MWC19 takeouts

With memories of another manic week in Barcelona fading fast, we asked some of those attending what they made of the event…

Johana Leeflang, head of global marketing, Glispa
“It was no surprise that many of the conversations this year focused on the long-discussed transition to 5G, with the subject continuing to top the agenda. However, the difference this year was that the technology being discussed started to feel more real. Mobile operators outlined timelines of 5G service rollouts and the likes of Samsung unveiled impressive 5G-capable foldable devices that demonstrated for all to see that 5G is officially now a reality.

“As such, mobile video looks set to become more competitive than ever, with the arrival of 5G forcing advertisers to step up their creative to produce more engaging storytelling in order to engage with digital audiences. Faster ad loading times will make in-app promotion more appealing and, without server delays, programmatic buying will improve and adapt.

“Moreover, new formats such as VR, AR, and mixed reality will become feasible options for advertisers, and playable ads will break free from 2D graphics, with 5G mitigating the bandwidth and latency issues that have previously restricted developments in these areas. What the event ultimately demonstrated was the enhanced viewing experience that 5G brings, positioning mobile video advertising as an exciting and attractive space to be in right now.”

Kumaran Sambandam, SVP global revenue, Mobfox
“MWC is the pinnacle for mobile technology and trends and this year did not fail to impress. We saw a lot of activity centred around 5G phones, with a focus on cameras, blockchain, and foldable devices.

“Despite an decrease in the number of ad tech companies exhibiting this year, the event has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow alongside the technology trends within the mobile industry.

“The event is not known for computers but both Huawei and Lenovo shook things up by introducing their new laptops, demonstrating the event’s commitment to showcasing the best in all areas of connected technology.

“MWC still tops the charts by far for the best conference to meet with partners and clients – existing and new – to layout strategies for the growth of the company and industry as a whole.”

Andy Ashley, international marketing director, Digital Element
“Yet again, 5G was a key talking point at MWC Barcelona this year as the race is well and truly on in the jostle to be leader in the space. However, alongside the hype around the aesthetical impact of 5G, were crucial discussions – on and off the stage – putting data security in the spotlight.

Experts are conflicted over the impact 5G will have on the industry, as the increased number of devices able to connect through its development opens up increased opportunities for cybercriminals to attack. The accelerated growth of connectivity, and the sheer volume of data now available, has placed a greater need for effective measures that identify and protect against fraud and other cyber risks.

“With the theme of this year’s MWC, ‘Intelligent Connectivity’, running true, there is an acknowledgement that high-quality, real-time data in this era of digital transformation is the key to not only tackling the influx of fraudulent activity digital developments brings, but also unlocking success at a global scale.”

Lindsay McEwan, VP and managing director EMEA, Tealium
“While the novelty factor of foldable phones attracted attention at this year’s MWC, the real focal point of the event was the notion of ‘intelligent connectivity’ – something 5G, another key topic of conversation, will help to make possible.

“It goes without saying that 5G networking – as it becomes more refined – will not only offer consumers the instant gratification of lightning-fast, reliable connectivity, but will also pave the way for increasingly advanced technologies. But, as users interact with brands and content at a faster rate, the improved connectivity will also hail greater swathes of data for marketers to manage and harness.

“With that in mind, data privacy and protection remained a hot topic nearly 12 months on from the implementation of the GDPR; the general sentiment being that advancing technology needs to be built in consideration of privacy regulations, as opposed to compliance being an afterthought – especially with more and more customer data being created.”