From mobile solutions to mobility and connectivity
As the world’s largest event for the mobile industry and related sectors, the Mobile World Congress Conference is one of the main global stages for unveiling new technology. The 2018 edition (February 26 – March 1, 2018) attracted nearly 110,000 attendees and more than 2400 exhibitors from 208 countries, who showcased products and services on the 120,000 square metres of exhibition pavilions.
In particular, the GSMA Innovation City featured a wide range of immersive demos, revealing how mobile products and services are driving the technological panorama. Examples ranged from the domotics and automotive sectors to health, agriculture, utilities, industry and far more. Indeed, the Mobile World Congress is increasingly about connectivity and mobility services.
The 2018 Mobile World Congress was once again a hotbed for telematics and the automotive industry, both of which are gearing up for the commercialisation of next-generation intelligent vehicles.
Octo Telematics showcased its unique IoT-enabled Next Generation Platform (NGP) and other leading telematics solutions, showing attendees how to transform auto insurance through behavioural, contextual and driving analytics. The NGP, which is custom-tailored with the best industry telematics software, provides seamless integration of any API and a fully-modular insurance telematics structure.
Octo-owned Omoove, thanks to its recent partnership with Idemia, presented the new facial recognition technology features that have been integrated into the EasyOpen smartphone solution for shared mobility services.
As the commercialisation of self-driving vehicles draws closer to a reality, the MWC showcased a level-5 autonomous vehicle prototype (just a few months after a level-four autonomous driving vehicle had been presented at CES - the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas). This is the highest level of driving automation conceived by the Society of Automotive Engineers testing scale.
In general, many of the self-driving vehicle prototypes presented at the MWC continue to reveal a strong integration with smartphones. Smartphones are not only being used as control devices for GPS and geolocation services, but also as the main AI platform controlling the vehicle.
Next-Generation Wireless Technology
The next-generation of wireless technology, commonly referred to as 5G, promises an exponential increase in the speed and amount of data that can be transferred. Although these networks will not be commercially available before 2020, 5G Networks are expected to be nearly 100 times faster than our current 4G network technology, significantly boosting real-time data exchange.
Together with edge computing, the 5G standard will drive universal connectivity and the Internet of Things. Gartner estimates that more than 8.4 billion "things" are currently connected to the Internet, a 30% increase in just one year. It is also estimated that 75% of all vehicles will be connected by 2024.
Li-Fi, the transmission of data via visible, infrared and ultraviolet light beams, was also showcased at the event.
Although currently not very widespread, the adoption of Li-Fi in a number of sectors will be driven not only by the fact that the radio frequencies used in Wi-Fi have nearly been stretched to the limit, but also because this is an inherently secure form of data transmission.
Indeed, domotics and automation systems in homes and offices will soon be highly dependent on Li-Fi technology for a number of reasons. Firstly, the fact that the signal cannot penetrate walls, means these systems cannot be hacked remotely. Moreover, Li-Fi will provide further security and safety by not interfering with radio frequencies in delicate environments, such as autonomous vehicles, planes, control centres, etc.
Another trend confirmed at MWC was the continued migration of smartphone-native apps to car telematics systems, with voice recognition features to reduce the danger of distraction at the wheel – well, at least until humans continue to be responsible for the driving.
These include both navigation and geo-location systems, as well as added value entertainment services that will be automatically available on new cars. Moreover, the MWC also indicated a strong increase in the interest in apps and systems capable of analysing driver behaviour at the wheel.