MWC Expectations – The Preview

The Six Five team gives a preview of what they expect from MWC 2022.

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Patrick Moorhead: So Daniel, what should we expect from MWC22?

Daniel Newman: I think this is, first of all, a good pivotal moment. We’ve gone through these ebbs and flows over the last 12 months, but really in the last three months, where we’ve effectively seen the world’s largest tech events, sort of in this state of limbo. Pat, we both went to CES, it was not even close to normal. It was oddly quiet. Yet, again, we found some joy in the fact that for those companies that were there, we were able, as analysts, to get so much access, and talk to so many people, have some really great quality conversations, but it just wasn’t the same. And then I actually went to NRF, which is the big show in New York, the retail technology show, kind of the same thing. Only a few thousand attendees compared to, I think it was like, less than a quarter of normal.

Well, they’re saying, Pat, they’re going to get about 50,000 people are going to be coming to Barcelona, which to me is an indicator that we are getting into those very late innings, which it’s felt like for about a year we were, of this COVID and the impact. And I think there’s a couple factors in play. And I’ll talk about this for a second. And then I’ll talk a little bit about the technology at the show.

But I think the factors in play is, one, the events industry has probably been one of the most ravished of any industry on the planet. I mean, just talk about stops and starts. CES, they’re going to go in ’21 and they didn’t. I mean, these shows are economies. Barcelona here depends on hundreds of thousands of people coming into the city and eating and drinking and staying in hotels, and having events and taxi cabs and hotels.

And I think the devastation of the economy is started to weigh, where some of these events are like, “Look, we can do this safe. Now that people have been vaccinated. Now that we have more protocols. If you want to wear masks, if you want to have to carry digital IDs, you can test rapidly and know whether you are, or aren’t.” Not perfect, Pat, but it’s come a long way. And I think events with the right protocols are able to be held. And so I think they’re full on now.

And by the way, we’ve been flying on airplanes now for the better part of a year, year and a half. And yes, I understand we wear masks, but I mean, you’re sitting like six inches from people. In these spaces, at least they can ventilate them, you can keep some distance from people. And even if they’re crowded, it’s not nearly as on top of people as we are on airplanes.

In terms of technology, Pat, over the last, I think three or four years, it’s felt like every year is going to be the year 5G. This is the year of 5G. Well, I would say that during the pandemic, when there was no Mobile World Congress, was probably the most legitimate year of 5G. We saw massive adoption of handsets, of infrastructure deployments. The most recent release, we’re seeing numbers and companies like Qualcomm explode, we’re seeing handset numbers, but we’re also seeing the infrastructure companies rolling out new technologies around 5G. And I think that will once again, be in focus here at MWC.

I think automotive has become a focal point of every show. And every time I go to a show now, whether it’s consumer, whether it’s retail, whether it’s now a Mobile World, which is more enterprise and telco and network, more automotive. I will not be surprised to see a significant rise in announcements and participation, either partnerships or actual OEMs and manufacturers there talking about their wares.

5G will fundamentally change mobility. And by the way, you don’t need 5G to do it. We’ve been doing a cloud to vehicle for some time with 4G and LTE, but 5G will make it better, more reliable, and it will take us to the next level. So I’ll pause there, because I said a lot, but I think there’s still a lot directions for you to take this.

Patrick Moorhead: No, I appreciate it. And the great thing about having a huge show, like MWC, it’s going to be harder to suck all the oxygen out of the room on the analysis. And you and I have been pre-briefed, so we need to kind of watch what we say and generalize. I think the good news is, is later on in the show, we’re going to talk about some early announcements.

And I think what we’re doing is 5G is maturing. Started off with low band in the US. It was low band and millimeter wave. And there was this big gap in the center, and between C-band and what came with Sprint on the mid-band, at least in the United States, we’re seeing that to really connect the dots. And quite frankly, and I had a great conversation a couple months back with the CEO of Ericsson talking about, what is it going to take to have the new applications of 5G? And I think where we both landed is that you had to have top to bottom 5G capabilities to get the developers excited.

And I think we are at this point. So I think you add a couple years to this, and hopefully we’ll see some novel things come out of 5G. And not that there hasn’t been a lot of goodness, but at least on the smartphone side, it’s essentially been faster downloads, and not really new way of doing things like we saw in the transition from 3G to 4G. But I am very optimistic.

I think we can also expect a bunch of smartphones. Samsung actually changed their strategy, they came out early with the S22 line, which I think disappointed some people at MWC, but, quite frankly, Samsung’s a company that’s big enough that they can take all the oxygen in the smartphone room. And they’re either the number one or number two vendor, depending on what quarter that you look at.

But I think we’ll see a lot of other smartphone makers, whether it’s folks like Oppo, a lot of folks out of China, and some of the indigenous makers, even out of Latin America. And I think it’s really going to be bigger, better, faster, bigger, better, faster, cheaper. And that’s certainly not as exciting as it used to be. But I also think it’s an indication of the maturation of the smartphone market.

We’re going to see a ton of ORAN. We’re going to see a ton of VRAN. We’re in this massive architectural change. We’re seeing at the core, where there used to be five different architectures, and now there’s two, and added virtualization and containers. And now going farther out on the edge with vRAN and ORAN, you’re seeing more industry standard makers jump in, and as you’re going to see, as we talk about HPE and Dell… Actually, we’re not talking about what Dell’s doing there, but they’ve made some pretty big announcements as well with Marvell.

So I’m looking forward to it. I lost 100% of my hotel money two years ago when they canceled it. I didn’t get any of my money back. I’m looking at you Nobu Hotels that didn’t give me my money back. So if I get on that plane and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get canceled, in fact, I’d love to see if they just cancel all the mask stuff. I mean, my gosh, they’re going to do it in the US, I think today.

So anyways, Daniel, some really good analysis here.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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