Mobile World Congress 2016 with The IET

Mobile technology is growing and developing at an exceptional rate and this year’s congress provided in-depth coverage of the current and future mobile industry with over 100,000 people attending. Highlighting specific areas of growth as well as the latest technological developments, next generation services and growth strategies, some of the major themes were predictable like 5G, IoT, and VR


5G entered industry’s consciousness last year and activities around the globe have caught on since then. Last year, there were more questions about 5G than answers. Some of the questions are starting to get answered now and we are getting clarity on others. However, the specification timeline still states around 2019 with full standard deployments not before 2020.

Exhibit on display at mobile world congress 2016  

Internet of things (IoT)

IoT use cases are becoming more crisp and clear from many sectors. There is steady growth in how IoT is getting integrated into both industrial and consumer worlds.As expected there are efforts underway to streamline and unfragment the stack. 

People around the innovation city display at mobile world congress 2016  
Virtual Reality

VR – the next communication platform – The emerging world of VR/AR is quite exciting. The technology is moving forward well. One of the key 5G use cases is going to be VR as it will require high capacity delivery of bits to the headset. 

Exhibit on display at mobile world congress 2016  

Smart Cities and the Smart Citizen

On the first day of the show, Ahmed Kotb, Information and Communications Head of Sector organised a session in partnership with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). The session, chaired by Alan Howard, Sector Head for Thought Leadership, entitled ‘Smart Cities and the smart citizen’ focused on cities’ capabilities to meet the needs of people and their communities. Involving experts from industry, academia and government, the topics that were covered included markets and monetisation, big data, mobile infrastructure, telehealth and cyber security. The panellists were Catherine Mulligan, Head of Digital Strategy and Economics at Future Cities Catapult, Payam Barnaghi, Lecturer at the Institute of Communication Systems at the University of Surrey and Professor Matt Wilson, Founder and Chairman of Telecoms Cloud.

Alan Howard in discussion with experts at mobile world congress 2016  

IET President Naomi Climer at Mobile World Congress

On Wednesday, 24 February, IET President Naomi Climer attended the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where she was asked to interview the CEOs of Cisco, GE Digital, Royal Caribbean and Turkcell on stage for a keynote session.

Ahmed Kotb interviewing Naomi Climer at mobile world congress 2016  

Topics covered included Industrial Internet of Things and how this has more game changing possibilities than the consumer IoT. The opportunity to get energy generation, transport, city infrastructures, engines etc. running in a more connected way with smart automation could mean massive productivity increases.

The panel also talked about the need to train staff in new skills such as analytics and of course – the need to ensure security. For industrial applications, this is less about privacy and more about making sure that machines cannot be controlled by anyone unauthorized.

Walking around Mobile World Congress – it did feel like somewhere that the IET should have a stronger presence – it’s definitely in our heartland and a space where so much world changing technology is emerging, I hope we can play a bigger part in the show in future years.