What I learned from a week spent at the world’s largest mobility conference and what it means for enterprise mobility testing.

Mobile Labs' Booth at Mobile World CongressNow that my jet lag has worn off, I’ve had some time to reflect on my recent journey to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For the past four years, I’ve attended this conference and again I found myself drawn to the energy, innovation and excitement around mobility present at this event. On a more humorous note, I am sure many of my fellow attendees were relieved that the metro workers were not on strike again this year. Although Team Mobile Labs is never one to shy away from an adventure, traveling on the metro made it easier for us to experience some amazing meals while in Barcelona.

I’m sure you’ve all kept up with the coverage and the buzz around the innovative products introduced at Mobile World Congress. I covered a few examples such as the return of the Nokia 3310 smartphone and the jarring absence of the Windows Phone in my weekly mobile news roundup post earlier this week, but I did manage to bring home a few more reflections and thoughts from the event other than a nagging sense of nostalgia for the game Snake. Thanks Nokia 3310…

Here’s 3 trends to look out for in 2017:

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the Enterprise: Let’s Play

As I wandered the expo halls at Mobile World Congress, I stopped to observe several vendors pitching their latest virtual reality offerings. While most of these experiences were amped up versions of the video games I enjoyed in my youth, and maybe still enjoy occasionally featuring a new spin on first person shooters, I was primarily struck with how captivating these first-person POV experiences are for consumers.

Naturally when pondering the implications of virtual reality games on enterprise mobility, augmented reality comes to mind. In augmented reality, users experience real-world situations from the same vantage point as if they were there in person. Think of the implications on the way that we work. Consider the boost to productivity if workers could use augmented reality applications in field services, maintenance, manufacturing and transportation fields. With augmented reality applications, workers in a completely different location could use the vantage point provided by augmented reality to examine an issue, make a diagnosis and guide on-site personnel to make any needed adjustments or repairs without having to go onsite.

Both mobile developers and testers should consider the implications of augmented reality in relation to their roles, as it will take quite the hearty application to provide this level of experience for users and consumers. This brings me to my next observation from Mobile World Congress, in relation to the emerging growth of 5G.

5G is Coming and We Better Get Ready

Back in December of 2016, I featured an article in my weekly mobile news roundup that Verizon would begin testing wireless 5G in small towns this month. Each major mobile carrier at Mobile World Congress, from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and the larger European carriers, were making it a point to draw attention to their commitment to 5G. Clearly, to stay competitive with both television and streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and BritBox, phone carriers will have to figure out the best way to deliver media content to users via 5G. As the old adage states, “Content is King,” a notion that our friends in media know all too well.

As 5G becomes a reality, let’s consider the world of possibilities for content producers, marketers and even the consumer to continue to enjoy content whenever and however they want. As more and more video is consumed, unlimited data plans from phone carriers will become necessary as we’ve already seen with Verizon’s recent unlimited data plans in the U.S. As consumers begin to expect flawless mobile applications to deliver the content, both developers and mobile testers will need to be ready to make sure that both the mobile app and the delivery platform for all content is ready for “prime time” as they say in the business.

The Internet of Things and a Connected World

It wouldn’t be a cutting-edge mobile conference if the Internet of Things was not featured. From smart homes and smart cars, to refrigerators alerting you when you need more milk, our world becomes more and more connected. As the lines blur between key areas of our lives, mobile professionals will be called upon to build applications that enable these systems to “talk” and share data with each other.

Clearly, everything is connected and as augmented reality and IoT become more prevalent, more capacity to transmit information from 5G will keep pushing our industry forward.

I can’t wait to see what happens next year at Mobile World Congress 2018.

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Dan McFall

Dan McFall has over 19 years of professional and executive experience in the B2B technology sector. He is currently President of Atlanta-based Mobile Labs, a leading provider of mobile testing and secure test device management solutions.

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