MWC 2015 – The Future of Mobile

The opening keynote at 4th Mobile World Conference in Shanghai was entitled “The Future of Mobile”. While the idea of mobile is that it helps connect everyone, in reality half of the world’s population does not have access to mobile services! It’s even worse in APAC, with two thirds having no access. APAC is half of the global market today with some 1.8 billion unique subscribers, and by next year it will be the largest. Why? Well, this region still has the lowest penetration in the world and Telcos realise that there is so much growth potential for them. Connectivity needs to be available everywhere and affordable if you want a move to digital services for everyone.

Consider some examples:

  • Myanmar was a completely new market and after only one year there were some 15 million connections, of which 40% are used for internet.
  • In Pakistan only 20% of people have traditional bank accounts, but mobile opens up online financial services to many people. This potential for growth was labeled “access to the unconnected”.

The more growth there is in the consumer market, the more consumers will look to access business services on their mobile devices. In this growth phase, VMware’s strategy in Asia Pacific helps customers realise the benefits of Business Mobility. Find out more in the full article here.

Moving back to the topic of the future of mobile, the reality is that today we all dive into the phone to check the weather, what our friends are up to, listen to music or do our banking. What was once just used to make phone calls has now become the medium for accessing essential services online. However, one major problem still exists – passwords are used to secure these services. We all have many passwords for the different services we access but managing them all is becoming a major issue. We’ve heard that Telcos are starting to build out secure digital identity services, and this is already a reality in Japan (I’ll go into more detail on this in my second blog on Identity Services). Kaoru Kato, CEO of NTT DOCOMO, talked about a new service in which user authentication on mobile devices is achieved via retina recognition – no more forgotten passwords! The applications are varied, including payment for services direct from your mobile device. Maybe this is the next “paywave” like service for us in Australia?

Consider four other elements shaping the future of mobile:

  1. Personal data is becoming the new currency in the mobile world. Understanding your customers and providing them options based on past behavior or current location can provide many benefits. This needs to be balanced, however, with security of personal data and brand protection for those offering such services.
  2. Connected living. It is envisaged that just as electricity is connected to most devices today, that these same devices will also be mobile connected. There were plenty of examples of this in the exhibition hall today, such as kitchen appliances, cars, houses and my favorite – a toothbrush that displayed the weather, appointments for the day, news and traffic delays on the mirror while you clean your teeth in the morning. It even gives you commendation for regularly cleaning your teeth!
  3. Digital Commerce. I don’t think anyone would argue that we aren’t changing the way we buy.  We are.
  4. Network 2020. Plans for a high-speed interoperable network worldwide. Again, this is starting to become a reality in some countries such as Korea where LTE VoIP interconnectivity has been setup between carriers. Consumers there can leverage 4G voice regardless of the mobile service provider and never have to drop back to 3G.

Mobile is starting to affect some very traditional industries as well. Here are some examples:

  • Manufacturing – It is now possible to collect data from GE industrial equipment and provide predictive failure analysis of components in the production line.
  • Agriculture – Rice field sensors record environmental conditions and help farmers boost production through analytic services.

All of these examples above rely on organisations being able to harness 3rd platform technologies, including Mobility, Cloud, Social and Big Data Analytics. VMware Business Mobility and Software Defined Data Center solutions will help accelerate changes required for organisations to be able to adopt these types of technologies and remain competitive in the future.

Lastly, a comment about 5G. Plans are already in place to start rolling out 5G throughout many parts of Asia in 2020. With 10Gbps potential throughput, I am looking forward to that and the potential it will bring. The first session this morning is entitled “The Road to 5G”. Let’s hope 5G is going to be part of an open and interoperable worldwide network. I will provide more detail in tomorrow’s blog.


Bruce Perram,

Senior Solution Architect, VMware AN/Z