New Hot Topics To Learn About at MWC 2012

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In my last post, I highlighted some of the announcements expected at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2012. The hot topics you will probably see a great deal of media coverage about will stem from all the smartphone, tablet, LTE and cloud computing announcements expected at the show. These topics were all the rage at CES 2012 in Las Vegas and the volume should increase at MWC.

As a technology marketing person (and a bit of a geek myself), I devour the product and company news stories but I am also very interested in the comments on mobile industry trends made in the various keynote sessions and in numerous informal conversations around the conference. What’s the next killer app? What new types of industry-oriented applications are emerging that will push the industry in new and interesting directions? What are some of the new buzzwords that will soon become household terms?

Here are some of the things I will be looking for.

At CES, one very obvious trend at CES was that apps are not only pushing into new areas such as medical, education, retail, advertising and financial services, but that apps are also appearing in things like TVs and cars. Propelled by faster processors and 4G connectivity, apps are going in many new and interesting directions. Apps are becoming a huge market in-and-of-themselves and are validating one of the greatest marketing one-liners – “there’s an app for that.” Be on the lookout for apps in places you haven’t seen before.

One of the new buzzwords starting to show up in the mobile world lexicon is Augmented Reality (AR). Simply put, AR is a view of the real world augmented by computer-generated stuff (pardon the non-technical term!). Think of a picture of a famous landmark, such as Gaudi’s Segrada Familia in Barcelona, that when you look at it through your smartphone becomes annotated with audio, video, graphics, text or GPS data related to the image. Using AR techniques, the physical image may actually be diminished so that your perception of the landmark comes from the computer-generated view that might be easier to understand. AR on our phones and tablets may be one of the most unique advances in mobile technology yet. If I have peaked your interest, there are several sessions on AR at MWC. Here is a link to some Augmented Reality apps available on the iPhone – I’m intrigued by Wikitude, Spyglass and Golfscape (even though there is no technology that will improve my golf score!).

Finally, while it is already a buzzword, I think Near Field Communication (NFC) is also going to be a really gain momentum at MWC with key vendors announcing NFC-enabled products. Initially, everyone seems to be focused on its electronic wallet potential that will wipe out the need for cash and credit cards (a really big deal!). However, NFC could literally extend our senses, reaching out into our local environment to receive bits of information that we might find useful and making us aware of stuff (there’s that word again!) around us. There are all sorts of sessions on NFC at MWC.

And one more thing, if you are a marketing person you should attend some of the sessions on Mobile Advertising. We already have a glimmer of what this is all about, but we haven’t seen anything yet.  It’s already a hot topic that is going to get hotter and you owe it to yourself to stay on top of it.

All of these ideas are going to leverage more powerful mobile devices with fast (LTE and beyond) access to virtually unlimited amounts of information. Look for lots of activity from mobile and cloud computing infrastructure vendors to showcase the systems that will make all of these ideas possible.