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10 Observations from Mobile World Congress 2019: MIC
March 07, 2019


5G, smartphone, automobile, AI (Artificial Intelligence), Industrial 4.0, AR/VR head-mounted display, smart city, smart home, cybersecurity, and new key components are 10 key areas observed at this year's MWC that have new inventions which are touted as the next big thing, according to MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute), a Taipei-based government-backed research institute.

Here are 10 takeaways from this year’s show: 
#1: 5G: There are going to have about 20 countries around the world to launch their commercial 5G network this year and further to tap demand in both consumer and vertical markets. Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 3.72 million units in 2019. Driven by the rollout of new 5G-enabled SoCs for premium smartphones and the subsequent 5G Apple iPhones, global 5G smartphone shipment volume is estimated at about 120 million units in 2021 with a CAGR of 12.4% from 2020 to 2023. Thus far, the top three telco equipment manufacturers: Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia, have clinched a total of 70 global 5G orders. Meanwhile, telco operators have to monetize the provision of low latency connectivity in order to make sure that their 5G investments actually pay off. The next step is for the industry to build 5G use cases, and redefine the technology architecture.

#2: Smartphones: Smartphones launched in 2019 will support ultra-large bandwidth transmission to offer the ultimate visual experience for gaming and multimedia entertainment. Meanwhile, smartphone features are to keep evolving with highlights such as foldable and multi-lens designs as well as the compatibility with sub-6GHz bands.

#3: Automotive: All stakeholders in the industry such as chipmakers, telecom equipment makers, and telecom operators have taken an aggressive move to launch their flagship solutions to offer their customers IoV (Internet of Vehicle) services. At the same time, carmakers have also set up their own IoV management platform leveraging cloud-based infrastructure provided by cloud or communications brands.

#4: AI: After years of hype, the time has come to settle on AI strategic position and discussions is dominated by use cases that are built around people's everyday lives. In addition, the rise of smart speakers has attracted more to join the bandwagon to develop multi-functional integrated solutions while some brands have committed to the development of AI edging computing.

#5: Industrial 4.0: Supported by 5G technology, industrial 4.0 is able to provide better emergency alarm systems or activate rescue actions directly. The combination with AR and VR has also enhanced the practicality of image simulation and remote control operation of smart factories, and improve overall operational efficiency and accuracy. Building on the above point, telecom operators have to reassess where they play in the whole new ecosystem. 

#6: AR/VR HMD (Head-mounted Display): This is one of the highlights at this year's MWC. This year's AR/VR HMDs support 5G and cloud technologies to enable high-bandwidth, and smooth and low latency 4K video streaming and multi-player gaming.

#7: Smart City: The areas of focus place on image-based smart city resolutions supporting high-speed networks, AI image recognition, and edge computing networks. The growth in AI and deep learning, predictive analytics, and "digital twin" concepts continue to be robust in the smart city arena.

#8: Smart Home: Some telco operators such as China Mobile have actively cooperated with new brands and startups to develop services through the opening of its platforms and ecosystem. On home terminals, manufacturers continue to target people's daily lives such as IoT products for hearing impaired and pets by assisting service providers to design more customized Smart Home solutions and strive to expand their user groups.

#9: Cybersecurity: Data, security, cross-border movement, and cross-industry solutions are opening up new questions for regulators, as well as uncertainties which are not yet defined. Thus, we need a new approach to enable the IoT world and several brands have rolled out their security solutions, including Blockchain solutions, cybersecurity solutions from telco operators, and local edge computing networks which allow data collected locally on edge devices to ensure the increased security by pairing with machine learning.

#10: Key Components: There are key breakthroughs in the manufacturing process of panels and graphene. As for panels, OLED and flexible panels can now be mass produced and introduced into consumer products such as mobile phones and smart watches. Graphene-based micro-sensors can be integrated into mobile phones and/or attached to human skin.

To see more about MIC reports, please visit: Development of 5G Industrial IoT and Global Chipmakers' Product Strategies (Pre-order), Worldwide Smartphone Market Forecast, 2019~2023 (1Q 2019 Update), Smartphone System on Chip Market Development Trends, 2018 and Beyond, Development of Worldwide Automotive Lidar and Its Major Players In 2018, Outlook for the Global Smartphone Industry in 2019 and Beyond, Developments and Opportunities for Facial Recognition Technology in the Smart Retail, Transport, Financial Services, and Automotive Applications Industry

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About MIC

Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC), based in Taipei, Taiwan, was founded in 1987. MIC is Taiwan's premier IT industry research and consulting firm providing intelligence, in-depth analysis, and strategic consulting services on global IT product and technology trends, focusing on markets and industries in Asia-Pacific. MIC is part of the Institute for Information Industry.