Mobile World Congress – 2016 Highlights

The Symbio team just returned from Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and what a ride we had! Over the years, MWC has evolved from operators and mobile phone manufacturers, the traditional players of mobility space. This years event was a clear game-changer – 5G, autonomous driving, digital privacy, industrial internet, virtual reality and wearables were all prominant concepts throughout the event.

Companies like Samsung and SK Telecom setup impressive demos on virtual reality utilizing OculusVR technology. Samsung combined OculusVR with moving chairs and took their participants on a thrilling rollercoaster ride in California. SK Telecom had a super cool submarine demo and offered participants an opportunity to dive with whales. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was the keynote speaker on Monday. He painted a picture of how utilizing OculusVR, grandparents can be in same space with their grandchild when they take their first step, even though they are geographically far apart! Based on the rise of video creation and usage, combined with the public interest towards virtual reality, the message was clear that this industry is gaining a ton of momentum and may be a key industry moving forward.

We also paid a lot of attention to the automotive industry and its presence during MWC. Car connectivity is already taken for granted and the interest during the event shifted towards autonomous driving and the support infrastructure required. Car companies like Volvo, Ford and Volkswagen presented their autonomous driving concepts. Some key findings include that autonomous driving is a reality that is coming sooner than we think. Autonomous driving will shift the design focus from exterior of the car to the interior. And the city and road infrastructure (Connected Cities), how cars communicate with buildings to find a free parking space and charge their batteries while driving is truly not far away. But, some major questions must be answered for that to hapopen – Who is liable in case of accidents? How OEMs build the framework for the transition from human driven to autonomous driven traffic etc.?

Wearables and IoT devices connected to our personal lives were also big at MWC this year. Symbio’s partner Haltian showcased a new child-racking device, Snowfox, which allows parents to track and communicate with their children while being away from home. Garmin had new demos about augmented reality – glasses, which allows bikers to maximize their training by showing the training data in front of their eyes. Many companies are also entering into the activity tracker market. New activity bracelets enable you to read your emails and messages, connect with your social media and utilize the applications you are used to – whether they are Android, iOS or Windows phone. In AVG’s session about mobile threats, Sony mentioned that the big question with the booming IoT device market is still validating the viable usage-cases, a quicker development phase of new products, and how we can make devices 100% secure from digital attacks.

Lastly I would like to highlight maybe the biggest theme of MWC – 5G. Nokia and Ericsson, among other big players are looking to build a reliable 5G network. The 5G network is a key player in the next stride to the future – autonomous driving and connected cities, videos becoming a primary communciation tool, industry productivity, etc. Another important message was that in order for companies to stay competitive in this unique era, collaboration is needed more than ever before.

If you’re interested in launching an innovation or need help bringing your idea to market, we encourage you to read more about Symbio’s refined co-creation model and how we are helping many industries to digitalize and create high quality and usability devices and services. Visit us online at or contact me directly and let’s bring your idea to life. We can help you create, develop, launch and support technologies that change the way you do business.