Our global partner in Spain, Canela, have been “living and breathing” the 2018 Mobile World Congress, supporting their client’s activities and learning about the latest trends in mobile.  As this year’s fair wraps up and the dismantling begins, they highlight five key trends to take away from the week.

Barcelona hosted more than 108,000 professional visitors from 200 countries, 2,300 exhibitors and countless conferences, product launches and presentations. Throughout the week, a lot has been said about the following five trends that will mark the future of mobile technology.

5G takes off in Barcelona

Undoubtedly, the most hotly anticipated  innovation at this year’s mobile fair was the display of 5G technology. Barcelona aspires to be the city that leads the development of this innovation in Europe and just days before the start of MWC 2018 the first call using 5G on the continent was made between Barcelona and Madrid.

But what advantages will 5G really offer? As we have seen in MWC 2018, it is not just about navigating faster: the bandwidth that this innovation will bring will be the key to the definitive takeoff of other related technologies such as the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles or telemedicine. The bad news? To be able to access 5G in 2020 we will have to retune our TV channels… again.

Mobile phones for all tastes, but with responsibility

Like previous years at MWC, we have seen hundreds of new mobile devices with all kinds of innovations: screens that cover the entire surface, retractable cameras, mobile phone-sized computers… and a touch of nostalgia with the return of the legendary Motorola Razr.

However, there has also been time for reflection on the ever-increasing role that mobile devices have on our lives. As part of a wider study, Motorola revealed worrying data such as 53% of Generation Z consider their smartphone as their “best friend”.

The Internet of small and big things

As you know MWC is  not all about mobiles.  We saw all kinds of devices connected with an infinite number of applications: from noticing when your baby’s nappy is dirty to controlling the point at which meat is cooked. Since so many connected devices will be a magnet for hackers, several antivirus manufacturers were also present at the fair to share their products designed to protect them against hacking.

Like last year, there were plenty of smart cars on show, connected and even autonomous. One of the most striking was the Seat León Cristóbal, a concept car that incorporates very practical innovations, such as a camera which detects if you have fallen asleep.

Everyone joins the Blockchain

Blockchain technology, which is rapidly spreading to every sector imaginable, also played a prominent role. For example, Rakuten  announced that they will use this technology in its loyalty program, while Porsche will incorporate it into its vehicles and Telefónica into industry 4.0.

We have seen some of these novel applications in one of the parallel events that we like most about the MWC: the startups meeting in the 4YFN (Four Years From Now), which this year has had a session dedicated entirely to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

An Internet that is the same for everyone

In a year without headline grabbing guest stars like Mark Zuckerberg, one of the speakers that aroused great interest was Ajit Pai, President of the Federal Communications Commission. This institution has approved legislative changes that open the door to a “two-speed” Internet: faster and with more features for those who pay more.

This topic ended up generating a heated debate in the talk about the regulation of digital politics. Several representatives of the European Union assured that the Old Continent will not apply the “liberalization” of the Internet undertaken by the Trump administration. In addition, the EU will closely monitor Internet providers to ensure equal access to the network.

Finally, the organization of the Mobile World Congress has confirmed on the last day that the 2019 edition will be held in Barcelona again. So see you all again next year!