platforms. Will Siri and Alexa be able to understand each other one day? To find out, stay connected if you don’t mind the pun.
Carles Gòmara, Catalonia Trade & Investment