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Major Takeaways:

  • With the commercial launch of Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and other VR systems this year, combined with the ‘wow factor’ of VR content, together with the rapid development of Augmented Reality outside of product scanning into potentially immersive experiences means mobile is really powering the merging of the physical and digital worlds
  • The potential applications for both entertainment and marketing will make Mixed Reality the standout mainstream story from MWC

Excerpts from the Mobile Marketing Magazine article:

We’ll see the next stage of development for wearables and whether these can jump the trough of disillusionment, from packages of sensors for fitness or communications into invaluable and useful mass-market products. Similarly, the slower development of consumer-relevant IoT devices, be that in the connected home, the connected car or the connected city, will feature heavily, even though the real issue is not hardware development, but the consumer needs proposition and the software needed to run multiple connected services together.

But MWC will be won this year by Virtual Reality + Augmented Reality = Mixed Reality. The commercial launch of Oculus, Gear and other VR systems this year, combined with truly ‘wow factor’ VR content, together with the rapid development of Augmented Reality outside of product scanning into potentially immersive experiences means mobile is really powering the merging of the physical and digital worlds. The potential applications for both entertainment and marketing will make Mixed Reality the standout mainstream story from MWC.

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A big question among mobile network operators at MWC will be how they can maintain their relevance and revenues, as the commoditisation of mobile data and the popularity of OTT services continue to hit their bottom line.

Superfast 4G has brought rich video, location-based Augmented Reality and other high-bandwidth apps to users’ fingertips, enabling organisations to target their customers with more compelling content and offers on the go. But, problems arise when people travel abroad. Traditional roaming can no longer cope with these high data demands, grinding a speedy 4G connection to a halt and leading many of us to simply turn off roaming altogether when travelling abroad. Yet, if done right, there are huge revenue opportunities for mobile network operators in data roaming, and for enterprises looking to engage with roamers. With new approaches to data roaming on the horizon, I expect this to be one of the hot topics of the show.

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Flagship smartphone announcements will as usual be a centrepiece of this year’s Congress but nothing can hide the fact that life is tough at the top for the heavyweight device vendors. Emerging markets are now driving global smartphone shipment growth, but pricing pressure is pronounced as home-grown vendors square up to global brands, while the gap in features between high-end smartphones and mid-range devices continues to shrink. Leading vendors will have their work cut out justifying price premiums going forward, as smartphone penetration peaks in many markets and consumers become increasingly cost-conscious.

In this light, wearables and Virtual Reality equipment are assuming greater significance for established vendors. Wearable device shipments more than doubled last year, but they still account for just 5 per cent of the smartphone market in volume terms, while Virtual Reality devices are further back still on the adoption curve.
Looking forward, take-up rates for wearables will pivot on the mass market appeal of smart watches, while targeting business users could help widen addressable markets. Tie-ups with fashion and lifestyle brands can be exploited further, while a healthy ecosystem of apps is vital if wearables are to resonate with consumers in the long term.

The Internet of Things has been high on the Congress agenda in recent years and this year will see more news of key developments. Mobile operators are ramping up their IoT connections, while the promise of a hyper-connected world is fuelling plenty of M&A activity in the technology sector.

Head over to Mobile Marketing World to read the full article.