IoT, Big Data, 5G and Virtual Reality – all a Reality at the Mobile World Congress 2016



On 27 February - 2 March, DataArt exhibited with Canonical at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The sheer scope of the world’s biggest mobile industry event was mind boggling – 100,000 attendees and 2200 exhibitors spanned nine halls and one dozen outdoor spaces at Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc.

DataArt demoed enterprise predictive maintenance IoT solution, enabling preventative, condition-based monitoring of a piece of manufacturing equipment. We used accelerometer-based sensors and an IoT gateway running Snappy Ubuntu Core to capture the vibration profile of a fan and analyzed it in AWS, to determine whether it’s in range of a normally operating equipment, and if not - to trigger a maintenance alert.

Interestingly, telecommunications providers like AT&T were set to claim IoT territory at the Congress. IoT is clearly a business opportunity for them as over a trillion of connected devices by 2020 will create a previously unprecedented demand for Internet connectivity. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A truly transformational potential comes from the ability of network and communications service providers to leverage existing billing relationships and home hardware to bundle personalized smart home solutions and interactive content with broadband, TV, telephone and mobile services.

However, this leap up the value chain requires an evolution of the telecommunication providers’ business model and pricing mechanisms and an even more radical evolution of their software infrastructure. Providers have to build an integrated and secure platform, capable of connecting different devices, protocols and ecosystems. Interestingly, some technology companies already provide such infrastructure, although they lack an existing relationship with millions of potential customers. It seems that some form of partnership between telecoms and technology companies is the sure way forward.

Walking hand in hand with the IoT was another anthem of the Congress - 5G networks. Glenn Lurie, CEO at AT&T Mobility, mentioned that 5G standards will be finalized in 2018 and network rollouts are to begin in 2020. This will mean an enormous increase in speed and a tremendous improvement in network latency, so we will be downloading a movie in 2-3 seconds, IoT will become mainstream and virtual reality will indeed become a reality. As investment cycle for networks is accelerating, mobile carriers need to come up with new pricing models to catch up with the necessary network investments that make these services a reality.

It seemed that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was set to ensure that the infrastructure of the connected world can handle Facebook’s future plans and to inspire telecommunication providers to join efforts and share designs to accelerate the spread of 5G connectivity. While Zuckerberg talked of communications shifting to 360 video, he also promoted less obvious applications for VR- education, security and tourism.

MWC left no doubts that we will see the Internet of Things really proliferate in the the context of 5G networks. IoT is the future and integration of IoT is essential for almost all products and services to remain relevant. Most THIGNS from home devices to cows will be connected to the Internet in the near future.

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