MWC 2022: Trends in Futuristic Applications and Network Infrastructure

The MWC event in Barcelona earlier this month brought together over 60,000 mobile experts from around the world. From digital applications to network infrastructure, IDTechEx was there to cover major industry developments! Here are some of the top trends we saw at MWC2022 Barcelona.
Metaverse 4D display (SK Telecom).
At the event, one of the most eye-catching showcases was the Metaverse 4D display launched by South Korean operator SK Telecom; visitors board a giant robotic arm, navigating the “Meta Planet”, a virtual world created by the company. These were far from the only Metaverse apps we saw at the event. Qualcomm, a chipset vendor for AR/VR glasses, showcased metaverse apps, such as entertainment that offers immersive experiences and remote shopping. HTC introduced several new solutions for 5G and VR for entertainment and business purposes, HTC VIVE partnered with Holoride to bring VR entertainment to passengers in moving cars, converting short journeys and long drives into pleasant and immersive experiences; they also demonstrated how virtual reality can be used for safety training purposes when the work environment poses a high risk to workers. Along with demos from these big companies, many start-ups also showcased their AR/VR solutions at MWC2022.
Connected robot bartender serving drinks to visitors (Telefonica)
There are also many demonstrated applications 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 can help navigate rough and dangerous terrain. The smart home is also another key topic for many companies. Both Huawei and ZTE have dedicated spaces on the booth to showcase their smart home products. Android rented a few outdoor booths to show visitors what a future connected home might look like.

Open RAN, Cloud and base station energy efficiency. For this article, we will only focus on Open RAN.

Open RAN is probably one of the hottest topics at MWC this year. Major international telecom operators such as Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and SK Telecom are showcasing their Open RAN development and showing great confidence in the prospects of Open RAN at the MWC. Besides these demos, many other companies, ranging from hardware vendors to software and platforms, have entered the Open RAN market. However, for the three main vendors of legacy systems: Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia, Open RAN does not seem to be a priority. Ericsson has created a “Cloud RAN” solution, but those who buy it won’t be able to mix and match it with devices and software from other vendors. From the beginning, Huawei showed no interest in Open RAN. Nokia seems to be the most involved in Open RAN development, however, we have learned from some Open RAN vendors that Nokia RAN is also not interoperable. Despite the prosperous momentum of Open RAN, challenges remain, such as device interoperability and RIC development. Please refer to this article where IDTechEx discussed Open RAN challenges in depth. IDTechEx has been following the development of Open RAN closely and a detailed analysis of Open RAN market dynamics can be found in our recently published report.
For a better understanding of the global 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.
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