Mobile World Congress, better known by frequenters as MWC, kicked off this week in Barcelona, Spain. It has stood as the world’s preeminent mobile technology gala for years, but over the past decade it has swelled to more than 1,800 exhibiting companies and over 85,000 attendees. With each passing show, our world becomes even more mobile.
This week, Weber Shandwick is on the ground to capture and embrace all things mobile. We’ll be working with clients that touch nearly every country on Earth, but also conversing with media, vendors, and fans of technology. Here’s a look at two major trends that have already emerged at the show, and how we’re expecting them to remain in the spotlight as 2015 continues.
Phones-as-a-hub: We’ve finally reached the point where it’s no longer zany to consider a phone to be a supercomputer. Today’s flagship smartphones are far more powerful than high-end desktop computers were 20 years ago. To put that power to use, manufacturers are building out ecosystems of products and services that rely on the phone to be the brain. We’ve seen this in action to some degree with the earliest wave of smartwatches, but 2015 will add a lot more responsibility to the screen in your pocket. From hailing a ride to remotely starting a vehicle to receiving alerts about the status of your connected home, the phone now acts as both the beginning and end of how one’s digital life is controlled.
What does this mean for the mobile industry? For one, a change in expectations. Consumers will increasingly look for ideas that weave seemingly disconnected products and services into a harmonious experience – telling a story of unity will be critical to gaining trust. Secondly, those operating in the mobile space will need to showcase their efforts to intelligently use data to make the lives of consumers easier and more robust. That’s a tricky ordeal given its technical nature, but it’s a golden opportunity to humanize an otherwise impersonal story.
Wearable’s impact on the Internet of Things: The first wave of smartwatches and fitness bands have already hit the market, but those were largely designed to work with a fleet of phones already in existence. Moving forward, wearable makers and phone manufacturers are syncing up their development efforts in order to make both more useful for one another. Several smartphone makers have broken out of their comfort zones in order to launch full-fledged partnerships with wearable designers, tapping into the cloud and big data in order to synchronize information with one’s phone.
For brands operating in the mobile space, this presents an opportunity to showcase how a wearable – one of the most personal devices you can buy – impacts the world around a user. It’s about so much more than the data being captured by the wearable, or the information that is transmitted to one’s wrist. It’s about the wrist being the new home for staying current, connected, and informed. A key pillar in storytelling is the ability to paint a picture for customers, and by deeply recognizing what consumers want from a wearable, there’s a chance to convey how wearable devices are redefining what it means to be mobile.
We’ll be on the ground at MWC compiling the highlights, distilling them down, and publishing them here at WeberShandwick.com. To keep an ear on our reports from the heart of Catalonia, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re interested in corresponding with our reporter, feel free to reach out to Darren Murph.
Disclosure: GSMA, host of the Mobile World Congress, is a Weber Shandwick client