Jason Bayton’s Thoughts on Mobile World Congress 2019
MWC has once more come and gone, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend for the 2nd time in two years.
After a jam-packed few days of exhibitor hopping and vendor meetings, here are a few topics I felt stood out.
It was almost impossible to walk between the various halls without seeing or hearing about 5G from one company or another. There were live demonstrations, discussion panels, device launches (both mobile and non) and even Lenovo got in on the action, leveraging their MotoMods platform to deliver a 5G upgrade to their existing Z3 (4G) model.
From an enterprise perspective, the minimal latency and enhanced connection reliability offers far greater application of use in everything from AR/VR, automotive, IoT and more.
From my own perspective, though 5G has been bounced around for some time, MWC was the first tangible exposure I’ve had to it. I’m excited to see what comes.
Can you spot the 5G symbol in the photos above? it was like a game of Where’s Wally for the logo.
This wouldn’t be a MWC overview without talking about both an impressive and polarising topic, foldable devices.
Love them or loathe them, they’re finally here; although I’m probably going to hold off until gen 2 or 3 (even if just for price alone, wow), it’s super interesting to see some real innovation in the consumer device space again, and I’m just as impressed to see – based on the demos at least – how well Android handles this multi-display, multi-window form factor, though there’s no argument they’ve still some work to do in improving the tablet experience overall, this could be the catalyst to do so.
Foldables aren’t the only thing to grace MWC however, as I found myself impressed with both the increasing presence of rugged devices, with CAT amongst a number of others displaying their lineup, and those taking a bit of artistic license on the standard consumer glass slab we’re inundated with in the market.
Energiser showed off a 18,000mAh battery powered behemoth, and F(x)tec introduced the first landscape slider I’ve seen in a number of years at a private event I was invited to:
Elsewhere in the wild (as in not MWC but tenuously linked) we also saw the introduction of the first Android powered vehicle, the Polestar 2. I don’t know how this would be perceived generally, but to me it’s just one more form factor shipping with the Android OS. That’s exciting.
Interestingly, I had two demos from two completely different companies demonstrating their business insight tools for enterprise devices.
One from SOTI, whose solution SOTI Insight takes all the data generated by devices within their UEM MobiControl, analyses it and outputs it in a meaningful way, offering historic trends, current status and the unique capability to predict future events, such as degradation of battery health, patch frequency and more.
SOTI Insight is coming to market as part of the broader SOTI ONE suite later this year.
The other from Samoby, a small outfit based in Spain boasting real-time data and basic management capabilities should devices not be managed by a UEM, though they stressed they’re not in competition with UEMs, but wish to partner with them. They also offer integrated mobile threat defence and traffic management through a proprietary on-device agent.
I first got a good look at this sort of solution when Zebra gave me a demo of their own offering some time back, as time has gone on it appears more are stepping into this market to offer tools to visualise estate health and predict future problems, allowing organisations to prepare in advance rather than remaining ignorant until a support call is raised.
I think this is valuable, and if I managed a fleet of devices within an organisation I’d certainly be looking at implementing one myself.
It’s no surprise at an event where Google have their own Android offices and Android village, there’s going to be a heavy presence. It’s how it was last year (and likely years before) and how it’ll be in future. Nevertheless it’s always incredible to see the level of investment Google inject into MWC.
Android partners definitely helped here as well though, with new releases from Lenovo, Sony, HMD Global (Nokia), Huawei, Samsung, and even lesser-known brands such as the F(x)tec Pro1 mentioned above, Wiko and Nuu mobile. Android was everywhere.
From my perspective, the most important announcement for enterprise came from Samsung, who now officially support OEMConfig, as well as support for a common library between KME and zero-touch (which doesn’t signify the support of zero-touch for Samsung devices, in case you wondered) allowing resellers to more quickly and easily integrate both zero-touch and KME into their backend systems.
The common library is great, but it’s OEMConfig I’m most excited about. Long has Samsung worked with EMM vendors to implement Knox API support, and depending on time, resource and priorities, many EMMs support Knox is varying degrees. With OEMConfig, EMMs no longer need to be involved; Samsung can offer all available features by default with zero day support when new features become available. It’s going to dramatically change the Knox management experience for many organisations for the better.
I really only scraped the surface here, MWC is 4 days of announcements, new solutions, new features, but those were my key takeaways in the 2 days I was there this year, and I look forward to seeing what happens over the next 12 months!
Oh, finally, obligatory badge haul pic!