Mobile World Congress 2013 promises to be bigger and better than ever. The new venue will attract even more members of the mobile industry to Barcelona this year to celebrate the industry’s success and catch a glimpse of its potential future. The recently released Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) indicates that this will be a rosy future indeed. The study predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Once again, all of the players in the mobile industry ecosystem are convening in one spot, promising excellent insights into the challenges, opportunities, and potential future of the mobile industry. I will be meeting with customers, analysts, and partners throughout the show, and, of course, wearing out my shoes walking the floor.
Here are some of the key themes and pressing questions that I expect to see, hear, and explore:
· Next-Generation LTE—What is the status of LTE deployment? What has been the record of success? How has LTE changed the mobile world? Where to next for LTE? Is there life beyond LTE?
· M2M—The Internet of Everything and pervasive, fast, mobile connectivity are finally creating a real market for machine-to-machine mobile communications. What are those applications? What are the new business models?
· The Great Indoors—Many countries now have pretty good outdoor mobile coverage. But how do we extend that coverage indoors? Especially given that new devices and applications are creating more “nomadic,” rather than mobile, usage patterns amongst users.
· Wi-Fi—Wi-Fi really came out of the hidden corners at last year’s show to be on the agenda of every mobile operator. I think that this will be the year of Wi-Fi monetization. How do I make money from Wi-Fi? (Look for my blog during the week of MWC where I will share my thoughts on the answer to this question).
· Small Cells—Small Cells and Wi-Fi are fraternal twins. They both provide excellent wireless access with their own unique attributes. How will licensed small cells and Wi-Fi coexist and complement each other? What are the new business models for small cells? Check out some of the insights from me and my fellow Big Thinkers in Small Cells.
· Enterprise Mobility—Workers can now readily access email, calendars, and business information from anywhere. However, research by Cisco IBSG reveals that mobile business users expect much more. And enterprises are trying to understand how they can really use mobility to transform their businesses and their industries. What is the future for Enterprise Mobility? Who will be the big winners?
· Big Data—The growing conventional wisdom is that mobile operators will need to learn how to carefully mine and analyze, and act upon, their terabytes of meaningful customer and network data to make their business more profitable. I will be looking for interesting startups in this space and case studies of operators who are really executing on this.
Of course, I can’t wait to get my hands on all of those sexy, new mobile devices that will be everywhere. It will be interesting to witness how the Apple versus Samsung battle is evolving. Do the interesting new devices from Nokia and Blackberry have any chance of challenging this battle of titans? No doubt, the relationship between the over-the-top services (OTTs) and the mobile operators will be the topic of heated discussions. As will the topic of spectrum.
There is definitely a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn from this year’s Mobile World Congress. As in previous years, I will blog about the highlights and my key takeaways following the show.
Please stop by to say hello and see some really cool things at the Cisco booth, located at 3C54.
Watch Brian Walsh, Cisco Senior Marketing Manager, share a preview of the four Cisco Service Provider Mobility Demos at MWC 2013