What will be THE big thing at the Mobile World Congress 2011?

Last updated: 11 April 2014

Do you have your golden ticket for Barcelona this year? Packed your really comfortable shoes? Now you’re ready to trawl the aisles looking for the next big thing. I don’t think anyone needs another article on how this will be the year of the Tablet or Android  even though they will both be driving new subscriptions and creating applications we couldn’t imagine a year ago.

Aside from what we’ll be calling Nokia-Soft, I feel that 2 themes will be the show stoppers this year. Firstly 2011 will see mobile payment and more specifically NFC hit the streets with a big boost from handsets becoming available and pilots turning into real deployments like in Japan and France. It’s increasingly important as the developed world risks being left behind by the emerging nations who are already pioneers in mobile banking and money transfer – see this video on how it is changing lives in Thailand, Colombia and Uganda.

The second trend covers how the mobile device is becoming the main customer touch-point for digital marketers. Smartphones are becoming the norm as shown in a recent study from comScore.

Smartphone penetration is highest among persons age 25-34 with 36.2% of mobile owners in this segment using a smartphone device.

Also data tariffs now mostly flat rate users are often using their phone as the key access point for things like social networks and email, often turning to their PC in second place. Facebook is a great example with 200 million active mobile users from the total of more than 500 million. This means that companies need to have a great mobile presence and advertizers have already started to chase the mobile buck.

I also feel that another area will be at the show in force this year and it has nothing to do with mobile subscribers. M2M communication services will get machines talking to each other so that we no longer have to worry about reading the electricity meter or phoning the emergency services if you have a car accident. Machine 2 Machine communication won’t just change the way we live our lives but for mobile operators it will also give them the next wave of growth. Writing for Telematics Update, Susan Kuchinskas claimed fleet and passenger cars will increasingly become part of M2M networks. She highlighted research from Analysys Mason which showed worldwide M2M connections will soar over the next ten years, from 21.6 million in 2010 to 276.5 million in 2020.

Anyway, that’s just a few thoughts about what will be making waves this year and of course Gemalto has it’s bit to say in each of these areas so see our Mobile World Congress preview or visit the stand in Hall 8 on stand 8A102. Looking forward to the benefits of hindsight after the show to see how accurate we were.