MWC 2017: What Are The Key Enterprise Takeaways?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 01, 2017


One of the largest tech shows of the year, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) takes place every spring in Barcelona and brings together some of the world’s most prominent tech companies to show off their latest innovations. This year, while the attention grabbing headlines are primarily reserved for the latest smartphones and tablets that are on display, the scope of the show has widened in recent years, as mobile technology has now become a part and parcel of our lives.

But while consumer virtual reality, augmented reality solutions and in-car technology were the big tickets  2017, there was also much for the enterprise to consider. Here are some of the key developments the business world should pay particular attention to at this year’s MWC event.

- 5G Takes Center Stage: Cisco, Samsung, Ericsson bullish

MWC is more about company’s and their mobile initiatives and its not necessary that one single trend has to dominate each year. But in 2017 it’s clear that 5G is the dominant trend with vendors announcing their plans for the next generation of cellular wireless data technology. For example, Samsung is investing heavily in 5G. Among the new 5G product announced by Samsung at MWC is a 5G Home Router that could provide an alternative to expensive fibre to the home connections. The promise of the 5G is further being extended with Samsung’s Next-Generation Core Network infrastructure which include new management and virtualization capabilities.

Ericsson is also aggressively pursuing the 5G market, which the company estimates will generate $1.2 Trillion in business activity by 2026. At MWC, Ericsson announced collaboration on 5G trials together with Qualcomm and NTT DOCOMO in Japan. Qualcomm is also working together with Ericsson on a new 5G radio for Vodafone.

“5G will enable operators to provide new use cases in areas such as the Internet of Things, automation and big data, and the ability to build new revenue streams with radically new business models,” Ulf Ewaldsson, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Ericsson, said in a statement.

Cisco announced a collaboration with Verizon at the event to help bring 5G innovation to the enterprise market. Among the services in pilot now is a cloud-based, virtualized, cloud-based, 5G packet core that uses Cisco’s Ultra Service Platform. “The accelerating customer adoption of a wireless, cloud based, digital paradigm is driving us toward 5G network innovation,” Ed Chan, SVP of Technology Strategy & Planning at Verizon, said in a statement.

- Enterprise Mobility: Samsung Microsoft join force 

Samsung Electronics and Microsoft announced a new partnership at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Monday. The two tech giants are looking to join forces to tackle the enterprise market with a range of new products and services designed to allow businesses to evolve their operations through digital technologies.

Enterprise mobility is the key element of this new partnership seeing how Samsung and Microsoft said they’re looking to collaborate on developing new professional solutions suitable for on-the-go enterprise use.

At the core of this newly announced enterprise mobility partnership is the new Galaxy Book, a Samsung-made Windows 10 hybrid computer featuring software developed by both Microsoft and Samsung. 

- Taking Enterprise App to the next level: Apple-SAP Alliance

Enterprise application software company SAP clarified on its partnership which will result in the creation of a toolset that aims to help developers build “enterprise-grade” apps for iOS. Called the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, the tools will use Apple’s programming language Swift to present developers and designers with a collection of pre-built UI components and provide easy access to iPhone features (Touch ID, location services, notifications, etc.) in order to “accelerate app development and increase adoption.” 

To further the partnership between the two companies, SAP Academy for iOS will be available to developers and include training courses and workshops that teach attendees what they need to know to build apps using the new SDK. The courses provided “will be updated regularly” as Apple and SAP integrate new technologies into the SDK and new roles are added into the program.

Susan Prescott, vice president of Product Marketing, Apple, “We’re already seeing the impact that the combination of iOS and SAP brings to businesses to enable better, more efficient and effective processes across industries. Now even more developers will be able to take advantage of the new SDK, and we can’t wait to see how they transform their businesses.”

- A Step Up for Digital Payments: Mastercard And Oracle Pair Up 

Mastercard and Oracle teamed up to take on streamlined digital payment experiences for retail and hospitality, with a particular focus on restaurants, hotels and retail stores. The partnership will create better digital payments experiences for consumers while helping merchants keep pace with new technology developments. MasterCard said its new partnership with software company Oracle will focus on three needs for restaurants, hotels and retail stores: The in-store experience for consumers, merchant operational efficiencies and what it calls cross-channel consistency. Mastercard and Oracle are already working with joint partners such as Wagamama, Carluccio’s, Young & Co Brewery and Geronimo Pubs. 

Ovum in its prediction note on MWC noted that retail and digital payments will likely also be a key focus this year, as they have in years past. “Providers from across the ecosystem will deepen their focus on how digital wallet solutions in particular can enhance the consumer purchasing journey, particularly in how to leverage customer preference and behavioral data to create a more personalized end-user experience,” the research firm.

mobile apps

- Enterprise drones: DJI betting big

Consumer drones are already underway. Now DJI is announcing a new line that’s specifically designed for enterprise customers. Called the Matrice 200 (or M200) series, these drones were created for less flashy tasks: inspecting infrastructure (like cell towers), surveying construction sites, and public safety services (including search-and-rescue and forest fires).

“2017 is the year commercial drones go mainstream,” said a DJI spokesperson in a statement, expecting that the new enterprise drone, to be launhed in the second quarter of 2017 is going to be a pretty strong contender.

- Connecting communities: HPE allies Tata Comm

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said that it was working with Tata Communications to support the roll-out of India’s first LoRaWAN (LoRa) based network. The company made this announcement at MWC 2017

Tata Communications unveiled plans for the LoRa network last year. It is part of Tata Communications’ long-term strategy of creating mobile platforms and ecosystems that enable its customers and partners to connect people and IoT-connected devices seamlessly on a global scale. The first phase of the roll-out targets Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities in India, touching over 400 million people. Alongside successful field trials in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, there are also 35 proof-of-concept applications in trial on the network.

The association between Tata Communications and HPE paves the way for a new era in enabling devices with embedded connectivity for enterprise customer solutions throughout the country. The project involves connecting  devices, applications and other IoT solutions over the LoRa network  in smart buildings, campus, utilities, fleet management, security and healthcare services in nearly 2,000 communities, covering over 400 million people, making it the first-of-its-kind initiative in India.

Making Inroads into the Enterprise Territory

There are a number of other companies displaying the cutting-edge products and technologies that define the future of enterprise mobility. While in the previous years, the MWC typically showcased handset makers’ latest mobile devices, the event has evolved into something much larger this year, much beyond consumer technology, thereby making deeper inroads into the enterprise territory.

Experts believe, today, as there is a thin line between consumer devices and enterprise tools., between BYOD and the personal mobile lifestyle of users, it’s become almost natural for people to use their mobile device for everything, including email, research and networking. Hence this trend will continue to reflect in international events such as MWC in the coming years.