MWC 2022: Trends in futuristic applications and network infrastructure
Mar 16, 2022 Dr Yu-Han Chang
The MWC event in Barcelona earlier this month gathered more than 60,000 mobile experts from all around the world. From digital applications to network infrastructure, IDTechEx was there to cover major developments in the industry! Here are some of the key trends we observed at MWC2022 Barcelona.
4D Metaverse display (SK Telecom).
Key trend in applications for connected world:
At the event, one of the most eye-catching showcases was the 4D Metaverse display debuted by the South Korean operator SK Telecom; visitors take a ride on a giant robotic arm, navigating in the "Meta Planet", a virtual world created by the company. This was a long way from being the only Metaverse applications we saw at the event. Qualcomm, a chipset provider for AR/VR goggles, demonstrated metaverse applications, such as entertainment that provides immersive experiences and remote shopping. HTC showcased several new solutions for 5G and VR for entertainment as well as enterprise purposes, HTC VIVE teamed with Holoride to deliver VR entertainment for passengers in moving cars, converting short and lengthy car rides into enjoyable and immersive experiences; they have also demonstrated how VR can be utilized for safety training purposes when the working environment is of high risk to workers. Alongside demonstrations from those big corporates, many start-ups also presented their AR/VR solutions at MWC2022.
Connected robot barman serving drinks for visitors (Telefonica)
There are also lots of applications demonstrated on connected robots and drones for enterprise purposes. Telefonica showcased its robotic bartender delivering drinks to visitors, while IBM demonstrated how the Boston Dynamics robot dog may assist in navigating rough dangerous terrain. Smart home is also another key theme for many companies. Both Huawei and ZTE have dedicated spaces in the booth showcasing their smart home products. Android has hired a few outdoor booths to show visitors what a future connected house may look like.
Three key trends for the network infrastructure:
Open RAN, Cloud, and energy efficiency of base station. For this article, we will just focus on Open RAN.
Open RAN is probably one of the hottest topics at MWC this year. Big international telecom operators like Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and SK Telecom are displaying their Open RAN development and demonstrating high confidence in Open RAN prospects at MWC. Aside from those demonstrations, many other companies, ranging from hardware to software and platform providers, have entered the Open RAN market. However, for the three major legacy system vendors: Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, Open RAN does not appear to be a priority. Ericsson has created a "Cloud RAN" solution, but those who buy it will be unable to mix and match it with other suppliers' devices and software. From the beginning, Huawei has shown no interest in Open RAN. Nokia appears to be the most involved in Open RAN development, however, we learned from some Open RAN suppliers that Nokia's RAN is not interoperable as well. Despite the prosperous momentum in Open RAN, there are remaining challenges, such as device interoperability and RIC development. Please refer to this article where IDTechEx discussed Open RAN challenges in-depth. IDTechEx has closely watched Open RAN development and a detailed analysis of Open RAN market dynamics can be found in our newly published report.
For further understanding of the overall 5G markets, players, technologies, opportunities, and challenges, please refer to the IDTechEx report "5G Technology, Market and Forecasts 2022-2032". In addition, IDTechEx has also authorized several market research reports that cover critical 5G technologies in-depth, including "5G Small Cells 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets, Forecast", "Low-loss Materials for 5G 2021-2031", and "Thermal Management for 5G". For more information on our 5G portfolio, please visit our website.