MWC Day 0: Buzz about 5G, IoT, Digital Transformation

MWC Day 0: Buzz about 5G, IoT, Digital Transformation

When I landed on Saturday night, Barcelona was uncharacteristically quiet, which was nice. Day 0 or sunday turned out to be quite good and hectic for me. GSMA organized an excellent event – GSMA Global Innovation Forum to talk about the trends, deeper meaning of certain segments that are evolving like connected cars, AR/VR, Operator Digital Transformation, Security, Industrial IoT, 5G, and much more. It was a good way to get warmed up for the show.

I conducted a workshop on 4th Wave Index and how use the framework to evaluate and compare companies in the ecosystem. There were lot of questions about net-neutrality, what are operators doing about digital transformation, what’s working, regulations, role of 5G, and future of sources of industry revenue.

Next, I kicked things off for the forum on Connected Intelligence and what it means for the future of global GDP. I remain convinced that we are in the midst of a fundamental change in the industry, not just mobile but every industry that connected to it directly or indirectly. The confluence of sensors and smart algorithms are fueling the new 30-40 cycle.

I also had the chance to moderate a panel on Operator Innovation with two excellent guests – Paresh Modi, Head of Innovation at Vodafone and Kartik Sheth, Chief Innovation Officer for Airtel. Two different perspectives on how innovation happens at operators and how it is managed. For the younger Airtel, it is more opportunistic, like Wynk – the biggest music service in India from Airtel. For Vodafone, things are more structured and process oriented. Both were quite candid about the shortcomings and how they need to get better at interfacing with startups.

Other sessions touched on network evolution, industrial IoT, security, AR/VR, video consumption, emerging markets – themes, i am sure we will hear repeatedly throughout the show. Looking forward to Day 1.