MWC through a Retail Lens

This week I made my first trip to MWC, formerly known as Mobile World Congress. 

The given reason for the name change is that the show is so much broader than mobile now. But as I think back to the most compelling technology I saw, most have mobile at the core. So the name change underscores that it’s not - or not only - that the show has non-mobile in it, but that mobile is fast becoming like the “e” in e-commerce; it’s all just blurred commerce and customer experience, no qualifiers necessary.

Based on what I saw, the themes, especially as they relate to commerce, can be summed up most succinctly as SPEED. The following takeaways aren’t mutually exclusive.

  1. Biometrics. Stop pulling out an ID, skip over the fingerprint scan, and look forward to facial recognition to enable what you want to do... and what companies want to do as it relates to you: Facial recognition will increase speed for customers, and also open up a world of possibilities (marketing and analytics, to start) for retailers and any other service provider.

  2. Payments. They’ll become invisible, or at least happen with much less friction. In part, but not only, because of biometrics. Self-checkout. No checkout. Just Go.

  3. Everything will become more natural. Transition-less interfaces that connect all the information one needs or wants across voice, text, gestures, and none of the above because it’s just “there.” Acknowledgement of a user’s past, present, and future — whenever, wherever.

  4. Last but not least, 5G. The low latency will make all of the above (and infinitely more) near-instantaneous. It’s why one could hardly glance anywhere in Barcelona without seeing “5G.”

Below are two videos from my Instagram stories in which I documented what I saw and liked. They fill in the blanks in some of the above.