MWC 2016: from IoT to 5G
The 2016 Mobile World Congress (MWC) showcased the dynamism of the global mobile ecosystem. The technologies available for connecting to mobile networks now range from the internet of things, using low-power technologies (LPWAN or LPN), to 5G whose early stages were presented. The latter eventually will allow videos to play in 4K resolution thanks to connectivity on the scale of a gigabit.
The Internet of Things has gained visibility in 2016 with demonstrations in exhibitors’ booths, like Jasper (smart bikes, smart vending machines, etc.). The recently announced acquisition of this company by Cisco is one major maneuver under way in the world of IoT. Jasper’s basic connectivity (by SMS, according to its provider, Newnet) is not its primary value enhancer, but rather its ability to manage a very high number of objects by assuming the dual role of MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and service provider. Some makers of connected modules, like Sierra Wireless, want to take on greater importance by offering multiple-network management of connectivity via MVNO positioning. Sierra has recently completed several acquisitions in this direction (MobiquiThings and others) to gain new MVNO skills like SIM card management and provisioning.
As Qualcomm remarks, standardization and the GSMA have neglected these low-power networks (the aim for some objects is to last up to 10 years on a battery). There are plans to make up for a slow start with respect to proprietary solutions like SIGFOX with adapted harmonized technology in 2016. Mobile network operators could then quickly catch up riding on a scale effect in deployment. Content providers have all confirmed an increase in traffic from mobile devices, which ties back into the MWC slogan ‘Mobile is Everything’. Balancing the ecosystem is not a simple matter, when some operators like ‘Three’ in the United Kingdom have taken the initiative to block advertising on their infrastructure with the solution ‘Shine’ which applies blacklisting at the network level. This solution emphasizes gains in performance but raises the hackles of players like Google, which sees a threat to the content funding model if users get used to it. Advertising vendors and networks nevertheless acknowledge the need to work on user experience to deliver advertising that doesn’t have a negative impact on navigation.
To turn therefore to user experience, it has proved crucial to measure and monitor user experience in real-life conditions on multiple devices and networks. The versatility of the mobile environment will increase to a greater extent when switching from one network to another is done by new mechanisms like eSIMs (embedded SIMs), activated by coupon code almost instantly on the operator of its choice. This is a necessary evolution to enable connections without delay for smart things.
At MWC 2016 ip-label was in the ‘French Tech’ booth exhibiting its Mobile APM solution and its SDK (Software Development Kit). The SDK provides complete coverage of this complex context by monitoring the performance of web and mobile apps in their end environment (iOS or Android devices, operator used, etc.), with a level of granularity that includes associated third-party services (ad tags, APIs, and more).