|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|May 13, 2015 10:00 AM EDT||
MWC2015 Recap: Mobile, Social, Global Connectivity Push the Edge of Innovation
Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC) has come and gone, but it seems like just yesterday when colleagues, customers, partners and competitors converged in the always beautiful city of Barcelona as it played host to the annual event. Amid the tapas, jamón and sangria, amazing advances in technology were unveiled, including the latest innovations in mobile technologies, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT). Over the next week, we'll look at the show's most prevalent trends and explore how they foreshadow what's in store for the rest of 2015 and beyond.
Internet for all or keys to the kingdom?
MWC started off with a bang, with a first-day session from Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, that discussed global Internet access and raised the eyebrows of many mobile professionals in the audience. Zuckerberg shared his plans to bring free mobile Internet access with Facebook included, to developing countries. While network providers are slowly expanding coverage in these new markets, users are not yet aware of the depth of Internet offerings. Facebook, along with its mobile operator partners, wants to find ways to build out infrastructure while promoting free access to its social network as a trial service in hopes that it will ultimately encourage more people to get online and buy data plans. The Internet.org Innovation Lab is an Ericsson-Facebook collaboration and will provide an environment and expertise for optimizing applications, networks, devices and services for the next five billion Internet users.
Launched in 2014 Internet.org. provides free Internet access and basic services in developing countries, with each country having its own Internet.org connectivity optimized for its needs. In the Africa region, for example, many of the free services offered include access to health information, along with basic or free trial access to sites like Facebook. It doesn't include access to Facebook services that might compete with mobile operators, such as WhatsApp. Instead, these services attempt to help people get online and enjoy mobile Internet access.
Last year, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, a popular texting application that enables users to avoid wireless carriers' texting fees. By connecting billions of people to the Internet all around the world, Facebook can use apps to help more subscribers communicate for free using the connectivity provided by operators. In his session, Zuckerberg defended these apps by explaining that they drive data usage overall, which translates to more money flowing in for mobile carriers as subscribers pay for data and other services. He even surprised the audience by saying he would work with Facebook rival Google if it meant helping the spread of Internet access.
Zuckerberg's remarks came on the heels of a speech by Google Senior Vice President, Sundar Pichai, which detailed the company's plans to launch solar-powered drones and provide Internet in regions currently without access. While Zuckerberg made a great effort to appease the audience of mobile operators, there is no question that the ongoing Internet.org spread will be watched closely by the entire industry.
The conversations about global connectivity and the prevalence of the Internet included in this session set the stage for additional news and developments about the Internet of Things, mobile and cloud technologies that are unfolding. We'll share more details later this week - follow MetraTech on Twitter and don't miss an update
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