The MWC 2021 agenda’s main trends are the very ones on which this webpage focuses. Beginning a few years back they were about to profoundly change the way we produce goods and services, although some were not that obvious.
None of these technologies would have progressed as they did without efficient networks—those providing the connectivity that enabled the economy to keep functioning during the Covid pandemic (see an opinion below). From 5G, in the near future, and 6G later into the decade, the integration of these technologies will get a kick. So will verticals like utilities, manufacturing, aerospace, logistics and warehousing, transportation and automotive. And not only, because the integrated intelligence that the new networks bring will help “green”—and not just greenwash—those industries, on the one hand, and support and help preserve water supplies and other natural resources by allowing precision agriculture, managed forestry, etc.
This year’s hybrid edition focuses “again” on the cloud, though a huge leap ahead from what operators, vendors and researchers discussed at the 2019 MWC edition.
“Cloudified” is perhaps the best new definition of the networks coming on: they are fully virtualized, 5G-ready and cloud-native to the core.
That is the more so important after the aha moment (if there ever was the need) that wireless simply needs to be available, both in the form of most advanced fully automated zero-touch networks and the more economic Open RAN architectures and operations that many operators around the globe can afford.
Private networks, see here, could turn out to be the way to deliver the 5G dream to select industrial settings. In this context, a helping hand, a very important on, will come from edge computing.
The edge platforms will help drive cutting-edge innovation in IoT deployments, a non-negotiable now in any vertical.
Many of these innovations will need or will benefit hugely from the quantum leap SIMs performed to become eSIMs and iSIMs.
Fintech, which saw since MWC 2019 an aggressive push, will be well represented.
Last but not least, there is the critical technology that allows measuring network performance and having network visibility. Granted a niche theme, it is moving to a front burner.
This is how Dr. Craig Labovitz, Chief Technology Officer for Nokia Deepfield portfolio of Network Intelligence, Analytics and DDoS Security products, put it.
“Yes, most providers have known what they have coming in on a given link on a given route. What they have not really known is the applications where the traffic originated, and which ones where driving the growth. Deepfield takes what previously was just numbers coming in in terms of traffic, say that coming in from Asia-APAC or North America, and provides visibility into specifically how much of that is Zoom or YouTube, or other applications. (…) Visibility is critical in this period, during which across Europe and across North America we have seen 30-40-50% increases in traffic. Knowing how this is impacting quality—the quality of the product, like the quality of video—is the real essential question. It gives providers insights to identify areas where there may or may not be quality issues or resources allocation issues to take action about it”.
(The full interview coming soon).