What to expect from Mobile World Congress #mwc17

What to expect from Mobile World Congress #mwc17

What to expect from Mobile World Congress #mwc17
Europe's largest technology show is staged in the Catalan capital city of Barcelona every year.

Mobile World Congress is Europe’s biggest gathering of IT professionals. As a conference, exhibition, symposium and learning forum, this event has arguably been putting ‘mobile first’ before the term even existed. Internet of Business has packed its bags and is off to sunny Spain.

No sexism please, we’re diverse

Let’s get the unpleasant stuff tabled upfront. In recent years, Mobile World Congress (MWC) has still featured so-called ‘booth babes’, which most people (of all genders) now find increasingly out of place, dated… oh and yes, somewhat sexist. One Russian mobile firm even had a ‘dancing hostesses show’ as recently as 2012. Such times have now passed.

That said, social channels were abuzz this week after one writer penned a ‘7 MWC stereotypes piece’ and proved that his image of the event still featured most of the characters that have become emblematic of IT trade shows over the years. His use of imagery and tone was, for many readers, unwelcome. But he ‘did it in the name of satire’ he claimed. So that’s alright then is it?

Computer (smartphone or tablet in this case) says no.

IoT developer workshops

So moving on, what of the tech? We do know that #mwc17 will feature a good percentage of IoT-related sessions, including a number of hands-on workshops for software application developers. CTO and cofounder of cloud-native connectivity specialist Soracom Kenta Yasukawa, for example, will present a session on how to direct IoT device packet traffic.

One of the bigger sessions is entitled ‘Enabling IoT Platforms – The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (you can view the speaker list here) and indeed the show features a higher level IoT Summit in its own right.

Truth be told, every vendor from the specialist embedded device geeks (we use the term with love), to the tech behemoth ‘usual suspects’ (SAP, IBM, CA Technologies, Huawei, Accenture and so on), will be showcasing their understanding of and ‘solutions’ (we use the term with nausea) for the IoT.

Red Hat – beyond the IoT hype

Given the maturity and diversity that the IoT now claims, can we move beyond the hype?

Internet of Business spoke directly to Lis Strenger in her role as senior principal product marketing manager for IoT and emerging architectures at Red Hat. Strenger argues yes, IoT has moved beyond the hype phase, because there are countless examples in virtually every industry of devices collecting reams of data.

But how much of that data is used in a meaningful way to automate or shape processes? “It’s time for IoT developers to move beyond the initial challenge of just connecting devices and work on getting them to communicate and listen,” she said.

Strenger has some direct advice for developers at MWC. She says they should use this opportunity to discover technologies that will help them address this next challenge, which is essentially one of integration with enterprise data systems.

“For IoT, that means looking at mobile edge computing architectures that bridge to back-end systems and support real-time analytics, data security, and data pre-processing at the edge, so that only the right data is transported at the right time and in the right format,” she added.

NXP – protecting the I in the IoT

Also of note is Dutch global semiconductor manufacturer NXP Semiconductor. With its specialism in embedded computing, NXP will host a panel discussion entitled ‘GDPR and the Internet of Things: Protecting the I in the IoT’.

As well as NXP’s own executive vice president of global sales and marketing Steve Owen, this panel also features Nikolaos Isaris in his role as deputy head of unit for IoT at the European Commission.

According to NXP, “Expanding security around the ‘I’ in IoT now includes protecting ‘identity’ and this now gains new meaning and a political dimension. Representatives from the European Commission, business and legal experts will talk about privacy and security requirements that will become necessary not only for compliance to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect for all EU member states in May 2018, but also to prepare for further regulation.”

A snapshot of the big pot

This is merely a snapshot, obviously. We could go on and talk about Nokia’s plans to unveil further details of its WING (Worldwide Internet of things Network Grid) project.

We could talk about HappyOrNot, the instant customer and employee experience reporting and data analytics service, which will be showcasing its application of Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology.

We could talk about software testing company Parasoft and its continuous testing for the Internet of Things (IoT) product. The company reminds us that testing IoT devices and applications can be difficult due to the many external dependencies, interfaces and unpredictable environments at play. Parasoft aims to help programmers to perfect IoT software by enabling them more accurately simulate market conditions and potential network traffic, as part of their functional, performance and security testing.

Octopus tapas, anyone?

… and finally, it’s not all work, work, work.

There’s plenty of good downtime to be had at Mobile World Congress and ‘refreshing beverages’ usually start to creep out onto most stands at the end of the day. There’s jamon, jamon and more jamon, because the Spanish love the jamon and the rest of the world likes it, too.

There are, arguably, rather too many cold rubbery ‘pulpo’ (octopus tapas) served on little sticks, but as a protein-based snack, even the non-octopus eaters will often be seen to succumb.

As a final note for any pro-European, non-Brexit advocates who want to bond and engage to the maximum, this Catalan phrase may come in handy: ¡He votat a romandre a Europa!

(Translation: “I voted to remain in Europe.”)