MWC Los Angeles Day 2 – Intelligent Connectivity in Action

During the Day 2 keynote at MWC Los Angeles, communications service providers (CSPs) and entertainment executives touted the 5G advancements they’ve made and are still to come, and exciting use cases for the technology.


Use cases of the future

Many of the news-grabbing headlines surrounding 5G are mainly in the consumer space (think fixed wireless and augmented reality). But the one of the biggest opportunities is in B2B, said Tami Erwin, EVP and Group CEO of Verizon Business.

“5G will fundamentally change business’ digital transformation journey,” said Erwin.

It’s a journey that began with the first industrial revolution (the steam engine) and has continued through the second (electricity) and the third (computing). On the precipice of the fourth industrial revolution, we’ll enter a new era with use cases like virtual and augmented reality. And 5G will be at the center of that.

“The network that makes those connections possible is the key to everything else,” said Erwin.

And 5G will need some core capabilities to succeed, explained Erwin. One of the key areas is mobile data throughput.

“Today’s networks have an average latency of 80 milliseconds,” said Erwin. “With 5G, it’s less than 10.”

Low latency will be key for use cases like connected cars. During the keynote, Sprint’s Geldmacher shared how the company has opened a Curiosity IoT Lab in Atlanta with autonomous vehicles.

But the most striking use case Geldmacher shared was humanlike robots, and make the proximity of the robot’s “brain” closer to the body through a super-fast 5G connection.

It sounds futuristic, but it’s not that far away.

“By 2025, I think there will be lots of robots in the United States,” said Geldmacher.

But for many use cases, the future isn’t coming—it’s already here.

“It’s awesome to image what’s possible,” said Verizon’s Erwin. “It’s even better to see it in progress.”


Connected Play

5G connectivity will be essential for use cases like connected cars and drones, but one area you might not expect to see it is in connected gaming. But think about it—when you’re playing a game on your mobile device, do you want to miss a second of the action?

Jan Geldmacher, President of Sprint Business, doesn’t think so. During the keynote, he pointed out that the gaming industry in the United States represents about $30 billion, while the box office is only around $12 billion. The company has partnered with Hatch Gaming to support seamless gaming experiences.

“When you play the game on your smartphone, it’s processing the cloud,” said Geldmacher. “You can play in real time with low latency.”

But CSPs should also think about how they can provide connectivity for smartphones and for stadiums, said Kathryn Schloessman, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. Consumers want to be able to share the experience with others in real time.

“When you’ve been at a major event where you haven’t been able to send pictures, that’s not what you want when you walk away,” said Schloessman.

Better connectivity can help address that problem. It can also help sports fans avoid one of the biggest headaches: long lines. One potential use case discussed at MWC Barcelona earlier this year is an application that allows people to see when lines are the longest and what the ideal time is to come.

“The event [organizers] want people in the stadium,” said Schloessman. “Any way that technology allows that to happen in a convenient way is going to be positive.”

Ultimately, connectivity needs to add value to the in-person experience, explained Schloessman.

“We have to figure out how to make the experience in the stadium more compelling than watching it at home.”