Analysts at VDC Research have posted their thoughts on the technology on view at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this month.
As expected, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) were a big focus, but business case justifications were scarce. According to VDC: “The net effect was a greater emphasis on mobile solutions and application opportunities. However, as a result of this transition, what was lacking was any meaningful ideas around business model innovation to deliver these solutions and the financial implications of building out these next generation networks.”
Other observations included:
While rugged devices are typically not a big focus of the event, Panasonic did use MWC as the official European launch of its CF-33 rugged notebook. Like the CF-20 it is a two-in-one device, and VDC says that the company is the only rugged vendor with this design option.
HP, while not known for its rugged devices, has released the HP Pro x2 612 G2, which meets MIL-STD 810G standards.
VDC also mentioned rugged smartphone vendors Kyocera and Sonim. “A key initiative for both in 2017/18 will be for Band 14 certified devices in support of FirstNet, the U.S. nationwide public safety network,” VDC says. “We expect the FirstNet network contract award to be announced over the next couple of weeks. Although there remain a lot of unanswered questions (in particular the impact of opt-outs), the build out schedule is expected to be fairly aggressive.”
Crosscall offers a 5-in. rugged smartphone called the Trekker-X3 that can withstand salt water and dust, and includes a number of different sensors.
Dell also unveiled industrial-grade IoT gateways for rugged environments, the Dell Edge Gateway 3000 Series.
There were also indoor positioning and location technology vendors at the show that use Bluetooth-based beacons. LE (low energy) technology (which is driven by Apple’s iBeacon and Google’s Eddystone initiatives) has emerged as a de facto standard/solution. Fathom Systems, a business unit of Rx Networks discussed its Fathom Hub, Bluetooth hub with six antennas that acts as a backhaul solution for beacon traffic. It enables accuracy down to 1 meter and is supported by a cloud-based management console.
Cisco, meanwhile, is leveraging its WiFi infrastructure in combination with virtual beacons as part of its Cisco CMX (Connected Mobile Experience) system. According to VDC: “The solution includes Cisco Beacon Point, which uses virtual Bluetooth Low Energy beacons for indoor location services. The solution consists of a single appliance that can generate up to eight virtual beacons, a cloud-based management dashboard, and SDK that uses the virtual beacons to determine location.”
Cisco also offers a Hyperlocatoin Solution and client-side application.