With all the invitations to receptions and swirling rumors about secret demos, it's easy to get lost in the weeds at the Mobile World Congress, which will open its curtain next Monday in Barcelona.
Much ink has been spilled on Nokia's first (and maybe last) Android handset, designed before Microsoft cut a deal last fall to buy Nokia's handset business; Samsung's new Galaxy S5, to be announced at the Samsung Unpackaged event Monday; and Sony's renewed mobile push at a time when the company's future hangs in the balance.
Beyond such details as screen sizes, processors, and cosmetic designs and colors of new, shiny devices (all obviously very important to many consumers), I see five unmistakable trends at the 2014 MWC. They've leaked out in recent months but now the details are coming in a torrent, destined to change the nature of MWC and the electronics industry at large.
The "thing" connection
First and foremost, smartphones won't be for long the only star at MWC.
This might be a hard pill for some handset vendors, but the reality is that network operators, under constant pressure to add more revenues, are seriously looking at connecting their networks to things other than mobile handsets. Examples include connected cars, smart buildings, smart cities, and wearable devices.
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Engage with Oracle president Mark Hurd, Box founder Aaron Levie, UPMC CIO Dan Drawbaugh, GE Power CIO Jim Fowler, former Netflix cloud architect Adrian Cockcroft, and other leaders of the Digital Business movement at the InformationWeek Conference and Elite 100 Awards Ceremony, to be held in conjunction with Interop in Las Vegas, March 31 to April 1, 2014. See the full agenda here.