Mobile World Congress Americas

Facebook’s Anand Chandrasekaran, Snapdeal and Bharti Airtel talked about how existing platforms would evolve in the democratization of technology.

Autonomous cars would account for just part of the 100 million 5G connections that Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA and Meredith Attwell Baker CEO and president CTIA, predicted as a possibility.  

To reach that goal, the role of the U.S. government in 5G was also debated. Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises (and chairman of GSMA) joined Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure to speak of the importance of U.S. government interest at federal, state, and municipal levels to encourage 5G investments. They noted that California has become the primary stage for innovation and noted the “remarkable turnaround” in what was once a weak ecosystem now rich with collaboration and innovation not only on the West Coast but in Boston and other clusters of transformation taking place across the United States.

FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, talked about mobile operators’ role in aiding Irma and Harvey victims—with wireless communications networks becoming more resilient than they were in the era of Hurricane Sandy.  He noted that only five percent of cell cites were down in Harvey as opposed to 25 percent during Sandy. He also talked of Net Neutrality, stating that the FCC was actively examining the many comments it received about Internet regulations. He said the FCC was looking at how to encourage greater deployments and bring digital innovation to more people through construction and expansion of next-gen networks.

The importance of government support also came up in a keynote by Carlos Slim Domit, chairman of American Movil. He spoke about next-gen networks in Latin America, and the transformation fostered by moving to 4.5 G this year, and to SDN, virtualization and cloud-based solutions, as well as narrowband for IoT through 5G.

Mobile and Collaborative Ecosystems

Mobile was another pillar of most keynotes, as with Paypal CEO and President Dan Schulman, who said mobile would redefine the entire digital commerce and retail experience from discovery through to purchasing and delivery. Gina Bianchini, founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, said compelling interest around medical conditions, new professions, and emerging opportunities would soon compel people to leave the one-size-fits-all platforms like Facebook or Google to seize and engage through new apps and platforms.

That collaboration was punctuated over and over in talks, as that about “diverse ecosystems” in the 4th Industrial Revolution during which Verizon Wireless’ Dunne joined UPS' Juan Perez CIO and engineering officer; Nokia's Rajeev Suri, President and CEO; and AT&T’s Arroyo to discuss how collaboration would drive innovation, as did ZTE CEO Cheng Lixin in a separate keynote.

Further highlighting the importance of China-United States relations, AT&T Global Connection Management's Bill Hague and China Unicom’s Vice President Zhigang Han talked about 5G development and collaboration through ecosystems.

That focus on ecosystems was also a strong thread in a panel comprised of Qualcomm’s Amon, Paypal’s Schulman, along with Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla Foundation and Gina Bianchini, Founder and CEO of Mighty Networks.

Customer Experience

Facebook’s Anand Chandrasekaran, a former Yahoo Inc., Snapdeal and Bharti Airtel Ltd. executive, talked about how existing platforms would evolve in the democratization of technology. He also joined a panel discussion about how virtual assistants and chatbots would impact consumer experience in the IoT. Also involved were Google’s Jason Douglas, product management director for Actions on Google, as well as Rob High, vice president and CTO for IBM Watson, and Dr. Ashwin Ram of Amazon’s AI arm, along with Robin Wheeler, director of sales at Twitter.

Customer experience was also prevalent in content-and-media discussions, as that held by San Francisco 49ers President Al Guido and Unity CEO John Ricciteiello, who joined Essential’s President and COO Niccolo De Masi, Lauren Kunze CEO and co-founder PandoraBots and Amanda Kahlow, founder and chief security officer, 6Sense. They talked about the importance of “customer engagement” in content and advertising, with location-based services, user experience, content and media dominating conversations as that between Univision’s Matt Kaplan, senior vice president, Digital Ad Sales, and Conde Nast’s Arlie Sisson, vice president, Emerging Products joined Vivoom CEO and Founder Katherine Hays, and Founder and CEO of Apester Moti Cohen.


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