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Key IoT trends uncovered at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024
Mon, 1st Apr 2024

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2024 revealed critical trends in the Internet of Things (IoT) and telecommunications, according to a report from IoT Analytics. The research-focused firm produced a 123-page event report to highlight 10 significant trends noticed during the MWC.

Knud Lasse Lueth, CEO at IoT Analytics, stated, "Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024 brought to light the ongoing evolution within the IoT and telecom sectors. AI showcases took centre stage this year. 5G advances, the anticipation around 6G and a pronounced focus on sustainability was also visible. Our team put together an in-depth 123-page event report, covering major developments from more than 130 companies that presented or exhibited at the fair."

Principal Analyst at IoT Analytics, Satyajit Sinha, noted that "Leveraging eSIM and eUICCs as a hardware-based root of trust represents an innovative step in enhancing IoT security. Securing hardware forms the foundational layer for chip-to-cloud security. As we approach the era of quantum computing, focusing on quantum-resistant solutions and cryptographic agility will serve as a proactive defence against new cyber threats."

This year's conference reported a 14% increase in attendees compared to the previous year, amassing 101,000 participants and hosting 2,700 exhibitors. Even though the pandemic has affected the number of attendees, the number of exhibitors rose by 12% setting a new five-year record. John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd. said, "MWC Barcelona embodies the energy and vibrancy of the mobile ecosystem. We are honoured to host this special event, which, once again, has delivered an exceptional four days of debate, thought leadership, inspiration, and deal-making."

The IoT Analytics team observed that AI was a common theme among numerous new products and projects at MWC 2024. However, AI was not part of every significant advancement. The full event report gives an elaborate account of the technologies, trends, and insights from key telecom industry players.

Moreover, the report mentions 41 industry trends, among which AI integration, telecom and satellite convergence, security, and sustainability were prominent. These trends showcase the potential future of telco IoT connectivity emphasising more intelligent and automated networks, improved anomaly detection and user-friendly AI tools. Companies like Ericsson and Rakuten Mobile are actively pursuing these developments, respectively introducing the Telecom AI concept and collaborating to develop AI tools for the telecom industry.

Furthermore, MWC 2024 saw advancements in cellular network technologies that enhance network performance, efficiency, and capacity to support new applications and services. Innovations driven by standalone 5G (SA 5G) deployments, such as network slicing, the commercialization of 5G-Advanced (5G-A), and AI's foundational role in the impending 6G networks were also part of the highlighted trends.

The report also pointed out that the convergence between cellular and satellite ecosystems is revamping global IoT deployment. MWC 2024 saw strategic collaborations between major telecommunication entities, including Deutsche Telekom, a German telecom provider launching IoT tariffs with geostationary satellite providers, and US-based non-geostationary satellite infrastructure provider Omnispace collaborating with MTN, a South African multinational telecom provider, to enhance 5G connectivity through low-Earth orbit satellites.

Lastly, discussions around sustainability and energy efficiency were trending upwards in Q1 2024 corporate earnings calls. Enhanced energy management in RAN, front-haul control, cell administration state management, energy-saving modes, and deployment of RAN intelligent controllers are some of the strategies companies are employing to bolster passive sustainability.