February 25, 2019

What to Expect at Mobile World Congress 2019

#MWC19 kicks off and brings with it a variety of new opportunistic use cases for 5G, edge computing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and more.

It’s show time in Barcelona. Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 will host thousands of delegates, eager to share the latest and greatest that the mobile industry has to offer. For some delegates, it’s a geekfest; for others, it’s all about business and networking. For most, it’s all-of-the-above. Undoubtedly, 5G furor will dominate the show. ‘Big ticket’ deployment plans will be announced and innovative 5G use cases and technologies will be promoted. ‘Off-the-charts’ mobile broadband speeds will be demonstrated with mmWave radios, raising the bar for network modeling and planning requirements. In addition, myriad mixed reality, autonomous vehicle and Industry 4.0 applications will showcase the ultra-low latency capabilities that 5G enables. The 5G demonstrations will be spectacular and although 5G will dominate the show, MWC will offer much more.

Let’s not forget 4G. It’s hard to believe that 4G has graced MWC events for more than a decade. But 4G provides the connectivity fabric for today’s mobile broadband, is the linchpin technology for 5G and will fuel many of the innovations that will be on display at MWC. Examples include advanced and autonomous operational support systems (OSS), virtualized platform solutions and microservices-based architectures. 4G will also support many of the consumer applications and digital transformation solutions demonstrated at the show, spanning a variety of industries, including transportation, logistics, manufacturing, retail and utilities.

A full gamut of cognitive solutions will be on display at MWC. Among the more promising displays include advanced solutions for security and network operations. Specifically:

  • Security concerns are increasing as wireless connectivity becomes pervasive amongst critical systems and malicious attacks become lucrative for bad actors. Conventional security schemes are largely ineffective and cognitive solutions are needed to detect and respond to sophisticated breaches that would have otherwise gone undetected. In the past, security has been in the shadows of MWC. But this year, we expect that it will take much more of the limelight, particularly with the recent industry attention towards 5G security.
     
  • Network operations are becoming overwhelmed by system complexity. Several years ago, the Self-Optimizing Networks (SON) standards were touted as the solution. SON proved effective in automating relatively deterministic processes, such as service provisioning, but was largely ineffective in addressing complex performance management issues. Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques are coming to the rescue, with innovations that combine advanced data science with network-specific domain expertise. While large incumbent providers will be touting their wares at MWC, we also expect formidable competition to come from smaller players with targeted solutions.

The advanced mobile technology story is incomplete without edge computing. Edge computing was conspicuous at MWC in 2018 and is likely to be a relatively hot topic in 2019. Even though significant progress has been made with standards, such as multi-access edge computing (MEC), we expect a lack of consistency towards edge computing strategies to prevail at MWC. For some pundits, MEC is the de-facto standard for edge computing. Others are much less certain and point to the variety of architectures needed, depending on the use cases they support. When edge computing is used to support specific network functions, it aligns well with MEC and its associated reference architectures. In contrast, many enterprise edge computing applications, particularly those that augment existing cloud services, are better suited to serverless solutions, such as Amazon Greengrass and Microsoft Azure. With this, many service providers are hedging themselves with strategies that can adapt to market demands as they define themselves.

Each year, the diversity of companies participating in MWC grows, as does the variety of use cases, services and devices. It will be no different in 2019. Delegates will witness the latest in augmented and visual reality technologies—albeit gazing through ridiculous glasses, televisions with unreal sizes and resolution, robots and avatars as well as an endless array of wearable devices and gadgets for infotainment, productivity and healthcare.

As the Fira Convention Center heaves with technology and innovation, there will be something for everyone. Come and visit us at the Netcracker booth in Hall 2, Booth 2H31. You can’t afford to miss what we will be demonstrating at the show.

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