What trends should marketers watch out for at Mobile World Congress?

We asked the industry for key trends to watch out for at Mobile World Congress before it kicks off on Monday in Barcelona.

The world's biggest annual mobile event is anticipated by gadget geeks worldwide thanks to the rapid-fire launch of new handsets. 

This year, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Moto, Nokia and more are expected to be launching new models. 

But, as Ben Phillips, global head of mobile at MediaCom put it, for marketers and advertisers, the real things to watch out for are the consumer behavioural changes that these new launches will bring. 

We asked industry experts to share the tech trends they think will most shape the marketing landscape in years to come: 

Miguel Alvarez

Director of technology services, AnalogFolk

AI-powered phones

From my perspective, the biggest progress comes from more robust hardware that’s allowing AI to run directly on mobile, as just announced by Qualcomm. 

I predict this will be a game changer for our industry, as it moves the world away from AI via cloud computing and into AI via our mobile. This can start to open the door to more secure, private and personal AI experiences. 

Imagine yourself in a place with no internet connection but as you take an image of unknown objects the right information starts to appear. Now what if this was taken to faraway communities with no internet access; all of the sudden AI will start to be available for the world.  

The possibilities for research, knowledge sharing, amongst other things are huge.

Libby Robinson

EMEA managing director, M&C Saatchi Mobile

The implementation of 5G 

One of the key advancements will be 5G. Faster connectivity will significantly improve the user experience on mobile, delivering richer brand-consumer engagement. Last year focused a lot on the concept of 5G so it will be interesting to see how that is progressing into planning and implementation.

We also expect to see a lot of AI. This is particularly relevant for digital marketers from a targeting standpoint. The more intelligent targeting levers we can apply, the more relevant we can make digital ads, the more likely consumers are to engage with them. AI can certainly help accelerate this process.

Thomas Müller

General manager, Fjord EALA

Tension as opportunity

Digital vs. physical, human vs. machine, traceability vs. anonymity – tension is everywhere in modern design, as it is in modern life. But this dynamic needn’t be a negative. In fact, recognising these tensions should provoke more thoughtful design solutions that better adapt cutting-edge technology into a more human experience. At MWC 2018 we’re hoping to see some interesting divergences from companies’ announcements – instead of incremental changes to screen sizes and chip speeds, perhaps we’ll see a product or a service launch which picks a side and takes a stand, showing us a more radical vision of what mobile technology can add to our lives.

Digital. Meet Physical

Screen fatigue has reached an all-time high, and our expectations of tech is increasingly related to the IRL, three-dimensional world than the purely digital realm. It’s exciting news for companies which are creating truly ‘mobile’ tech – such as Huawei’s rumoured Watch 3, introducing a gesture-based interface to help wean users off the screen.

More broadly, the launch of 5G will provide huge impetus to this shift – sure enough, the hype is gaining critical mass ahead of MWC. Barcelona will host many of the companies at the vanguard of 5G, so even if we don’t have any ground-breaking hardware announcements there will surely be news on the infrastructure and brains behind the future of connectivity.


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