Scouting Report: Mobile World Congress 2018

By Sam Thompson

Sam is a partner and Senior Managing Director at Progress Partners. His sector focuses include retail, e-commerce, marketing technology, and advertising technology.


April 16, 2018 ? At past MWC conferences, mobile advertising seemed to exist in a separate channel outside the reach of other advertisement streams. This year, however, mobile marketing platform companies began to introduce a mix of solutions expanding their focus from just mobile to maximize advertisement potential. Mobile should not look to produce a separate ecosystem, but instead should merge with existing channels. One principal theme seen at this year?s conference was the presence of major media ? historically driven and managed by mobile-first platforms ? being warmly embraced by mobile platforms. Industry leaders have only begun to appreciate the value added from Mobile Platforms when efforts are synchronized with preexisting platforms.

Historically, platforms presented at MWC were all mobile-specific, and scarcely did they offer solutions for cross-channels integration for ad platform. At MWC 2018, this theme shifted as more omnichannel platforms stressed the importance of bridging the gap between all channels. Of note, Urban Airship presented their solution to powering digital growth. Their AI platform easily integrated with other marketing platforms, across all channels. This cross-platform reach is utilized by brands like Adidas, Alaska Airlines, The Home Depot, NBC Universal, Sky plc, and Zillow.

Although the discussion revolving around 5G and evolution around mobile as a layer in the marketing stack was thought-provoking, a lot of excitement was focused on the advancements of mobile in IoT. Mobile has become the most useful means to capture data and a leading resource for IoT. Coupled with 5G speeds, which enable instant communication between multiple devices, IoT becomes seamless. However, you might ask, ?is 5G that much of an improvement?? The answer in-short is yes. The speeds generated by 5G will not only power individual consumers but will more importantly advance the reality of IoT.

With the new potential 5G speed offers, it simultaneously opens new channels in which mobile ad agencies can operate. 5G speeds provide a monumental decrease in latency between user and campaign. Due to data constraints, past mobile ads consisted primarily of streamed videos and occasionally personalized ad; however, 5G offers a solution which will elevate ad content. Many conversations at MWC 2018 revolved around the potential of 5G speeds and its use mobile advertisement campaigns. A 5G connected device would enable 4k video to be streamed flawlessly which drastically increasing ad quality. Furthermore, it would empower ad campaigns to take on new content forms like 360-degree videos, VR, and augmented reality ads. Google, along with other big players, realizes the potential disruption 5G will have on advertisement ecosystem and introduced its new platform ARCore. An innovative platform created to facilitate mobile ad campaigns with a goal of increasing the amount of AR content creation. Some worry that for mobile ad creators, 5G may initially require a steep learning curve; however, if properly utilized it should allow innovative and exciting ways to acquire customers.

Discussions revolved around the future of IoT and the critical roles mobile will play. Mobile and 5G connection are the glue that will connect smart cars, homes, and cities. GSMA projected that IoT interactions (between all mobile & non-mobile devices) will increase more than three times by 2025 reaching 25 billion. Additionally, it is expected by 2025 over 5 billion users will be primarily using mobile to access the internet, this a massive increase from the 3 billion in 2017. Mobile platforms are taking advantage of future trends, 41 mobile IoT networks are operating to date, with expectations of enormous growth.


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