Four key trends that will define MWC 2018

Last updated: 14 October 2019

One of the most highly anticipated trade shows in the world of technology—Mobile World Congress, or MWC—is almost upon us. It promises to be one of the most exciting shows yet, as the maturing of new technologies puts some swagger back into mobile following the global smartphone plateau.

With only a day until it all begins, we’re taking a look at some of the big themes that will dominate 2018’s iteration.


5G will undoubtedly take central stage with industry pioneers offering more than just talk on one of the world’s most anticipated technologies. The Winter Games in PyeongChang has already set the scene by showcasing some of the enormous capabilities of 5G through drone display, 5G broadcast, self-driving shuttle buses, immersive experiences and AI enabled robots. Let’s hope Barcelona can match that impressive list!

We’re moving beyond the proof-of-concept stage, but don’t expect any 5G consumer devices just yet. For now, we expect numerous announcements from chipmakers, device manufacturers, infrastructure suppliers and operators about their plans for 5G. But when you have Stephen Mollenkopf, Qualcomm’s CEO, saying that “5G is the biggest thing since electricity,” you know these are exciting times.

Of course, if 5G is going to live up to the hype, it’s going to have to be trusted by consumers, industry and regulators. That’s why Gemalto is going to be demonstrating how we can establish trust between complex devices “at the edge” and the core 5G networks through which they’ll be connected.

Smart Cities and Internet of Things developments

The promise of the smart city and the IoT has been a mainstay of Mobile World Congress for over half a decade. It feels similar to when those in the mobile industry were championing NFC years before the technology went mainstream. But this year, it seems like the conversation has moved forward, certainly when it comes to the Industrial Internet of Things.

While autonomous vehicles and robots will grab the limelight, some of the really interesting announcements will come from those developing NarrowBand-IoT and LTE-M products and services. And expect the debates about which standards will come out on top to continue on too.

We’ll be bringing to life our version of a “Smart World” show how the IoT will impact areas like mobility, healthcare and energy delivery. If you’re at the show, visit us for an augmented reality guided tour showing you how Gemalto technologies connect, secure and monetize services in the real world.

AI is set to steal the show

AI and Machine Learning were set up as a huge 2018 trend earlier this year at CES. The Las Vegas show was dominated by voice assistants, the key enablers of which are AI and machine learning.

This trend will certainly continue with many companies keeping voice assistant momentum going with deeper integration with connected home devices and handsets.

Really exciting developments could also come mobile operators deploying machine learning to manage network resources, and potentially personalization of the customer experience.

New devices

As with every year, there will be a number of flagship device launches. Big names in the industry such as Samsung, Huawei, LG and Sony are amongst the many who will announce their 2018 hero devices. No doubt each will demonstrate how the handset fits into all aspects of our lives, and this will increasingly mean connectivity to all the sensors and services the IoT has to offer.

What are you most looking forward to at MWC? Network announcements? IoT? Incredible devices? Let us know in the comments below. And if you are at the show, do drop by the Gemalto stand to say hi! We’ll be at Stand 2J41 in Hall 2.

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