Key Trends From The Mobile World Congress 2023

An Authored article by Mr. Niranjan Gidwani, Consultant Director | Member UAE Superbrands Council | Charter Member Tie Dubai | Hbr Advisory Council

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is one of the biggest tech trade shows in the world and is an agenda-setting event for the mobile communications industry.
After being cancelled in 2020, postponed in 2021 and held on a much smaller scale in 2022, MWC 2023 has generated much excitement this year and is all geared to welcome over 80,000 attendees and over 2,000 exhibitors. Here are a few key trends, pointers and takeaways from the MWC 2023:

-Telecom industry joins the AI race
Major chip companies, telecommunication operators and more are showing off technologies related to “generative AI”.
The world will be seeing much proliferation of AI use cases across industries with the success that ChatGPT saw through its release.

-Foldable and other high-end smartphones launches
Besides the top two global brands recently launching their flagship products, major Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo and Honor have also introduced their latest flagship smartphones at MWC 2023.
According to IDC data, global smartphone shipments fell 11.3% in 2022, with the most significant drop occurring in the final quarter of last year.The question, therefore, is whether flashy new launches can revive the smartphone market amid a global economic slowdown.
Foldable, though still niche and premium, has shown promise to drive the next phase of growth in the smartphone segment. The cumulative global foldable shipments since Q2 2019 crossed the 20Mn mark by the end of Q3 2022. Shipments are expected to reach 23 Mn units in the year 2023. (Source – Counterpoint)
Yet, with several global launches each year, what happens to the commitment to global sustainability?

-5G and 6G
While more non-telecom companies have joined MWC each year, mobile communication technology is still the main attraction at the Barcelona trade show.
The key theme will be to see how 5G is emerging as a viable alternative to fixed connectivity in many instances. The era of 5G makes it possible for telecom operators to use different suppliers for different network parts. This, in turn, opens up immense new possibilities.
6G, the sixth-generation mobile system standard currently under development, is also generating some interest at MWC 2023.

-The era of ABIOT (AI, Blockchain and IoT)
IoT is beginning to start gaining traction. It plays a vital role in collecting data through sensors, facilitating two-way communication and enabling superior action.
AI takes on the responsibility of ‘thinking’ by analyzing the large data sets generated by IoT and working as though it is human-like intelligence.
And blockchain ensures secure and transparent record-keeping to enable transactions.
-IoT consolidation
This area should have picked up more. One of the key reasons is that this is highly fragmented, with several thousand players competing for a share of the market and many products and companies creating silos where their products cannot talk to each other.
The intense competition has led to a reduction in margins even before the technology has gone mass scale.
2023 is the start of de-fragmentation through mergers and acquisitions.
Cybersecurity has become more crucial than ever due to the rapid digital transformation across industries and the transition to Web 3.0. The legacy security architecture must be improved in several ways, making it grossly inadequate.
If even more rapid transitioning has to happen, this area is going to be centre stage and assume significant importance.

eSIM is now rapidly moving towards becoming the preferred mode of cellular connectivity.
In 2023, do expect a significant increase in the adoption of eSIM technology, with many more IoT modules equipped with this technology.

As a race, we continue to consume the Earth’s resources almost twice as fast as its replenishment capacity.
Good companies are becoming conscious of their usage of resources and the efficiency of their business processes. Companies are only now starting to use technology to alter the process flow to achieve greater efficiencies and lower carbon footprint.
The question remains – is enough being done?
-China Tech
Chinese tech companies were noticeably absent from MWC and many other major trade shows in the past few years due to China’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, which were only lifted in January 2023.
After being unable to meet clients and partners overseas for so long, Chinese executives are eager to rebuild relationships and explore new markets. And with the U.S. market increasing the handicap level for the likes of Huawei and ZTE, MWC Barcelona provides China tech companies with a window to try to win over the relatively friendlier European and other markets.
Increasingly, over the past few decades, organizations across the world have had to factor in geopolitics as a critical pillar in their strategic decision-making process.
Take this example – A page on the MWC website states that GSMA and its affiliates “must comply with all applicable U.S., U.K. and EU trade sanctions.
MWC used to be a prime opportunity for Huawei to market its consumer electronics business, with the company’s logo and smartphone advertisements splashed across the city during the event.
With governments worldwide creating new regulations, cracking down for various reasons, and creating silos, Geopolitics could be the key hindrance to the growth of this industry in 2023.
By 2024, expect good Indian firms to be present at MWC.
This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.
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