09.25.2017

What you missed at Mobile World Congress–Americas

Author:

Two weeks ago, the first annual Mobile World Congress–Americas event was held at the Moscone center in San Francisco, California. This event, held in partnership with CTIA, is the first time a GSMA MWC event of this magnitude has been held on American soil. Were you able to make it? No? Well, here is what you missed. 

While HZO is no stranger to the “mothership” event held every year in Barcelona, instead of exhibiting, we decided to walk the show between meetings to see the latest technologies on display and see how HZO could help protect the various market products being showcased. While on the quest to help create an HZO Protected World, you can’t help but notice some of the interesting trends and highlights along the way. 

“The Cloud”

For those looking for a wide variety of technologies on display, similar to what you would find at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) you would unfortunately be disappointed. Mobile World Congress–Americas focused much more on software and tele-infrastructure than the primary GSMA show in Barcelona. While this was no surprise given the setting in Silicon Valley and the partnership with CTIA, we couldn’t help but notice many companies talking about 5G, network solutions, streamlined logistics and data security throughout the show floor. These topics go hand in hand with an ever connected world and were a good fit for many of the attendees searching to network with key companies and learn how to better their business. Hey, we even found “The Cloud” that everyone has been talking about for years.

IoT:

Speaking of networking, IoT (internet of things) was everywhere as the world continues to connect both consumer and infrastructure devices to speak with each other, both inside and out. But, what about when it rains? Don’t worry, we have that covered.

Waterproofing: 

Sure, we’re partial to this subject, but you can’t deny that waterproofing has become a more mainstream topic in the past couple of years as phones, outdoor cameras, LED boards and IoT devices brace for outdoor environments. Water protection for electronics was definitely a theme at MWC–Americas. From Samsung showing off their latest Galaxy Note 8 device with water and dust resistance to overseas vendors touting weatherproof tapes and adhesives. Even the proverbial ruggedized phone sitting in a hastily assembled fish aquarium made an appearance multiple times throughout the show. While these technologies may work to a degree for their intended uses, it’s clear that HZO’s usage of PCB coatings and Parylene coatings along with our proprietary equipment and processes is truly the next generation of waterproofing–available today. Okay, shameless plug over. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality:

Ever since the debut of the Occulus Rift on Kickstarter in 2012, virtual reality headsets have become a staple at trade shows, especially technology events like CES, MWC and more. While the use case of such technology is still being debated, there is no doubt that many companies are putting forth a great deal of effort to make it a “thing”. We couldn’t walk very far at the show without a vendor calling out to us to try their latest immersive experience by donning a pair of glasses to watch their virtual sales pitch or simply to demonstrate the technology itself. Samsung for example featured a host of exercise bikes for participants to try out their Samsung Gear VR headset in a gamified exercise session.

Often confused with virtual reality, augmented reality (projecting virtual objects in the real world…two words: Pokemon Go) had a definite presence at the show. Sprint showcased Microsoft’s HoloLens to project the future of their network technology on an empty white table. Startup company, Nanomagnetics featured a generic game controller at the show with a lot more than met the eye. The compact unit featured haptic feedback to augment your gaming experience. We were able to feel the realistic vibrations of a simulated machine gun, the railgun from Halo and even the unnerving pulse of a human heart to take any gaming experience to the next level

Whether or not virtual reality sticks around, it is clear that augmented reality is poised to become a part of the mainstream culture given Apple’s recent debut of ARKit in iOS 11 and it’s introduction of iPhone X.

iPhone X: 

While Apple historically never exhibits at trade shows, you can’t help but notice the shiny aluminum elephant looming in the room at any trade event. Mobile World Congress–Americas was no exception. Debuting the same day as the beginning of the show, Apple unveiled the new iPhone X just a short drive from the Moscone Center at its new campus in Cupertino. Despite Apple’s best efforts, much of the new flagship phone’s details had been leaked previously, which lead to many vendors featuring cases, screen covers and accessories designed for the new phone that technically hadn’t seen the light of day that morning. That afternoon, we stumbled across a near perfect prototype on a booth’s back counter mere hours after the real phone had been unveiled to the masses.

Mobile World Congress–Americas for all intents and purposes seemed to be a success for all who attended and exhibited. The show is already scheduled to happen again in 2018 in Los Angeles. HZO to exhibit at a future MWC–Americas event? We’ll see what the future holds.