The Mobile World Congress is the meeting place for companies involved in mobile communication. It is by far the largest trade fair in the industry with over 110,000 visitors from 198 countries. The importance of wireless communication is demonstrated by the number of CEOs present. In 2019, more than 7,900 CEOs visited the exhibition grounds, among them Dieter Zetsche from Daimler, Chuck Robbins from Cisco and Satya Nadella from Microsoft. There were more than 2,400 exhibitors overall.
The focus of the 2019 Mobile World Congress was Intelligent Connectivity
The main topic of this year’s Mobile World Congress was “Intelligent Connectivity” – i.e. the hyperconnectivity made possible by 5G technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) and the intelligence transmitted in the form of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.
If you think that mobile/wireless communication is all about Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom or Telefonica, let me get this straight: At the 2019 Mobile World Congress, many other companies from different industries could be seen who ultimately all need mobile communication to connect their customers to their service. For example, large car manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Seat, Volkswagen and Tesla also joined with their own stands.
Represented by a strong and diverse team from various business units, TÜV Rheinland also showcased the diversity of its testing and certification services. The TÜV Rheinland stand showed that we are more than just a motor vehicle inspection company and that we are just as comfortable addressing issues such as 5G testing and IoT privacy.
Our stand was also a destination of one of the official trade fair tours entitled “How smart city investments can advance sustainability”. Our expert Guenter Martin told the tour participants more about “certification for smart cities to ensure security and privacy”.
Hot topics at the 2019 Mobile World Congress: the first 5G mobile devices
5G-enabled devices will become available for consumers this year. Samsung showed the prototype of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone, which will hit the market as soon as the 5G networks are ready. Huawei demonstrated a complete family of 5G devices with 5G routers that could also support the new Wi-Fi 6 standard. The Wi-Fi 6 standard is a new, faster version of the existing Wi-Fi standard that will support transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbps – which is almost ten times faster than existing mainstream standards.
Both manufacturers presented their new smartphone flagships with foldable displays: the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Things looked very similar at both stands: people crowding the showcases trying to take photos and videos with their smartphones. It really was as if they wanted to take a picture with a celebrity.
5G real-time truck driving in Sweden
At the Ericsson stand, visitors could sit in a cockpit and experience driving a real truck on a test track in Sweden. All communication between the cockpit at the show and the truck in Sweden took place using 5G technology. This impressively demonstrates the power of 5G technology and the business scenarios opened up by this new wireless communications technology. At the end of the trip, each driver received their own 5G driver’s license.
Blockchain – distributed data storage of the future
Especially when it comes to the Internet of Things, huge amounts of data are generated. Blockchain technology is suitable for storing the data volumes of sensors in IoT devices. This allows trust and transparency to be created without a central storage space having to be available for all data.
Ubrich, a company based in Germany, presented a blockchain protocol that allows data to be backed up directly where it was created and not after it has been stored somewhere in the cloud. Since this client is small and energy efficient, it can run on small edge devices or SIM cards. This opens up new possibilities for backing up IoT data.
Virtual reality – Hololens 2 and Bicycle VR Race
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been hot topics for years. This year’s exhibition again saw a large number of exhibitors showing new services, hardware and test applications with VR and AR. Microsoft, for example, presented the new Hololens 2 with a large launch event.
These AR glasses create augmented reality specifically for business applications. The new Hololens 2 is twice as fast as its predecessor and offers a much wider field of vision for a more complete experience. The ergonomic handling has been improved so that the Hololens 2 is better adapted to the head. Eye tracking sensors can control the projection applications.
There is also a version of the Hololens 2 specifically designed for use in more difficult environments such as offshore oil rigs.
Virtual reality was present at many booths. Using Vive VR Glass, HTC built a complete VR city in which the participants could try out the VR experience with various applications. Another stand showed 5G instant gaming using the example of a bicycle race where players sat on a real bike to guarantee a perfect, immersive experience.
5GAA Conference – How to connect the mobility of the future?
Due to the fact that several automakers and network operators were in Barcelona, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) also organized a conference to show the latest developments in future mobility, in particular autonomous driving. As a 5GAA member, TÜV Rheinland was also present at the event. Experts from the automotive, technology and telecommunications sectors explained the development of C-V2X communication (Cell-Vehicle-To-Everything). The first version of C-V2X, LTE-V2X, is already ready for the market. It enables vehicles to communicate with each other and with their environment. More information here.
Outlook on 2020
The 2020 Mobile World Congress will take place from 24 to 27 February 2020. I am already looking forward to experiencing the future developments in mobile communications and the effects on various industries. It doesn’t matter what kind of information is transmitted: At the end of the day, we will need all communication technologies to transport data from A to B. And this fact makes the mobile communications industry so important and exciting for every company. See you next year, Barcelona!