Technology trends at Mobile World Congress 2018

GSMA at MWC 2018Mobile technology vendors such as Amdocs, NETSCOUT, BICS, Blue Danube Systems, Cobham Wireless, Mimosa Networks, among others, have revealed the trends to watch at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona.

Telecom operators have started making investments in the adoption of AI platforms to drive customer engagement. AI investment enables service providers to deal with the high volumes of inbound requests.

Mobile operators globally are considering investment in machine learning and automation because these innovative technologies are essential due to the speed, scale, or complexity of the customer data that needs to be processed.

“AI can save operators time and money – reducing inbounds to call centres by around 15 percent, while increasing net promoter scores by 20 percent,” Doron Youngerwood, product manager, Artificial Intelligence, Amdocs, said.

IoT will be one of the highlights of MWC 2018, the largest telecom event in the world. The number of connected devices is predicted to reach 30.73 billion by 2020 – offering challenges to telcos.

“Discussions in Barcelona will centre on how, instead of offering basic data plans for connectivity, IoT solutions will enable operators to provide “smart data” that can be monetised as part of IoT transactions,” John English, senior product manager, Service Providers, NETSCOUT, said.

Telecoms may be expanding their compensation into new IoT device and service payment schemes, as well as service level agreements, in order to relieve their dependency on flat rates and unlimited data plans for internet connectivity. This will allow them to create valuable new revenue streams and invest in their networks.

Business leaders at the MWC 2018 will be discussing about the need for global carrier-grade connectivity.

“This in turn will drive conversations around roaming at the show. Our recent data reveals an astonishing growth in LTE data roaming traffic, including an increase last year of up to 800 percent in Europe during the summer months compared with 2016,” Daniel Kurgan, CEO, BICS, said.

Security issues will also finding a space during the telecom event. Technology is advancing and fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated, meaning operators must look to stop threats before they hit.

“Protecting networks, revenues, customers and business reputation requires a global, collaborative approach, with organisations working together to safeguard communications and connectivity,” Daniel Kurgan said.

Telecom operators are facing mobile network quality issues due to heavy usage by data consumers.

Innovative technology that can address operators’ capacity demands and performance issues in high-density areas, in a cost-effective way.

“Innovations in Massive MIMO technology can direct antenna energy to areas where users are accessing high-bandwidth services, whilst directing it away from areas where there are no, or fewer users. It can also reduce overall network interference by directing radio frequency signals to desired users,” Sesh Krishnamoorthy, director, Product Management at Blue Danube Systems, said.

Smart cities will be a major point of focus at MWC 2018, from the autonomous vehicles which will transport their citizens to the innovations in the medical industry which will help improve welfare.

Digital DAS deployed in a C-RAN model will emerge as the critical network architecture required to make these concepts a reality, allowing capacity to be cost-effectively distributed to different sectors of a building or areas across a smart city. This approach can support a wide range of applications, including cellular, public safety and last-mile IP backhaul for WiFi services, such as surveillance cameras and IoT devices.

“Vendors will be working to ensure their technology can support coverage related demand, as updating networks and technologies to support smart infrastructure further down the line will be prohibitively expensive for many,” Rami Hasarchi, VP Coverage, Cobham Wireless (Coverage business).

Conversation about the future of the connected automotive industry will fill at MWC, with numerous parties keen to get a slice of this lucrative pie.

“Expect announcements at MWC of further trials of driverless cars, and new collaborations between AI and machine learning specialists, and vehicle manufacturers,” Li-Ke Huang, research and technology director, Cobham Wireless (network testing business), said.

While Millimeter wave 5G connectivity was the focus at MWC last year, service providers will be focusing their attention on the properties of the mid-band spectrum for delivering 5G connectivity this year.

The mid-band is set to become the workhorse for urban 5G capacity as well as wireless broadband in residential and rural areas. These complementary mobile and fixed applications are pushing to expand in the mid-band because of improved propagation characteristics.

“Broader coverage afforded by mid-band spectrum will reduce the cost to deploy 5G mobile capacity in cities and will also accelerate deployments of fibre-fast dedicated wireless broadband solutions in unserved and underserved areas,” Jaime Fink, CTO and co-founder, Mimosa Networks, said.

Technology innovation and solutions to improve business efficiency and customer experience will be the focus of MWC 2018.