With over 5 billion users, Mobile connects more than two-thirds of the world, making it THE driving force for innovation and the revolution of entire industries. The Mobile World Congress will once again deal with major mobile developments in 2018 and continues to develop as a platform for networking, information exchange and innovation.
B2X is looking forward to seeing the 2,300 exhibitors, conferences with inspiring keynotes and lots of old and new faces alike. In less than 2 months we will be in Barcelona, but where is the mobile world 2018? To kick off the year, we have done some research into the most exciting trends and tendencies.
1. The Digital Consumer – Mobile First
The smartphone is and remains the device of choice. Mobile connectivity is changing the lives of billions and promises instant access to services, information and entertainment. Between now and 2030, we will see billions of people and things that connect with each other online – this will be particularly prevalent on continents other than Europe and North America. As we have already mentioned in this blog post, smartphone usage is still heavily on the rise in Asia. Future growth will focus on countries such as India, China and Vietnam – eMarketer expects there to be 20 percent more smartphone sales in these countries in 2018. Network connections in emerging markets are steadily improving to meet demand.
In addition, development in these markets is different to development in Europe and North America. 65 percent of users use their smartphone as the only access device to the Internet. App usage grew by 22 percent, with consumers spending more than 50 percent of their digital time on apps. In developing countries, people are getting online for the first time in their lives with their first smartphone – most do not have a computer, laptop or tablet.
2. The End of the Smartphone as We Know It
Artificial intelligence is capturing the mobile market and will bring us digital assistants that are much more powerful than what we’ve seen so far. Last year we repeatedly heard the term app fatigue, used to describe the decreasing number of app downloads. However, not that many users are actually tired of their apps. On the contrary, they spend more time using mobile apps than ever before. So, what is the reason behind the slowing of app downloads? On the one hand, experience with apps is increasing and with it, people’s preferences have formed. Today’s users better know what they want, have found their favorites and consequently experiment less. On the other hand, there is a newfound enthusiasm for touchless user interfaces – the conditions in 2018 are better for this than ever before.
3. The Touchless User Interface
A good user interface made the smartphone what it is today. Up until now we’ve definitely needed physical interaction in some form. This will change in 2018 – focus on the touchless interface has been announced. Apple and Samsung are taking it in turns to be at the top in the race for first place. At the moment, the iPhone X is setting the tone with the Dot Projector, however Samsung will certainly not be far behind on this one. Based on the principle of touchless, most of the 2018 smartphone models will offer Face ID. In addition to the face, using voice is also coming more into fashion. Noone can resist the idea of coming home and simply calling out to the heating to adjust its temperature. Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri, along with all the other virtual assistants, are already training us to use our phones without our fingers. In 2018, speech recognition will enjoy significant developments. This way, it will be possible e.g. to receive individual responses based on the voice of the person speaking.
4. 5G – the Internet Is Getting Faster
We’ve been excited for this since last year and the prospects for 2018 are looking good. A functioning 5G network requires several complex technologies and capabilities. However, the industry and governments alike support the networks of the future, especially 5G. 5G will give us shorter waiting times for downloads and will mean less battery consumption. The biggest advantage will of course be the fact we’ll be able to load content faster. The first attempts are planned, though when and where exactly 5G will be available still remains a mystery. In fact, supplying 4G services is still a big challenge in many large markets. In addition to 5G, 2018 should also see work on other sites that improve life on the network e.g. LTE, multiple antennas and better modems. One of the focus topics at the World Mobile Congress will be the networks of the future, with several keynotes and discussions on the subject.
5. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Growth in the IoT brings along with it the need for each industry in 2018 to update existing technologies and support the move to an automated society. In 2018, IoT will have to unite the entire complexity of technology trends, business ideas, new collaborations and creativity on behalf of cities and governments. Already today, many mayors are dreaming of establishing the smart city of the future. So far, however, the IoT has primarily been successful as IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). This should change in 2018! Connected devices such as Wearables were already on their way to becoming a mainstream commodity in 2017. Former niche products of the IoT will be paired with conventional electronic devices in 2018, and a high-quality, powerful smartphone will become the key element of the connected world. We had already spoken of a growth in demand in the three-digit percentage range in our study on smartphone and IoT consumer trends 2017 – a true megatrend that will not be forgotten about on the podiums of the Mobile World Congress.
We would be excited to discuss these and other mobile trends with you at the Mobile World Congress. You can easily book a meeting with us through the official GSMA My MWC Event App in the Google Play Store or on Apple iTunes. We look forward to meeting you!
Kimberly Meyer is Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.