2017 was a phenomenal year for mobile, with great strides made when it comes to connected cars, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G, which although not yet fully defined, is now finally beginning to take shape. Our mobile phones have become a more integral part of our lives and are more powerful than ever – from the newly released iPhone X to Google’s Pixel, 2017 has seen operators, vendors, and device makers inject a new dose of excitement and creativity into the industry.
But as the year comes to a close, it’s time to start looking ahead at what’s to come. Here’s what we think 2018 will bring to the mobile industry:
- 5G: This is the new hot trend in the mobile industry, with operators racing to see who will be the first to put this technology in the hands of consumers. While much of what 5G really means still needs to be defined, those involved are all making “next step” announcements regarding 5G – take for example Verizon in the US, EE in the UK, Samsung in Korea, and the Canadian government. 2018 will be a pivotal year for the technology, as both private and public sectors try to further leverage this new development. 5G allows our devices to connect even better and faster, ultimately leading to more innovative ways of using wireless technologies – so there’s a lot at stake and a lot of interest in progressing.
- Connected cars: Earlier this year, we wrote about the most sought after in-car connectivity solutions. Connected cars were a big deal this year, but they will really start taking off in 2018. At a minimum, (as we previously explained) European Union regulations stipulate that by April 2018 all new production vehicles must be equipped with an Emergency Call function to automatically alert authorities if a traffic accident happens.In the US, Avis Budget Group and Kansas City announced the launch of their Mobility Lab, featuring a fleet of 5,000 internet-connected vehicles at over 20 Avis car rental locations, including Kansas City International Airport. Clearly, there’s been a significant push to get cars online. This is perhaps why connected cars are also a key focus of investment. A Vancouver-based startup just received a whopping $30 million investment to further develop its connected car technology. We expect this to be only one of many such announcements about investment in connected car technology in the coming year. And this is about what is or soon will be coming off the production line, autonomous cars (i.e., driverless) are also making headlines as they continue to be tested including trials on public roads.
- Smart cities: A number of cities, from London to Moscow and beyond are making significant investments in making themselves smarter. In the US, 66% of the cities are investing in smart city technologies like smart meters, intelligent traffic signals, and RFID sensors in paved areas. And it is not just cities getting in on the smart city game, many vendors such as Amazon and Google are trying to be part of this exciting trend. From drones to delivery bots to the success of the on-demand economy, cities are becoming increasingly smarter and connected spaces. In 2018, these technologies will become increasingly prevalent, with more and more cities rolling out programs to help them modernize and get connected.It is little wonder governments are focusing on smart cities. Smart technologies can improve the quality of life in cities, help councils and city governments provide improved and sustainable services and safeguard their infrastructure. This will help states and local governments deliver both critical and non-critical services to citizens.
In order for all of these predictions to materialize and for the advances we mentioned to progress, collaboration between operators, manufacturers, vendors, local municipalities, government authorities and so on will need to continue particularly in terms of service delivery and performance. Mobile networks, the engine that drives all of these developments, will need to be routinely monitored, measured, and tested. This is a necessity for those involved as they need to understand how well their technologies, systems, and services are performing across the networks – with the goal of identifying and addressing key areas of improvement.
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