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From Small Cells to Big Data – 5 mobile trends from GSMA Barcelona Mobile World Congress 2013

Welcome to MWC 2013

 

 

Monday back in the office after the furor of Mobile World Congress feels like the calm after the storm.

 

More than 70,000 people attended the show and I’m pretty sure they were all waiting for a taxi Monday night at 8pm outside hall 8. Picking through the main themes washed ashore in the cyclone of MWC news, sessions and exhibition activity, I extracted my top five.

 

To get a flavour of the event, have a look at my “taster” video of what caught my eye visually at the show. Think of it as Tapas before the dinner below.

 

You can also see and hear my views on Big data and Cloud  for service providers as reported on the HP MWC Video Channel on YouTube.

 

Looking at the conference program, it was interesting to note that the top exhibition and announcement themes were not particularly aligned with the conference. Conference topics revolved more around operator strategies and services whereas show floor topics were generally more concrete (pun intended) featuring network infrastructure, devices and apps. What follows is a mix of the two.

 

Devices

Increasingly Mobile World Congress show floor is all about devices and their accessories. The GSMA provided gadget hounds a preview with their Sunday press day. Samsung’s Note 8, described as “almost hilariously huge” by the Huffington post, some new Firefox OS devices and HP’s own Android Slate 7 (shown right) HP-slate7-mwc-printeFilterr.jpgwere among those making the news by Monday morning. Tens of devices had been announced by the week’s end and booths were crammed with odd sight of video crews with their large cameras and bulky lighting equipment bearing down on small colorful handsets. “Here we have located the Sony Xperia Z in its native habitat”. 

 

Smaller, cheaper, lighter, faster, larger — devices are moving in all different directions at the moment although rectangular seems to be the design thread. The tyranny of the touch screen glass looks to have eliminated competing form factors for the moment. Innovations seem incremental as opposed to game-changing.

 

 

 

Device OS

Seems new Device Operating systems were back in the news despite the launches of Windows 8 and Blackberry 10 over the last few months. Industry debate continues to rage about which OS can take on the IOS and Android duopoly. Two new operating systems were all over the show this year, with Mozilla’s Firefox OS garnering the most discussion. This and Tizen, along with some others, such as Ubuntu and Jolla, were mostly touted as supporting the push for the next wave of low cost smartphones.

 

FirefoxOS.jpgMozilla announced that 17 operators were committed to its “open web initiative”, and devices were shown on multiple stands including Mozilla’s own, where the ZTE Firefox OS device was demonstrated. Operators like the openness of the platform, which is HTML5 based, and Mozilla overall, which is a non-profit organization “dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands.”

 

Tizen was also in the news, this Intel and Samsung operating system is also Linux based and has the backing of the new king of the mobile smartphone castle, Samsung, who seems to have committed to roll their own Badu operating system into it. However Tizen devices appear to be behind Firefox in terms of commercial availability. 

 

 

Small Cells

There was big news in Small Cells with many announcements and many vendors presenting both indoor and outdoor small cell solutions designed to support both enterprise and consumer demands. There was some debate over whether Femtocells (the small devices often used at home to provide better indoor coverage and which are managed in a very limited way), are really Small Cell devices versus other Small cell approaches which are more like mini-base stations. As is often the case an industry group rides to rescue with a set of definitions and deployment guides — in this case the “Small Cell Forum”.  

 

M2M and Cloud

Machine to Machine and Cloud continue as two major areas of interest. On the cloud side debate continued around the business case for cloud for mobile operators and case studies. For M2M, the connected car drove the discussion, with the Vice Chairman from GM taking the stage to proclaim “the car is now a device”. Ford meanwhile showed Ford Ecosport connectivity. See a related blog on our site. M2M verticals were much discussed, including healthcare, transport and smart city and home. HP featured our own M2M and cloud service platforms for telecom operators.

 

Big Data Analytics

What the IT industry is calling big data and analytics, is often couched under the term Customer Experience Management (CEM) in the Mobile industry. This topic was broadly addressed in the conference program and in the show. Business opportunities from big data, as well as the tie in to CEM and Quality of Experience, were discussed. The recently announced HP Telecom Big Data and Analytics solution, including our own HP Customer Experience Assurance solution was featured on our booth.

 

Good opportunities for IT vendors are available as the mobile industry invests in another round of what we used to call Business analytics, but this time including high velocity (real time) and unstructured data as well as traditional structured “off-line” data. Unstructured data includes e-mails, social media, phone calls and video.

 

Other areas

There was surprisingly little discussion on Enterprise Mobility as a topic on its own, considering the huge opportunity this represents for operators. As enterprises mobilize their workforces and grapple with employees more and more bringing their own devices to the company (BYOD), opportunities abound for mobile operators to support the process, such as mobile device management, enterprise mobility platforms, hosting of enterprise applications, and cloud services replacing enterprise apps.

 

HP is starting a “Mobility 2020” vision collaboration which debuted at MWC, following on from our successful Enterprise 2020 work. Some initial scenarios are described here. Video interviews are here.

 

To support more efficient mobility, HP announced our own Integrated Home Subscriber Server (HSS) to help MNOs provide seamless access to heterogeneous networks. As MNOs integrate Wi-Fi and LTE into their networks, the IHSS offers a seamless experience for mobile network users.

In previous years, app stores have been big news at MWC. While apps were again very present, especially in the App Lounge area around hall 8, specific apps and app stores were not the major news they have been.

 

See you next year

IMG_1316.jpgMy personal view is that the show has almost completely moved away from its roots as a pure mobile network operator and supplier show, to a much more general mobility show, embracing enterprise and consumer needs and the broad spectrum of internet players who are now increasingly dependent on mobile. This is reflective of the fact that mobility is no longer an add-on to existing consumer and business services and business processes, but is rather at the core them. Facebook already counts more usage via mobile than fixed and eBay did more than $10B in mobile commerce revenue in 2012, representing more than half of their total.

 

It’s a tumultuous mobile world, and an exciting time to be part of it!

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About the Author
Richard Arthur has enjoyed the last two decades of the wild ride that has been the communications industry since deregulation. He is curre...
About the Author(s)
  • Alain Decartes has over three decades experience working in the Telecommunication and IT Sector. Here he has had roles in a variety of sectors including the Value Added Service, Cloud Services and Apps Store market worldwide. He has strong skills in international sales, marketing and business development. Alain is HP Software’s worldwide Industry Solution Marketing Lead for the Communications, Media and Entertainment (CME) industry and sub-segments. In the past, Alain has held senior roles with Unisys, Comverse and Prodata Belgium. He is a popular speaker, moderator or chair at worldwide industry conferences. Alain has been a Board member at the International Association for Enhanced Voice Services. He has also won a number of Industry accolades including The Messaging Industry Association Special Recognition Award. Alain received a Civil Engineer in Telecommunications degree from the Faculté Polytechnique de Mons in Belgium.
  • Sigge Andreasson is Worldwide Solutions Marketing Manager for OSS Transformation, CMS at HP. Sigge has more than 25 years of experience in the telecom and software industries, and has held a number of different positions during his career with HP, spanning telecom engineering, pre-sales and marketing. Sigge holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.
  • Julia Mason-Ochinero is WW CME Marketing Lead, HP Enterprise Marketing. In this role, Julia is responsible for driving dialog with CSPs on how they can transition to sustainable, profitable business models and enter into co-opetition with over-the-top (OTT) content providers who are changing this industry’s landscape. She joined HP in 2010 from Accel Partners (where she worked as a consultant.) Prior to Accel, Julia held marketing leadership positions with companies including Adobe, Nuance, OpenWave, Novell, Nuance Communications and RealNetworks. She began her career in Chicago working with organizations including AT Kearney, Andersen Consulting and Ameritech. She currently resides in Silicon Valley.
  • Marco has over 15 years’ experience working on strategy and innovation projects for major clients in the Telecom and Media Industries. He helps clients to improve their business performance through the adoption of strategically-driven technology solutions.
  • Marie-Sophie Masselot is bringing her thought leadership in business transformation in the telecom arena, thanks to her latest role as the marketing lead for the HP Solution Consulting Services practice worldwide. She is coming with a technical background as computer sciences engineer, having held different positions from software development through supply chain or sales support in telecom companies.
  • Michel Ferachoglou has over 20 years in IT and Communications, holding senior Product Management, Business Development, and Marketing positions with HP, as well as held various people management, strategic and business planning roles. Today, Michel is leading the NFV marketing program for CMS, along with a number of cross-portfolio activities within HP CMS Solution Enablement team.
  • Marie-Paule Odini is a seasoned HP executive, bring over 25 years of telecom experience. She has deep expertise in both the networking and IT environments, bridging voice and data. Marie-Paule is the HP CTO for Europe, responsible for the Communication and Media Solution organization, focused on customer innovation and emerging trends. She leads the technology discussions for M2M, Analytics and Cloud. She seats on ETSI and other standard bodies. She is a frequent industry speaker and editor in professional magazines, blogs on HP Telecom IQ and tweets on CMS twitter account. Marie-Paule’s prior responsibilities include managing HP’s worldwide VoIP program, HP’s wireless LAN program, and HP’s Service Delivery program. Since joining HP in 1987, she has held positions in technical consulting, sales development and marketing in Europe and in the Americas. Those roles have focused on strategic and operational responsibility for Networking, IT and operations. Marie-Paule holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Utah State University and business education from INSEAD, Paris. Prior to joining HP, Marie-Paule spent five years with France-Telecom/Orange research and development labs, defining architecture and value-added services launch for corporate customers. She also worked with standard bodies and industry forums at that time. She enjoys skiing and outdoors in general.
  • Oded Ringer overlooks HP's worldwide marketing strategy for Actionable Customer Intelligence (ACI) solutions. With many years in the Telecom industry, at companies like Alcatel-Lucent and TTI-Telecom, Oded focuses on Go-To-Market strategies bringing together Products, Business, Operations, Sales and Marketing.
  • Richard Arthur has enjoyed the last two decades of the wild ride that has been the communications industry since deregulation. He is currently leading the Services and Solutions Marketing team in HP’s Communication and Media Solutions business unit. This role embraces transformative telecom solutions including telecom cloud services, outsourcing, solution lifecycle services, OSS/BSS and network platforms. Richard is also managing the CloudSystem Service Provider Program in HP.
  • Grace has initiated and implemented in last decade the first support contracts for large Telecom operators like France Telecom, Vodafone, BT...Today she is in charge of developping support services which are maturing with a shift from reactive break/fix models to more-proactive and enhanced offerings that add business value.


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