Mobile World Congress took place in Barcelona February 27-March 2. Our team were on the ground at the biggest telecom festival of the world and here’s what they learned:
Cloud v On-prem solutions
In the battle between Cloud and On-prem solutions for messaging network systems the winner is……a bit of both, but mainly On-prem. The reality for most Mobile Network Operators we spoke with is that Public Cloud is simply too exposed from a data perspective to be viable under their legislative situations. The near future will see MNOs continue to operate On-prem despite the hardware costs in order to maintain control over data and security. They will also look to explore Cloud solutions, particularly Private Cloud solutions to give them greater flexibility in scaling and deployment without exposing themselves.
See more details in one of our previous blogs.
AI in messaging fraud detection
AI found its way into most of the major keynotes. One of the most valuable insights gained on the space is with such high volumes of messaging fraud prevalent on messaging networks, AI is finding its way into changing this part of the industry. Machine learning tech is catching Smishing and SIM Box fraud much quicker than traditional methods. When the volume of messages to be monitored is in the millions AI or machine learning is the only way to identify the indicators of a potentially fraudulent message or group of messages. Trends and tactics in fraud events can change from week to week and the computing power of machines is needed to find these trends within the mass of data. Will AI defeat cyber criminals? Possibly, but the feeling on the conference floor is that MNOs need to be rigorous in their application of this anti-fraud weaponry in order to make an impact.
SMS is in a period of renewal with the network operators speaking of ‘messaging evolution’ to meet the challenges of 5G connectivity. Legacy systems that are approaching end of life in terms of suitability and vendor support are now being replaced by next generation messaging platforms that can handle traffic scalability and contraction. In Europe in particular the proliferation of smaller telcos servicing small subscriber bases [because of the smaller national populations than, say North America or Asia] means that reacting to 5G is difficult. Consolidation, co-creation and cooperation are the suggestions of Pietro Labriola, Italia Telecom Keynote Speech to find the capital power to really respond to the future and escape the 2G and 3G past with its legacy of phone boxes on city streets. As Labriola states, “It’s time to be brave” – a sentiment echoed by those messaging providers we spoke to who want to find the potential in 5G once they have escaped those legacy systems that are rooted in the past.
Trust is still lacking in digital services
There is still room for improvement in building trust in digital services, at least in the UK and the US. The overall trust index is weak in both countries, at 55% in the US and 50% in the UK. Smartphone users who took part in the survey were particularly concerned about control of their own data, which affects the services and applications they use. MEF survey, Barbara Langer, Founder + Director at Insight Angels. Knowing the care taken behind the scenes in most telecoms organizations to meet data protection requirements, this is a mismatch between reality and perception that the industry might need to address in order to grow the market in digital services.
The potential of the metaverse
Following on from MWC22, the metaverse hype hasn’t abated, regardless of whether anyone has a clear view of the market’s trajectory or its biggest revenue opportunities. According to Alexandra Foster, Division X, ‘an open and decentralized metaverse is the key to unleashing the full potential of the technology across many verticals.’ This is definitely a #watchthisspace category. It feels like the potential of the metaverse for telcos will crystalize this year and we might be able to get a better read on how it will likely be applied in commercial ways.
IoT under the lens
IoT was covered in broad, cross-cutting themes across many of the speaking slots.
The intersection of IoT and SMS is interesting to note with the ‘wake-up’ function in autonomous IoT devices being performed by SMS. With SMS messaging collapsing in P2P scenarios in the past decade we have seen a corresponding rise in A2P messaging. Now the real growth in SMS volume will come from Machine2Machine messaging threatening to push overall SMS volumes above 8 Trillion annually for the first time.
Next up, 6G..
As we’re still coming to grips with 5G, it seems as though 6G is not too far off, at least according to MWC speakers. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU secretary general, was among those who said that 6G would drive energy efficiency and enhanced levels of connectivity. This is another area to keep an ear to the ground.
“35 years after the mobile industry was born we have the amazing opportunity to improve people’s lives again. Without telcos, there is no future,” -Telefonica CEO.
This new digital revolution is going to require a radical evolution and a platform that offers simplicity above the complexity of our businesses.