What a show! Diprotech – thethings.io teams were out at MWC 2023 in Barcelona – and we were not disappointed.
We spent exciting days there, discovering the stands of the different exhibitors. The show is huge, so we focused on the topics that interest us most at thethings.io: the latest developments in private LTE/5G, the 5G IoT device ecosystem, SIM cards and IoT connectivity. Here are a few things we will remember about it:
Private 5G is on the rise
For the past few years, we’ve realized that private 5G is a hot topic in the mobile industry. Continued functional improvements in cellular technology, as well as a massive increase in the availability of dedicated spectrum for industries, are opening up a wide range of opportunities for the cellular ecosystem, fueling a wave of investment.
Major players in the field Microsoft, Cisco, AT&T… continue on the trajectory announced last year that Rather than replacing Wi-Fi networks, private 5G networks will likely sit alongside them to serve security and reliability demanding applications.
Even if 5G was in very strong presence, 6G has also been attracting people! While some of the big names in telecom have admitted at various conferences that we don’t yet know exactly what 6G is, how much it will cost and what problems it will solve, the technology is already here and is getting a lot of attention. All stressed the value of bringing together the operator community and the broader value chain to solicit input and understand the potential use cases in the 6G era, perhaps especially in areas where 5G may not support some of the new applications being considered, such as telepresence and immersive video. So keep an eye out this year and we’ll know more at MWC 24!
The wireless factory is the new paperless office
A decade ago, for security, ecological and economic reasons, the trend was towards paperless offices. The craze was huge. Today, the consumption has been greatly reduced but not totally eliminated. This is an analogy for 5G factories. Wireless adoption is a goal, but the implementation process will be gradual and cables will survive.
More security via IoT SAFE
There’s a lot going on in the SIM world. Innovations are constant, and the technology is getting more modern every year. The form factor of SIM cards is evolving from traditional plastic SIM cards to dedicated chips, which will soon be integrated into system-on-chips (SoCs).
A parallel development, which may not be talked about as much, is the use of the SIM as a “root of trust” for end-to-end security of IoT products and services.
This is now a key issue in the choice of SIM vendors, providing an interoperable framework. Following the presentation at MWC22 of the development of the GSMA IoT SAFE standard, we can see one year later that IoT SAFE has been deployed.
Of course, the Mobile World Congress is also about innovations and prototypes that appeal to the general public… Little overview here of the stars of the show:
Visitors’ stars: VR/AR/MR glasses
While we are still waiting for Apple on the subject, big names have shown several products and concepts around virtual reality, mixed or augmented. In this area we saw for example the AirGlass 2 from Oppo, the NEOVISION Glass from ZTE, or the VIVE XR ELITE from HTC which made us shake a lot…
But the product that was undoubtedly the most dreamy was called Xiaomi Wireless AR Smart Glass Discovery Edition. Okay, the brand would have found shorter. However, between the electrochromic glass, the light guides and other futuristic technologies gathered in this concept, everything seemed to say that Xiaomi wants to overtake Apple on the subject… at least on what the brand imagines of the next category of products that could (or could not) be launched by the firm of Cupertino.
Easy and quick to test, we saw it on many stands, and it is definitely the product that all visitors turned to in order to enjoy experimenting things during the show.
And after all… it is still a Mobile show
The most attractive stands and innovations for the public were of course those concerning mobile phone innovations.
Xiaomi took advantage of the event to present its latest model. We already knew a bit about the smartphone for a week, since it had already been launched in China. Where Xiaomi stands out is on the photo and video – points, on which the brand has not always shone in the past.
The manufacturer signs a very successful smartphone especially on this point thanks to a triple main 50 Mp camera designed (and calibrated) by Leica, for a simply breathtaking result.
Rolling screen technology
We had already seen smartphones, tablets and TVs with scrolling screens – the kind of flexible slab that allows to deliver a device that can change the physical size of its screen, via a mechanism. However, it seemed far from being commercialized as the industrial part seemed complex.
The last concepts of the kind showed now at MWC23 are however convincing us that this type of devices is finally about to land.
Motorola Rizr – Rollable screen
Foldable smartphones, again
Samsung has been preparing for the rise of foldable smartphones for a few years. And this year, we could see that this technology is now in place at many manufacturers. Like Honor, which continues to move upmarket by launching the Magic Vs. Like Samsung’s Z Fold4, the Magic Vs embeds two screens, one of which is a 6.45″ OLED Full HD 120 Hz seconded by an internal 7.9″flexible screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate and QHD definition.
All in all, the show was interesting and back to the size of the editions before the Covid crisis.
We are glad to have participated and can already say that we will be present and look forward to the 2024 edition!