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Apr 5, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Mobile World Congress: Virtual reality at the heart of innovation

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) – the leading trade fair in its field – was recently held in Barcelona (Spain) and was dominated this year by the theme of virtual reality, closely followed by personal assistants and connected objects. Here, we run through the latest technology that will soon hit the headlines.




Various smartphone manufacturers have been promising batteries that last longer in future. The P10 from Huawei – number three in the market behind Samsung and Apple – has 40% extra battery life, while Nokia has relaunched its legendary 3310, but this time with a capacity of 22 hours of conversation.


20 minutes enough to ensure a day’s use


It was speed of recharging more so than battery performance, however, that was the focus of attention at the recent MWC in Barcelona. 20 minutes is now enough to ensure a day’s use for Huawei, while BlackBerrys can now get charged up to 50% in 36 minutes. Indeed, all manufacturers are seeking to indirectly increase the usage time of their products. Another technological leap forward that was front and centre at the Congress was virtual reality headsets.

Every manufacturer is now offering them, with applications now being added for business purposes such as virtual meeting rooms, bringing together participants located in different countries.


Virtual reality, virtual assistants


Augmented reality was also ubiquitous, with glasses that present the entire solar system before your very eyes, and turn climbing walls into the setting of a giant video game. Virtual assistants are also becoming more common, in particular on smartphones. LG and Motorola have both integrated an assistant into their most recent generation of smartphone, while the forthcoming Samsung S8 should follow suit. Huawei also have Alexa, the Amazon virtual assistant, as part of their Mate 9.

Huawei is giving gift boxes to people who buy the Mate 9 in the US -

— TECH ENTOURAGE (@MimounMourad) March 3, 2017

Google meanwhile have announced that its own in-house assistant will be made available for all Android mobiles – no mean feat, since by 2019, 20% of smartphone interactions will involve assistants of this kind, according to a study by Gartner.


Gartner Says by 2019, 20 Percent of User Interactions With Smartphones Will Take Place via VPAs (Dec-2016)

— Martech|VBProfiles (@MartechProfiles) December 30, 2016

Connected toothbrushes and shoes

Drones (for managing and monitoring networks, moving objects and demonstrating 5G capability) and robots were two of the other big stars of the congress. KT (Korea Telecom) showcased two robotic arms playing the drums, changing rhythms throughout the day. At Oberthur’s stand, Pepper – the little robot designed by SoftBank Robotics – was on hand to welcome passers-by, while Ubuntu had two models of humanoid robots developed by Barcelona-based Pal Robotics.




Connected objects also continue to be to the fore, and there is now even a connected toothbrush, developed by a small French company which records the user’s every movement and then sends data to their smartphone, enabling them to check that every tooth has been cleaned to satisfaction. Another innovation was intelligent soles developed by a new Indian player on the market. They can be slipped into your shoes and are connected to the GPS of your smartphone. They vibrate in either the left or the right foot to tell you which way to turn and to guide you to your destination.


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