Prepare to be assimilated with Virtual Reality

Mobile is everything. Prepare to be assimilated, monitored and connected wirelessly and at high speed.

Having returned from Barcelona, the three key themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress appeared to be virtual reality (VR), the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G. As well as the amazing number of Chinese and French (yes) smartphone manufacturers.

No self-respecting stand was without one or more VR headsets. Leading the charge: Samsung’s huge day one launch, and people queuing to take in the experience on SK Telecom’s yellow submarine adventure, or practice their downhill skiing with the GSMA. The link? The increasing power of smartphones to provide a fully immersive environment, especially for gaming.

IoT also appeared everywhere, with Nokia, Intel, GSMA and others promoting the opportunities associated with connecting things to the Internet –  though the non-machine-to-machine use cases and the commercial models all seem tenuous at present. Having said that the LoRa Alliance recognises the need to standardise inter-operability for low-power devices if this market is to take off.

The live demos of pre-standard “Narrowband-IoT” Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks using long range, low bandwidth (sub 384kbps) Extended Coverage GPRS and separately LTE were impressive. And Vodafone Spain is already trialing connected water meters with coverage even possible underground

And from low speed to high speed 5G and the next “big thing”, many stands were making the pitch for the benefits of high-speed, low latency, bandwidth able to inter-operate with Wi-Fi for enhanced coverage and throughput. Though one wonders how the industry will deliver the necessary backhaul cost effectively.

Mind you we’re going to need this bandwidth once we’re all assimilated by VR.