ETPO - Emerging Technology Policy Observatory

At MWC 2017, the Importance of Being Real

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We had MWCs full of dreams in which the attendees were flying from one hall to the other on a sort of magic carpet of unbelievable things to see and use in a matter of days. The shows did not really say how those marvellous things would happen and work. The importance was the hype. Thankfully, in the last two editions, the community has realised that Utopia is a good place to dream of, but if you want to live in Utopia you need to have the right infrastructures, the right integration of systems, the right policy and regulatory conditions, and skilled people for building securely that Utopia. This MWC is about all this.

There have been strong moments of nostalgia, probably, to use history for building the future. The enormous attention on LPWAN and 5G brings back the momentum on connectivity and related services as an essential infrastructure block for Utopia however you imagine that world; the world of low data applications and the world of connected cars and VR/AR. The return of Nokia and Blackberry resuming their history through “vintage”, some critics have said, devices is another moment of reflection. Nostalgia, if not taken to the extreme, invites you to think about the past, appreciate the present, understand the limits of the present, and build the future, hopefully, in a better way. And in the case of the MWC community, that is a good approach to reflect about unsolved issues: IoT platforms, business models for IoT solutions, system integrations, understanding the specific features of verticals, building the new skill sets for the IoT, making clear that regulatory conditions will be increasingly relevant because the IoT will influence directly people through the transformation of contexts and spaces. I have had conversations on all this and I see organisations prepared to discuss their approach along those issues. And I saw these also in the Hall of Dreamers (Hall 8.0), the best Hall of all. Dreamers (AR/VR, AI, Graphene among others) are dreaming, but they are real because they know they have to be for making their dreams our dreams.

I liked this MWC. I liked the practical view of the business and technological context we are living in. I liked not having magic carpets, but, having extraordinary ideas thought with care and with a critical mind.

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