Mobile World Congress 2018

Connected life gets personal

MWC always swings round with high expectations. Often met. And this will be my 20th year.

I recall when Bill Gates turned up in Cannes. Of course, nowadays it’s Zuckerberg and cohort. But Gates’ arrival was that first bellow of Apache smoke drifting upwards, across a sun-soaked Croisette, signalling change was on the horizon. And sure enough, change came. Cannes’ restauranteurs reluctantly passed the baton to Barcelona’s culinary rebels. And it’s no longer 12,000 but closer to 120,000 visitors.

What was a cosy enclave of mobile infrastructure behemoths, is now jostling with the wider eco-system of social enterprise firms, consultants and verticals.

So what am I expecting this year?

I expect AI and machine learning to steal the headlines. So, it won’t happen overnight but I reckon Zuckerberg and entourage will, in the next few years, pass the baton to the social economists, humanists and anthropologists trying to make sense of a new economic and social order.

As the complexity of billions of connected things and people, hits home, AI and machine learning will have to take on the heavy lifting. AI will shape these new neural networks into intelligent organic extensions of our lives and businesses.

Talks about the threat to our very being, purpose and identity will no doubt be the chorus. Note to self... ‘Better find a hobby fast, and keep an eye out for that monthly stipend from a friendly government, to keep us shopping’. We shall see. That’s probably not in my lifetime, but our children’s? Most certainly.

AI. Hidden intelligence. An organic neural force. Reading our emotions and needs. That’s the theme I’m expecting to weave through MWC’18. And given I left my Boom speaker behind this trip, and brought Alexa with me instead, sums up how in the space of two months, I can’t live without some invisible force guiding my life. Hello hobby. Alexa? Get to work.

Andrew Reid

Andrew Reid

Author: Andrew Reid is a director at Shelton Fleming Associates – CX experts in how B2B brands engage senior level audiences, through live experiences and immersive, digital content.

Further reading