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MWC20 Barcelona predictions

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Several key executives comment on what will be key trends at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, taking place in Barcelona at the end of this month.

Ingo Flomer, CTO, Cobham Wireless believes growth of IIoT will create new market opportunities :

“We are slowly seeing a new industrial internet of things (IIoT) or industry 4.0 emerging across the globe, with particular advances in Germany and China. This is a result of the enhanced capabilities of 5G; which will enable ultra-low-latency, high-reliability connectivity and help to power real-time transmission and analysis of data between sensors, system and machines.

“However, live 5G deployments in smart factories are still few and far between. So, while we’ll see some impressive proof-of-concepts at MWC (as well as examples of 5G-powered IIoT in action), demand for 5G in-building among heavy industry will remain low. The emergence of 5G connectivity in the sector will be gradual, as deployments will require a costly overhaul of existing architectures.

“Therefore, it’s likely that 2020 will be a transitionary period from 4G to 4.5G and (in some cases) to 5G. As such, there will be a growing demand for coverage systems which can support 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services, as well as multiple operators, on a common infrastructure. While 5G will undoubtedly be an important and exciting topic of conversation at MWC, exhibitors and attendees will also need to focus on how existing infrastructures and business models can best support new developments and technologies.”

Mikaël Schachne, CMO & VP of Mobility and IoT Business at telecommunications provider BICS, says that collaboration and convergence for IoT growth and critical network security will be crucial this year:

“5G presents a major growth area (both in terms of innovations and operator and enterprise revenues), however, the majority of deals, demos and discussions at MWC20 will continue to focus on 4G. To be more precise, they’ll focus on the 4G-powered IoT and the ways in which enterprises will take on functions traditionally limited to the telco space. This doesn’t mean the future is a gloomy one for operators and legacy players though. Instead, they’ll use MWC to demonstrate how they’re seizing the opportunities presented by the current connectivity landscape, and becoming providers of solutions that enterprises will need.

“We’ll also see more collaborations between long-standing industry players and those operating in vertical markets. The results of many of these collaborations will likely be on show to attendees; either as tangible demonstrations of IoT propositions, or data proof points of KPIs met and exceeded, and of the value added to both businesses and their end-users.

“There’s a second topic that will continue to impact the vast majority of exhibitors and attendees at MWC: security. Attacks on operators’ networks continue to grow, but while this evolving threat landscape will pose significant challenges for operators, it’ll also create an opportunity for service providers to develop new value-added security propositions. As industries converge and the divide between digital and traditional communications sectors grows ever-narrower, an increasing number of operators, CSPs and digital service providers will seek technologies that combine legacy telecoms-specific fraud solutions with cybersecurity approaches, such as pen testing.”

Steve Papa, CEO of software-enabled solutions provider Parallel Wireless, says that operators will use MWC to explore Huawei alternatives:

“Security and lack of openness concerns over the use of Huawei technology is set to slowly limit the company’s role in developing many of the Western world’s telecoms networks. The UK government, for example, has banned Huawei from all sensitive parts of operators’ core networks in the country. Operators from across the globe will be using MWC as an opportunity to explore innovative alternatives to Huawei.

“Huawei’s technology, whilst initially cheap, locks operators into lengthy and costly network upgrade cycles once installed. The vendor’s technology is also incompatible with other suppliers, preventing operators from introducing new, innovative technology as they look to differentiate their 5G services.

“Many operators will be using MWC to explore Open RAN technology as an alternative to the closed model of building networks, using the big manufacturers. The OpenRAN initiative allows operators to introduce more software and use a broader selection of best-in-class equipment to develop new 5G networks and manage legacy equipment, fostering greater openness and innovation in the industry.”

Anthony Goonetilleke, Group President, Media, Network and Technology at software and services provider Amdocs, says that cloud gaming and 5G will move closer to the edge:

“When it comes to gaming, we’re starting to see a move from hardware to streaming platforms, which 5G networks can better enable. The big differentiators we’ll see demonstrated at MWC2020 will be around edge computing and low latency. The console experience will evolve to the home hub, and service providers will be getting intro streaming-type gaming systems, asking, ‘how do I own the HDMI port to every TV set in the house’, either via gaming or content.”

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