MWC Los Angeles Day 1 – There Has Never Been a More Exciting Time to Be a Part of The Mobile Industry

How much value does the global mobile ecosystem generate? $500 billion? $1 trillion?

How about the GDP of the fourth biggest economy in the world, Germany? That’s over $4 trillion in value every year.

During the MWC Los Angeles opening keynote on Tuesday, executives from the GSMA, Viacom and CTIA discussed how to deliver massive value from the global mobile ecosystem.


A Connected World

According to GSMA Director General Mats Granryd, there are four technologies converging to reshape the mobile industry: 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Big Data.

“We’re living in an era where hyper connectivity and big data converge,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “Right now, there has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the mobile industry.”

Granryd explained how these technologies are already being used for social good. The low latency of 5G will make training for different jobs easier, like delivering vocational training from thousands of miles away—”a classroom in your pocket.”

Granryd also explained how big data is being used to track tuberculosis outbreaks and predict where the next one will be, deploying aid before the outbreak occurs.

“When we combine [these technologies] for good, the results are life-changing and critically life-saving.”


Challenges Ahead

While there are many applications and possibilities for technologies like 5G and IoT, communications service provides will need to overcome some key challenges to deliver value, according to GSMA Chairman Stéphane Richard.

One challenge is a loss of trust in the global supply chain. The mobile industry has invested over $2.7 trillion in capex while offering lower and lower prices. Couple with fragmented markets and technical fragmentation, CSPs need the right pricing models and the right interoperable solutions.

The second challenge, noted Richard, was the loss of trust in the protection of “digital life,” or consumer data. Customers are afraid their online data will be exploited.

“You cannot be protected anymore by a closed door,” said Richard.

Later on in the keynote, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai echoed that sentiment when discussing the importance of the security of IT networks and cybersecurity.

“This is not an area where we can afford to take a risk and hope for the best,” said Pai.


Content for All

Technology can be used social good, but it also has a big role to play in media and entertainment, noted Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom.

“Mobile is playing a part in the disruption of the entertainment industry,” said Bakish. “Consumers don’t want to pay extra for mobile video.”

According to Bakish, the time for premium mobile video is now, a time when CSPs and media companies can build an ecosystem to deliver the content customers want. And having the consumer at the center is key.

“We’ve put consumer insight at the heart of the content strategy,” said Bakish.

Bakish also charted the evolution from 3G to 4G to 5G in terms of entertainment, where 3G was the pre-mobile video era (think cat videos on YouTube in 2006), 4G is where we are today (streaming video on mobile devices), and 5G will be the era of interactive experiences like augmented and virtual reality.

“Existing and new forms of content to push mobile to the forefront of video consumption,” said Bakish, showing a clip from Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report.”

But while 5G has already begun enabling new content use cases, some other ones just might have to wait.

“Clearly, we’re going to have to wait for 6G or 7G for the transporter,” quipped Bakish to close out his keynote, referring to the teleportation technology from the seminal 1960s series “Star Trek.”

Want to learn more about how your company can innovate in the mobile industry? Check out our thoughts on digital innovation.