DigitalLani Jacobs

Highlights from the Mobile World Congress 2017

At 2CV we like to keep abreast of the latest trends in sectors that excite us, attending key conferences throughout the year.  This February we were lucky enough to attend the Mobile World Congress (MWC) - an essential for anyone interested in mobile and technology. MWC is a huge conference in Barcelona run by our clients, the GSMA and the programme was packed full of interesting people, ideas and innovations. We left thoroughly inspired and can't wait to go again next year! In the meantime, here is a quick summary of our top tech trends/highlights from the conference. 

Highlights from the Mobile World Congress 2017

Internet of Things (IoT) and security:

  • IoT has been big for the last few years, but at this year's conference there was a significant focus on the importance of security - who can access your data, how secure is your data etc.
  • Biometrics is being considered as a big part of the answer; a move away from 'what you have' e.g. cards or even 'what you know' e.g. passwords/PINs to 'who you are', in particular voice and face recognition. This will be particularly important for people with low literacy levels or low awareness of the importance of not sharing PINs and/or passwords. 


Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality:

  • There is a lot of buzz around VR/AR at the moment, with much of the focus being placed on how it can complement brand experiences. For example… in a restaurant setting where taste is (generally!) the main focus, could VR/AR enhance our other senses such as visual/audio to make the experience even better?
  • In the financial service sector, Visa and Mastercard are making moves with VR/AR to change the way we do payments. For example, finding simpler and faster ways to purchase products and services in combination with biometrics/security. A nice example of this was 'Visa checkout' which allows you to use a VR headset or iPad, to pick the products/services you want to buy (whilst watching TV/events/looking at the layout of your city), and then use voice authentication by saying 'Visa payment' to pay for it (all within about 30 seconds). 



  • This was a big subject during the conference; there was lots of discussion around how these can be used to complement a product or service.
  • The predominant focus was on how to make them effective and useful, and how to 'humanise' them. One example of how to do this is by enabling the chatbot to adapt and mirror a user's language and style, by allowing it to scan a person's social media accounts. 



  • As it stands, Blockchain currently underpins bitcoin, but there was a lot of discussion around how it could be used for other security related services, which could be very beneficial to consumers.
  • However, whilst there was a great understanding of Blockchain's potential/opportunity there seemed to be a lot of confusion about what it can actually do/how it works, so there is still some ground work to be done before this really takes off outside of use for bitcoin. 


Unintended consequences:

  • A rising area of discussion at MWC was focused on how tech companies can't just think about the user experience anymore, they have to think about the social/societal consequences of their product or service.
  • Tech companies are typically very customer centric and have primarily focused on the user experience up until now, yet in the process have had significant societal impact - disrupting a range of industries e.g. Uber changing the transport/employment market, AirBnB changing the hotels/housing market. Some of this has of course had a great positive impact, yet some has also created some very negative PR for these companies, which they are keen to mitigate.


Launch of the Nokia 3310!

  • We couldn't share our highlights without talking about the launch of the Nokia 3310!  It was awesome to see it up close and personal, especially given the number of years we worked with Nokia.  This was by far the most crowded exhibition stand in the handset arena, and we think the 3310 could really take off in emerging markets; its dual SIM, video, internet enabled and has a range of basic apps included. We can't wait to see what they do next…


Lani Jacobs

Digital Anthropologist

2CV London