The power of connecting: reflections on MWC 2017

St Andrews University secured a prominent position to demo its smart telemetry tags

By Alisdair Gunn

The technology industry held its annual conference at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this month. Showcasing, celebrating and debating the direction of the mobile industry, MWC is now the tech industries’ leading conference and exhibition, with over 108,000 delegates and 2,300 companies attending the week-long event.

At an early stage in its formation, Scottish Development International recognised the significant impact MWC had on the tech industry and was one of the first countries to have created a leading position at the conference. Showcasing the latest digital products and services emerging from Scotland’s tech sector, publication of Scotland’s Export Statistics by the Scottish Government has highlighted that exports from Scotland’s professional, scientific and technical sector increased by 9.0% in 2015, the largest annual increase in the nominal value of exports from the services sector.

Supported by Scottish Development International, over 30 of Scotland’s leading digital technology companies attended this year’s conference, gaining face to face access to sell direct to the industry’s leading buyers. Demonstrating the importance of this conference to Scotland’s digital economy, 50% of the Scottish companies attending this year, visited the conference for the first time. Having direct access to the key issues influencing the growth of their business, Scotland’s tech sector gained recognition at MWC as an innovator, with PureLiFi securing Digital Trends – Top Tech of MWC 2017 award for Cool Tech.

Tracking disruptive innovation that influences lifestyles, MWC no longer focuses just on mobile phones and networks

On the theme of connecting everything, the University of St Andrews secured a prominent demonstration at the entrance to MWC’s Connected Living Zone. Demonstrating the application of monitoring data from the behaviour of seals, many of the products showcased by other organisations were “in development”. It’s a positive indicator for Scotland’s tech sector that the GSMA, the trade association for the international Mobile Industry and organisers of MWC, selected the St Andrews to demonstrate a real-world deployment of Internet of Things (IoT).

Tracking disruptive innovation that influences our lifestyles, MWC no longer focuses just on mobile phones and networks. The fourth industrial revolution, connected vehicles, artificial intelligence, 5G, mobile VR, machine intelligence, connected vehicles, digital finance, connected citizens, and Internet of Things were key debating points amongst the tech leaders and at conference sessions. Although the showcased products and market roadmaps point towards a broader set of services like connected cars, mobile connectivity remains central to enabling all applications, as depicted in this year’s conference theme titled ‘The Next Element’.

Alisdair Gunn is a consultant to Scottish Development International who was a lead member of the Scottish delegation who attended this year’s MWC.

Join us at: SDI Breakfast Briefing: The Next Element for Mobile – Insights from Mobile World Congress in Edinburgh on Tuesday 28 March and Glasgow on Thursday 30 March.

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