Iprova’s Neville Adams reflects on his recent visit to Mobile World Congress…..

Despite having attended Mobile World Congress several times over the years (including before its move to Barcelona), I never cease to be amazed by the enormity of the event. The bounce back after Covid is now complete and the show is moving forwards with confidence. Now that the dust has settled, expense claims have been submitted and inboxes restored to their normal level, it is a suitable time to reflect on my week at one of the world’s largest trade shows.

For me, there were probably six  key take-aways from MWC that are worth highlighting:

  • Security – This will always be at the top of the agenda and the fact that it remains there just shows that, although constantly evolving, the number of threats and the potential harm that they can cause has not diminished.
  • Open APIs – Again a theme that has been around for a while, but it still remains the case that exposing a common set of APIs is one of the primary methods of driving scale.
  • Sustainability – This is a key trend in many sectors, but telcos are certainly looking to play a leading role in moving towards net zero.
  • AI at the edge. – The debate continues, but applying AI applications at the edge, in physical devices closer to the edge of the network where the data is located rather than centrally in the cloud is a discussion that will continue for a while.
  • 5G Advanced- Many operators expect 6G R&D to be used to further improve and enhance 5G networks. The expectation is that commercial solutions will begin to appear in mid-2024, once 3GPP’s release 18 is finalised. 
  • Open RAN -This is the ongoing shift in mobile network architectures which allows service providers to use non-proprietary subcomponents from a variety of different vendors. The question is whether the benefits – greater competition and customer choice, improved network performance etc – outweigh the challenges – system integration problems, security risks etc?

However, above all of these was the discussion around generative AI. There is a lot of hype around AI in general and generative AI in particular. At Iprova, we have many years’ experience in AI and have already harnessed the power of generative AI in our platform. Although it is sector-agnostic and is used in sectors such as FMCG, automotive and healthcare, our Invention Studio invention platform also has many users in the telecoms sector, where we have helped create a wide variety of new and innovative inventions.

However, the role that standards play in telecoms should not be underestimated. So much so that we recently launched a new 3GPP module  in our Invention Studio platform to include specialised functionality for members of the 3GPP standards project. The enhanced version allows project members to monitor contributions to the 5G (and, later, 6G) standards in real-time, as well as to expand and build upon these contributions to develop innovative technologies for these standards. Further details are available here.

As with so many aspects of business life, those with the best tools tend to win. In telecoms security, those with the best security tools have the safest networks. In invention and IP, those with the best invention tools  win the (very lucrative) race to invent. Those who have the best tool for both monitoring standards and then developing inventions to meet those standards will stay ahead of the competition.

Many of these topics will still be on everyone’s list at MWC in 2025, but those using the best tools will probably be at least a step ahead of those that aren’t – and they are likely to have  effective solutions to bring to the table, rather than still just talking about the latest trends.

Have a great year and see you in Barcelona next year for MWC 2025!