The shift to 5G
We can expect to hear a lot of discussion about 5G and what this next generation of wireless technology will mean for brands.
In the past, 3G and 4G technology was used as leverage by mobile phone brands such as EE and Three as a unique selling point. With mobile devices becoming more important than ever across devices it will be interesting to see what brands such as Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft are set to gain from the developments as much as the phone brands.
A statement by CCS Insight says: “The path to 5G and the battle for early leadership will be one of the shows hottest topics.”
A focus on customer experience
If last year was the year of the smartphone launch, this year sees the smartphone market slow its offering in new hardware and focus on what devices are really bringing to the consumer.
An increasingly competitive smartphone market means that brands launching their flagship handsets – a common practise at MWC, will be focusing on the experiences that the device can create for consumers rather than the hardware itself.
Brands such as Samsung, HTC and LG are set to launch devices that focus on services rather than the hardware, as devices increasingly look the same from brand to brand- a rectangular interface with smart capabilities.
The trend will be led by Samsung, who suffered from competition in the high-end market when it launched its flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, last year. The company has hinted at a service-focused device when they made the LoopPay acquisition earlier this month.
Jennifer Belissent, an analyst for Forrester, predicts that MWC will highlight the shift from devices to connectivity. She says: “The reign of mobility gives way to connectivity as the innovation spotlight shifts from the hardware to the software powering the Internet of Things.”
The next generation of wearables?
It wouldn’t be a tech event without mentioning how wearables are set to take over the market.
With Apple’s luxury smartwatch set to launch in March, there will be a whole host of brands trying to compete for space in the wearables market.
The new generation of smartwatches are seen to be much more fashionable than previous models, which has created some buzz on whether this will finally be the year that wearables join the mainstream market.
LG will be revealing its luxury smartwatches, the Urbane and Urbane LTE smartwatches, which are unique in that they run on SIM cards rather than Google’s Android Wear operating system.
Samsung is also rumoured to launch a new smartwatch and wearables based on its Tizen operating system.
Wearables like smartphones are focusing on creating connectivity with the consumer for an overall heightened consumer experience.
The mobile payments race
With mobile payments becoming increasingly popular this year as Google Pay launched its services in the UK in January, Apple Pay advanced its services, and now Samsung joining the mix with LoopPay, the area is likely to get a fair amount of attention at the event.
With Apple Pay stretching its services over the leading smartphone device the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, analysts predict an uplift in the mobile payments scene.
Using data to enrich customer experience
Analysts from Forrester believe that data will be a top trend at the Mobile World Congress, as companies are striving to leverage data to enrich customer experiences and engagement.
Dan Bieler, analyst for Forrester says: “The long-anticipated marriage between big data and mobility is finally happening- and I expect just about every vendor at MWC to claim a stake in these mobile wedding arrangements.”
Bieler adds that many big data business models remain undeveloped and it remains unclear about which brands will truly benefit.