March 13, 2015

2015 Mobile World Congress Summary – Part 2

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The Odecee MWC Crew

Odecee Lead Mobile Engineer Vlado Grancaric and Chief Engineer Daniel Bradby were recently in Barcelona representing Odecee at the Mobile World Congress – the world’s largest annual gathering of mobile and related industry professionals. You can read Dan’s account in Part 1.

Here, Vlado recounts some of his highlights from Day 1 and 2…

DAY 1 – MARCH 2, 2015

Mobile World Conference


Keynote: “Operating at the edge of Innovation”

Cesar Alierta, Executive Chairman & CEO at Telefonica

  • 43% of the world’s population is connected to the Internet currently.
  • By 2020, 90% of world population will have a mobile phone; 70% will have mobile data.
  • In the next 20 years, the Internet industry will add 15 trillion dollars to world markets.
  • Citizens need to have portable digital lives.
  • To do this, we need to ‘digital confidence’ (which means people have full access to their digital privacy).

Jon Fredrik Baksaas Chairman, GSMA and President & CEO at Telenor

  • 10 years ago, there were not many connections to networks.
  • Then, 24 million people were connected.
  • Now, 190 million customers are connected.
  • By 2020, there will be 3.8 billion Internet users and 10 billion connected devices.
  • Mobile phone and SIM is the platform to securely handle ‘digital identity’.
  • We need to continue to extend network coverage and remove affordability boundaries.

Timotheus Hottges CEO at Deutsche Telekom

  • 22% of people will be over 60yrs old in the next few years.
  • $90 billion wearable industry in the next few years.
  • Software is replacing intelligence of hardware.
  • Regulations need to keep pace with market realities.

Vittorio Colao Chief Executive at Vodafone

  • Customers want:
    • speed
    • coverage
    • content
    • privacy and security
    • competition and choice.
      • Android and Apple control 93% of Smartphone market
      • Incumbents control 65% of total telecoms EBIT (Europe).
    • Carriers have over-promised to customers, until now.

Mobile World Live Extra: Sundar Pichai, SVP, Products at Google)

  • On Black Friday in the US (one of the world’s busiest shopping days), 40% of transactions were done on mobile.
  • 8 out of 10 phones sold in 2014 were Android.
  • Spoke about ‘balloons’ (floating cellular towers), which can add connectivity to rural areas or during a disaster situation. They last six months in the air.
  • Spoke also about cellular tower planes – ‘Project Loon’.
  • On China:
    • Innovation is powered by Android.
    • There is a lot of demand to bring Google Play to this market’ they’re looking at 2016 to achieve this.
  • On a Google branded network (GBN):
    • Nexus was done because hardware and software are tied together.
    • Nexus is not a threat to OEMs – it exists to experiment.
    • GBN will help drive innovation with their carrier partners.
    • 5 ghz spectrum.
  • Android Pay – a platform approach API layer in Android.

Mobile World Live Keynote: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman & CEO at Facebook

  • Zuckerberg has been around world to see how people are using Facebook (FB).
  • The problem is carriers need flexibility to move their business.
  • Some carriers have collaborated with FB & Google to allow content in developing markets.
  • It’s all about providing connectivity to places that don’t usually have it – mainly Facebook connectivity.
  • This allows FB to avoid cannibalising partners’ revenue and still allow profitability.

Mark Zuckerberg


DAY 2 – MARCH 3, 2015

Twitter Event

I started off the morning attending a Twitter event on mobile engagement. It was very interesting to hear not only about Twitter’s engagement platform, but also about a study they did on their own users’ behaviour patterns.

Among other info, the study discovered the following about Twitter users on mobile:

  • They have 25% more apps on their mobile than anyone else (an average of 52 apps on their device).
  • They only power use 10 of those apps, of which Twitter was one.
  • 58% have downloaded an app.
  • They are 27% more likely to make in-app purchases.
  • 80% of Twitter users access Twitter via a mobile app.

Once they got past the statistics of Twitter users, they talked about the details of their ad engagement platform, discussing the different types of ads that can be displayed in a Twitter feed, how they are rendered via card layouts and how they can be tailored to different form factors (e.g. Phone, Tablet, iOS vs Android).

We also heard from direct users of the system, who talked about the value of being able to tailor ads to platforms and see conversion rates in real time.

This event gave me a great insight into how Twitter is looking at making revenue via their ad service, as well as how people actually engage with their platform. I can see real benefit in using this as a mechanism for driving conversions to mobile consumer apps, although primarily with a younger demographic.

Wearables Event

This event was one of the highlights of my journey. Speakers included:

  • Ariel Garten – CEO at InteraXon (talked about Muse)
  • Eric Migicovsky – CEO at Pebble (launched Pebble Time Steel)
  • Gareth Jones – VP & GM, EMEA at Fitbit
  • Joan Ng – Product Marketing at Swarovski (Shine)
  • Josh VP – Mobile Innovation at SAP
  • Stephen Shurrock – CEO, Consumer at Telefonica

The event started with Eric from Pebble talking about his journey with wearable watches, from his ‘Watch Arduino’ (a Nokia 3210 screen attached to an arduino board in his college room) all the way to the next iteration of their Smartwatch, the Pebble Time.

The most interesting takeaway for me was learning how Pebble decided not to build more sensors into their watch, opting instead to open up a hardware accessory port to strap makers; this allows them to integrate with apps on the Pebble. For example – if the wearer is going for a run and needs a heart rate monitor, they can just pull off the regular strap and replace it with one that has the HR feature. This allows Pebble to continue doing what they do well – the watch – and leave it to their partners to built the add-ons. I think this is a real differentiator for Pebble. They have published the standard for their port and the SDK details.

Gareth from Fitbit talked about how Fitbit uses their own platform, and how they are looking at the corporate market to build this platform out. He emphasised that fitness trackers aren’t just for fit people.

SAP spoke about their use of industrial wearables in relation to warehouses and fieldwork. They discussed how having wearables on the head and the wrist helps free up workers to perform other functions, and ran through how this was integrated with the SAP fieldworker platform. It was really interesting to hear a non-consumer case study of wearables.

Joan from Swarovski described how the company spoke to women about what they wanted from a wearable: something that is versatile and also stylish, with a long battery life. They created a wearable that could be a bracelet, a necklace or a wristband. They used the light refracting properties of the crystal to direct light onto the solar panel underneath the crystal, and hid the panel by making the crystal dark in colour.

Swarovski Shine MWC


Session: “Context is King”

‘Context is the new frontier’ was the main message of this session, with a particular emphasis on the fact that context is now about much more than just location.

Context is made up of many factors. Context is:

  • what you are browsing
  • where you come from
  • what you are seeing

Forbes magazine spoke about how they don’t charge subscriptions, but instead rely on contextual advertising on their website.

  • 46% of Forbes’ audience is mobile
  • 82% are aged between 18-44

The retailer Dixons spoke about how they are open to their customers comparing their prices to competitors’ because they have the best price. They claim the use of “showrooming” is not the death of retail, but instead a wake-up call to retailers to give the consumer a better price.

Walmart uses beacons to give customers specials according to what aisle they are in and based on whether or not they are signed up to a loyalty program.

The representative from AOL spoke about how easy it is to provide very detailed, context-aware advertising because young people are giving up their data so readily now.

Up next, read the rest of Vlado’s musings on in Part 3 of our Mobile World Congress summary.


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Categorised in: Devops, Innovation, Technology

This post was written by Vlado Grancaric