Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

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Entering the Era of 5G: MWC Barcelona 2019

I can’t even count how many times I have visited Barcelona. This doesn’t change the fact that every visit gives me a similar thrill and a fresh, exciting experience, just as if I were discovering it for the very first time.

Of course, I came here to attend MWC Barcelona 2019 (as I have been doing for many years now), this year held under the watchword “Intelligent Connectivity” (last year it was “Creating a better future”). However, Barcelona makes me think first and foremost about Gaudi’s architectural masterworks, being way ahead of the author’s time and way too modern for the times that followed. To this day, Gaudi’s projects remain an utterly unique phenomenon, being an architectural counterpart of James Joyce’s literary works. Architecture enthusiasts see them as a true symbol of the city. Gaudi’s masterpiece, the still-under-construction La Sagrada Família Basílica, is for Barcelona much like the Eiffel Tower is for Paris. Gaudi began working on the project in 1883. According to the estimates, the church should finally be completed around… 2030.

MWC Barcelona 2019 (formerly Mobile World Congress) is, undoubtedly, one of the most important events for the entire new tech industry. This means that it’s the place to be for everyone who wants to capture the heartbeat of the market and understand what direction the world is heading in. And it’s not an exaggeration. During the past 10 years, technological advancement has led to the development of a harmonious ecosystem with a nervous system made of mobile technologies. The basic task of 3G technology was to connect people with people. And the goal of 4G was to connect people with the network, since it reduced the transfer time of large files from long hours to a couple of minutes. The 5G technology, with which it takes only a few seconds to perform a similar task, will make it possible to connect everything with everything, literally speaking. The 5G is the herald of the digital era and the ongoing digitisation of our everyday lives.

The coming 5G revolution was enthusiastically discussed during last year’s meeting in Barcelona. Data rates of several Gb/s and the network capacity multiplied by several orders of magnitude will constitute a true cornerstone of the new reality. However, the main topic of MWC Barcelona 2019 is not the 5G technology itself, but the possibilities it offers. What will be the face of the digital reality that awaits us, shaped by 5G-interconnected smart devices (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud solutions?

Let’s try to picture the idea conjured up at MWC Barcelona 2019: streams of data flowing constantly from the myriad sensors installed in our wearable devices, home appliances and installations, industrial plants, hospitals, vehicles (both autonomous and human-driven) and on every street. The omnipresent Internet of Things and artificial intelligence sieving through a plethora of cloud-stored data and communicating in real time with users and devices, managing smart buildings, smart communication systems and smart cities, monitoring the condition of patients in hospitals, the situation on the roads, online customer behaviour, thus pervading every area of life.

What a brilliant vision! A vision that is way ahead of its time, just like the works of Gaudi. A vision of a world of the future, which could be grasped during this year’s MWC Barcelona event.

When will it come into being? Well, pretty soon. According to predictions, by the end of 2019, 5G technology will be present in 21 different markets. Up to 2025 (and therefore in just the next six years), the 5G network will service 15% of all the wireless connections worldwide. It’s easy to guess that the 5G technology will be most quickly adapted in Asia-Pacific and North America, but Europe will definitely not remain too far behind the leaders.

Is that all? Of course not! The 5G revolution and what it may entail, the Internet of Things, cloud and artificial intelligence are only some of the many topics of significant value to our future development discussed during the event. Of course, it’s simply impossible to enumerate them all, yet each of them is definitely worth a separate column. For example, let’s have a look at so-called intelligently connected experiences, meaning an in-depth and comprehensive customer knowledge based on the AI-relying analysis of customer behaviour. It’s quite obvious that the customer market will very soon adopt it as a basic and universally used tool of analysis. Let’s be honest: the currently used tools do not yield particularly accurate assessments as to the content to be addressed to customers. In fact, each of us experiences this every day. Artificial intelligence learning from experience will be a game changer, moving the analysis of consumer behaviour to a whole new level.

Another prospective technology that could be applied in several domains is immersive content, meaning a new type of content generated in virtual or augmented reality (VR and AR), providing users with a whole new type of experience. It’s not only about gaming. The wide range of application it offers includes, among others, immersive product display, immersive advertisements and immersive television, thanks to which the viewer will get an impression that they are standing right in the middle of events.

Last but not least, we’re about to experience a dynamic development of the mobile health market. The stimulation of specific areas of the brain by means of electrical impulses sent by small electrodes connected with a smartphone equipped with a dedicated application is the future of weight loss! I bet many of you are breathing a sigh of relief. Forget about miracle diets that come and go, depending on what’s in vogue at the moment, and usually bring nothing but disappointment. And yet why stimulate only the brain, when we can do it with the nerves and muscles, achieving various desirable effects? Who would have thought that one day neuroscience and mobile technologies would come together hand in hand!

I love Barcelona and I could follow Gaudi’s footsteps for days. However, I’m not here to rest. Every idea discussed during this year’s MWC Barcelona will soon become reality, and in the case of such companies as ABC Data such ideas have already found their reflection in the ongoing business activity. Leaders must always stay ahead of their times. Just like that great architect.

 

MWC Barcelona 2019 official website:

https://www.mwcbarcelona.com/

MWC Barcelona 2019 in a nutshell:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2019/03/04/5gmwc19-reflections-on-mobile-world-congress-2019/

5G in medicine, i.e. remote supervision of a surgical procedure during MWC Barcelona 2019:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/27/tech/5g-surgery-mobile-world-congress/index.html

One of the more cautious and reliable forecasts for 5G development over the next five years:

https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/technology/technology-media-and-telecom-predictions/5g-wireless-technology-market.html

The future of weight loss: electrodes instead of dieting:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2017/08/09/modius-could-this-wearable-wellness-gadget-really-help-you-lose-weight-without-dieting/#373a9481290d

https://www.wareable.com/health-and-wellbeing/modius-headset-review-559

For those interested in technical aspects: technical sheets related to 5G:

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/study-groups/rsg5/rwp5d/imt-2020/Documents/S01-1_Requirements%20for%20IMT-2020_Rev.pdf

Antonio Gaudi:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud%C3%AD

A list of Gaudi buildings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gaud%C3%AD_buildings

Sagrada Família’s homepage:

http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/architecture/wmc

 

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