Key Takeaways From Mobile World Congress
Chris Cellettion 11 March, 2017 at 01:03
Mobile World Congress 2017 has come and gone. Thankfully, Dayoan Daumont was on the ground for us taking in all the sights (virtual reality, drones) and sounds (uh, more drones!) in Barcelona. Dayoan, with help from Greg Flory of Bottle Rocket, presented a recap of the festivities on the latest Social on Us Webinar. Here are the main takeaways:
Did we mention drones yet? While attention was grabbed at past editions of Mobile World Congress by new smartphones, mobile technology and fit-in-your-palm IoT gadgets, the 2017 version had everyone’s gaze pointed upward. But drones, of course, make a ton of sense at a conference about mobility, both because of their literal, physical mobility and their place in our future connected world. Huawei and Vodafone both explored a world where drones are able to perform human tasks that are somewhat dangerous or physically daunting. Think cell tower operators, farmers, and those involved in search and rescue operations—all while collecting crucial data along the entire journey. The B2C drone play might still be a bit murky (right now, there are only so many wedding photographers looking to get a Terrence Malick-inspired sweeping overhead shot), but in a B2B sense, there is a great growth opportunity.
Software You At?
Speaking of a connected world, Mobile World Congress reminded us a bit of the importance of the thing that makes everything run—software. And because software is so crucial to our digital future, many brands and companies are transforming themselves into companies of products to companies of service. Think AT&T—John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment spoke about how, if he were to have spoken at MWC five years prior, he’d be as a representative of a telco. Now, and in the future, AT&T is anything but. Their recent acquisition of DirecTV in the US, and potential merger with Time Warner, are proof positive that many companies are moving towards delivery and content. For them, and other firms that follow suit, it’s all about the software, stupid.
You Must Be This Tall to Ride
Is the future of amusement parks in virtual reality? You might think so if you were at MWC 2017. While nearly every booth had some sort of VR, whether it was part of an actual product or just a brand activation experience, some of the most eyebrow-raising examples were from Samsung and Korea Telecom, which both had visual VR experiences mixed with 4D-type, full body immersion simulators. VR has been a massive presence at many industry conferences over the past few years, and it’s still waiting to really make a market impact. It will probably come, but with some potential dizziness and vision issues that need to be worked out too, we’re not so sure that adding any more potentially nausea-inducing movement is going to help the cause.
Mobile in Health
Johnson & Johnson and Listerine presented case studies that show how the future of healthcare is digital, and also how sometimes technology can just help tell a darn good brand story. Like VR, wearables are an industry that has struggled a bit to really get off the ground, despite the fact that everything seems to be pointing to a future in which it will become a fabric of daily life. In particular, wearables in health are still stuck in the FitBit Phase, where singular devices can track our movements and habits and suggest ways for us to lead a better healthier lifestyle—but aren’t fundamentally changing how we interact with healthcare. The same can be said of Johnson & Johnson’s Nod app and Mimo baby wearable—though it’s pretty darn cool, and something that new parents might fall in love with. Listerine, meanwhile, did an excellent job of using mobile technology to extend the experience of their brand to somewhere new.