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MWC Shanghai might be the "little sister" to MWC in Barcelona, but what it lacks in scale, it could make up for insightfulness. MWC Shanghai is approaching (June 28 to July 1), and while it will host a bunch of experimental stuff, it's the breakout sessions of the conference that we are most excited about.
If the conference titles are anything to go by, organizer the GSM Association is attempting to dish up a good degree of realism during its three-day conference. Sessions are around best practices, lessons to be learned, and how to get to a specific end goal. Sessions that caught our attention include
"Combining automation, cloud, AI and virtualization – lessons and prospects"
"Affordable network evolution"
"Evolving to 5G – technical steps and business implications"
"Mobile advertising – new opportunities for brands and media"
"Live sports … commercializing some major sports events."
We see as a "must-attend" the MMIX Asia Summit, which will address the "convergence of content, distribution, and monetization strategies," including evaluating what content – live broadcasting, social media video, etc. – appeals and what consumers are willing to pay for. Another interesting event to attend would be the 4YFN start-up pitches, an opportunity to get an insight into the disruptive potential of start-ups in the Asian market and pick up on trends that will have a larger global impact later on.
The key overarching industry trends to follow at the conference will be as follows:
With telco revenues under pressure, growing traffic and capex pressures, and OTTs' continued encroachment on legacy areas as well as innovation in new areas, business model innovation will certainly be a major topic. Monetization across several domains in this industry remains a key theme, including legacy areas of the business. That could include "how to make money out of mobile music or mobile games," "what's the IoT gravy chain for a small telco (with no big parent company)?" and "how to partner with OTTs on mobile video." At the very least, MWC Shanghai should help consolidate a consensus view for respondents among the very basics – for example, what will be the key verticals for B2B? The bottom line is that without evolving or new business models, the industry cannot deliver on service innovation. For that to take place, the industry needs process innovation.
While the key theme of this year's MWC Shanghai conference is the "Human Element," we believe it to be more the era of the machine. The conference incorporates 12 summits (or breakout sessions) that will be dominated by the "Machine Element," including Future Tech, Network Evolution, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, Connected Vehicle, Internet of Things, and Global Devices. These themes are heavily enterprise-led in most cases, since that is where most of the industry's new money is expected to come from. However, these themes also have a large impact on consumer services, especially as more players adopt AI, machine learning, and AR for their consumer-facing services.
The Operator Evolution Strategies Summit emphasizes the changing role of telcos in an increasingly OTT-driven world. In fact, whereas OTT players and operators were once opposing forces, they are now very much working together to create mutually beneficial alliances. It has been more than seven years since operators and OTT players began to cooperate with each other and forge partnerships that enable both parties to grow revenues and users the world over. This trend of operators and OTT players joining forces continues with great vigor, with the nature of the alliances reaching new levels of sophistication and depth. Previously, the primary goal of the partnership from an operator perspective was to grow broadband revenues; however, that has since matured. Now, operators look to work closely with OTT players to offer their customers bundled pricing plans and exclusive premium services, enhance their value-added services portfolio, and even create cobranded services such as the E-Plus WhatsApp SIM.
The future that MWC Shanghai speakers will paint is one of even more connectivity. That is certainly nice in theory, but we know that the logistics of the connected home or early smart cities are complicated. We urge speakers not to gloss over terms such as "mass connectivity (5G)," "smart cities," and "connecting the masses," as they require business model innovation to become a reality.
No MWC would be complete without a glimpse into the next big technology. Who can forget seeing telco execs a few years ago wearing Google glasses on the exhibition floor? The connected car too seems to have lost some of its shine. This year "experimental" is all about
Drone Racing Competition & Drone Zone
Health and Fitness Zone
Mobile Gaming Competition
Sports Tech Zone
VR & AR Zone
Future Retail Zone
Smart City Expo
Surprisingly, there is a mix of old (health, gaming, sports) and new innovations, but we are most excited about drones and monetization, new monetization models around sports tech and retail, and to see just how far the smart city really has come. On the other hand, health, gaming, and sports are major, growing industries, and continue to be major revenue drivers with continued innovation.
Service Provider Markets
ByMike Roberts 01 Oct 2018
Verizon 5G Home is a milestone in the telecoms market because it is the first large-scale commercial launch of broadband services based on 5G technologies, albeit not on a fully standardized version of those technologies.
ByEvan Kirchheimer 26 Apr 2018
Service provider interest in justifying 5G investment through its potential to open new revenue streams from the enterprise segment is growing ever greater.
Europe, Middle East & Africa team - +44 (0) 207 017 7700
Asia-Pacific team - +61 (0)3 960 16700
US team - +1 646 957 8878
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