#MWCA: Robots & Drones or 100% Digital Marketing?

19 Sep

Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) was as much an insight into the future of the mobile ecosystem as it was a study of extreme marketing strategies.

T-Mobile: un-carrier or un-marketer?

Every marketer ever preparing to exhibit at MWC knows the challenge: how to stand out from the crowd if your budget cannot compete with 7 and sometimes even 8-figure numbers that Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei spend on their booths. T-Mobile has an answer: ditch the show floor altogether and throw a party at a really cool venue next-door like SF Mint instead and advertise your move on social media. Well done, T-Mobile, un-carrier and un-marketer alike!

IoT, Robots, VR and AR

I simply cannot wait to see IoT, VR and AR demos that Verizon, Sprint and AT&T had at their MWCA booths become part of our everyday lives. All the carriers are building ecosystems of vendor, manufacturers, developer, robotics and content partners to innovate entertainment (immersive experiences from 360 cameras), transportation (connected vehicles and intelligent transportation), healthcare (real-time vials’ measure and feedback) and many other domains.

I have yet to experience a live football game but I already know which venue I’ll pick: the new connected stadium of San Francisco 49’s whose technology stack was designed with fan experience in mind. The niners are already planning to offer VR game immersion services.

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Rich Communications Suite (RCS) is back and going strong

Last time I checked (2010), RCS was positioned in the mobile industry as a final attempt of Telcos to compete with content providers by offering a branded mobile client combining calls, messaging and Internet portal. Fast forward to Q3 2017 and RCS is getting integrated into native messaging platforms and ready to take consumer-brand interactions to the next level. On top of basic exchange “Would you like to refill your prescription? Reply REFILL to confirm” via text message, consumers can now communicate with bots of their favorite brands by clicking one of several menu options directly from their devices’ messaging app. GSMA representatives at MWCA confirmed first commercial applications by the end of the year.

What application would you build if 4ms latency was real?

A jump from 4G and 40ms latency to 5G and 4ms latency sounds very progressive but in which scenarios does it really matter? Verizon Wireless and Ericsson had the answers with their “Ballon & Drone” demo. A small drone was programmed to follow a red ballon. First, the drone was controlled from a data center in San Francisco that with only 4ms response delay was a perfect simulation of 5G latency ballpark. Once we switched to a control center in Seattle and the latency was closer to what we have with 4G, namely over 40ms, the drone and balloon immediately got out of sync. If self-driving cars are to prevail in the future, we better get those latency figures to almost negligible numbers and move control centers as close to the network edge as possible.

MWCA 2017 was a breath of fresh air after too unfocused CTIA and I can’t wait to see what surprises on both technology and marketing front MWCA 2018 to be held in Los Angeles has in store for us.

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