It’s conference season, and they creep around at lightening pace. No sooner has CES passed us by, than SXSW is upon us. And only last week, it was the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013.
Contagious summarised a key theme of this year’s MWC as ‘experience over innovation’, which we take to mean ‘consumer experience’. And we think that’s a key theme extending into all aspects of 2013. It’s something causing businesses the world over to carefully consider their products and services in a far greater context.
The conference made less noise this year than previously. It was again shunned by Apple, and it missed out on Samsung’s Galaxy S, the firm preferring a New York launch on the 14th of March, instead.
But there was still much to see. Telecom AT&T went to some lengths to push the internet of things, by showcasing its massive ‘Connected City’. With fridges running apps, and automated pet feeding, it was another showcase of how mobile devices are seen as our central control for all systems.
Firefox, along with notable partners that include 18 telecoms and tech firms the like of LG, and Huawei, previewed its open mobile operating system. It’s mostly HTML5 based, meaning ‘apps’ are largely delivered straight from the web. It’s being aimed at developing markets and should be with us soon.
Huawei will soon enter into common vocabulary. The Chinese manufacturer that has just become the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer and it announced what it calls the world’s fastest Android phone. Soon enough, record breaking announcements from Chinese manufacturers will become common. But there’ll be some ground to catch on Apple and Samsung.
And if there’s one thing not to underestimate in mobile technology, it’s developments in camera software and hardware. One Japanese company showcased it cool feature, which, by taking two instantaneous images, allows uses to create beautiful effects by contrasting a background view with a foreground view. It’s a smart area to innovate in.
There was a brief insight into how 4G is penetrating the UK market, with EE announcing over 1000 corporate subscribers, with a 10% sales growth each month among general consumers. Competition will soon be tough, as other operators enter the space. According to EE, over 1/4 of traffic at present is video, 11% from YouTube.
And another standout feature of the MWC was health apps. One speaker noted that we know more about the health of our cars, than we do our own bodies. Nicely put. And some estimates believe that rapid developments in the use of mobile technology in our health will save $400bn in 2017, and save 1 million lives in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years. Take a look at GSMA’s fully comprehensive Mobile Economy 2013 report, for more mind-boggling indications of the years ahead.
Keep an eye out for SXSW happening right now. It’s the biggest brand & tech party in town.