3 Trends to watch out for — fresh impressions from the #MWC19

Sun, Beaches, Barcelona — VR First at the Mobile World Congress.

#MobileWorldCongress — #IntelligentConnectivity

I was very excited to have been invited to the #MWC19 and to visit this premier exhibition of the mobile technology of the future.

Companies from Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Huawei Enterprise, Deutsche Telekom AG, Verizon, and many other industry players exhibit and announce their latest tech toys.

Here are my most important takeaways for the #VR #AR industry:

1. Doubling the immersion and Tripling the Comfort — Hololens 2

Alex Kipman announced the doubling of immersiveness and tripling of comfort for the new Microsoft Hololens 2 — available for 3500 USD (30% price reduction from previous model).

How does the Hololens achieve that?

  1. Doubled field of view of 70 degrees and 2Kp for each eye
  2. Considerably lighter Headset and better weight distribution
  3. Full hand tracking to enable fully intuitive hand movements

The new headset will revolutionize multiple professional fields, the trimble and healthcare demos were impressive to see and try.

The trimble — hard hat integrated with the Hololens 2.
Intuitive Hand gestures while operating for surgeons

Congrats to Satya Nadella, Julia Schwarz, Julia White, Rosalind Buick, Tim Sweeney, Maria Wilson, Jim Heppelmann, Fernanda Delgado, Michiya Yumira for the great presentation on stage!

2. Openness is the key to innovation!

After Tim Sweeney had criticised Microsoft in the past for being a closed system, Alex invited him to stage to announce Epics support for the open Hololens ecosystem. Companies and developers are now able to create their own app stores within the open system.

As representative of XR First, I truly embrace this decision for the Democratization of VR/AR! We are looking forward to many new ecosystems to be ready to be explored!

As Alex Kipman frames it:

  1. “We believe in an open app store model. Developers will have the freedom to create their own stores.”
  2. “We believe in an open web browsing model.”
  3. “We believe in an open API surface area and driver model.”
Alex Kipman on Stage Announcing the Hololens 2

3. 5G as Key Technology for the Mass Adoption of AR/VR

Low latency will transform how we play, work, live and consume. What takes between 1–5 seconds for objects to communicate, with 5G it will only take milliseconds.

Imagine the lives that could be saved by reacting faster, accidents to be avoided, enhanced entertainment and efficiency gains across smart factories and supply chains. Many examples were exhibited, surprising and new were the many VR/AR use cases that were used to illustrate the power of 5G, Edge and Cloud computing.

The general public does not know yet how 5G will be different then just “faster internet” and arguably, it is difficult to apprehend. For the next #MWC20 and beyond, it is clear that we need many more usecases for many more reasons, than just “showing off”.

In my opinion, usecases will help to

  • Advocate and explain the benefits, as well as risks of 5G technology to the public and government by bringing life touching impactful experiences.
  • Curating the top usecases that will showcase 5G in action and can be implemented immediately
  • Find the usecases impossible to implement without 5G Edge/Cloud
  • Build a community of creators ready to quickly iterate whenever the infrastructure is ready

Of course, for 5G, capable devices are needed. Most major Asian phone companies were able to showcase their latest devices, many of them even foldable. To be named can be the Huawei Mate X, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung Galaxy S10, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G.

As European tele communication companies are currently bidding on the 5G spectrum in their respective countries, we will soon see the technology transform our daily lives yet again.

Overall, i truly enjoyed and was surprised by the energy of the Mobile World Congress. If you want to go, the best recommendation I could give for the next year is: Prepare!

Over 100 000 people are attending every year, so if you are not prepared, you will get lost among hundreds of conferences, workshops, summits and other meetings to attend.

In addition, you needn’t miss out on any of the parties at the W hotel, the Qualcomm party, and many other evening parties outside the tradefair area.

The four days will be over faster than 5G!