MWC16 Opens with Powerful Commitment to Build a #betterfuture

Notwithstanding the strike by the metro and bus operators that snarled Monday-morning traffic across Barcelona, Mobile World Congress 2016 (MWC16) opened as planned on February 22 with huge excitement about flagship product launches, connected cars, augmented and virtual reality, amazing innovations for the smart home, and significant progress toward the realization of 5G.

“Mobile is Everything” is the theme of MWC in 2016, being held February 22-25 in Barcelona, Spain, at the Fira Gran Via conference center. Billed as the world’s biggest and most influential mobile event, MWC16 is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors from over 200 countries, with over 2,200 exhibitors participating.

Numbers provide perspective on the sheer scale of the mobile industry: There are now 7.6 billion connections. The mobile economy has an economic value of USD$3.1 trillion. There are 32 million people employed in the mobile industry. An estimated 5.6 billion people will be connected by 2020.

“I think it is fair to say that everything that has the benefit of being connected in the future, will be connected,” said Mats Granyrd, Director General, GSMA, in his opening keynote. He added, however, “It is not only about connectivity, but also about business transformation.”

Granyrd laid out a unifying vision for mobile at the center of an inclusive digitally connected society, one being championed by the GSMA through its #betterfuture initiative. He cited the industry’s commitment to support the 17 U.N. Sustainability Development Goals. “By working together, the mobile industry is truly connecting everyone and everything to a better future. That must be at the forefront in everything we do.”

“But we are challenged,” said Granyrd on a somber note. “It is safe to say, what has brought us to this position will not keep us here. We do need to be more innovative. We need to be more collaborative. And there is no better place than here at the Mobile World Congress to do that.”

Digital Transformation of the Telco Industry

The GSMA’s call to action for the mobile industry underscored SAP’s message of Leading Digital Transformation. With telecommunications carriers facing dual pressures from losing voice revenue while incurring increasing costs of asset maintenance, many will need to undertake digital transformation to modernize their networks to 5G and fiber optics to stay relevant to their customers.

The showcases that SAP presents at its stand in the high-traffic area of Hall 3 are designed to offer an event experience that provides visitors with key takeaways about how digital transformation can impact their business. The Gigapixel Wall, for example, provides an immersive experience in the power of Big Data analysis. A combination of 8,000 individual pictures taken with a robotic arm, the Gigapixel Wall measures 600k by 300k pixels. In a very masterful way, it challenges and engages visitors to find relevant detail among a mass of unstructured data.

SEAT, SAMSUNG & SAP Team Up to Build the “Connected Car”

The SAP showcase that is attracting the most attention from visitors, press, and analysts features a sporty SEAT Leon SD Experience connected car. The concept car is the result of an exciting collaboration of SEAT, Samsung, and SAP to build cutting-edge technological innovations for vehicle-centric services. In this case, the demo shows how the user can open and lock the car using a digital key that is available on a smartphone. The digital key can also be easily shared with another driver of the car – and can be revoked once that driver is done with the car.

The car also helps to solve a typical urban parking challenge of finding and paying for a parking space. Through a smartphone interface, the driver can reserve a parking space – and pay for it – in advance without having to get out of the car or circle city blocks in search of a space. The SAP technology is based on SAP Vehicles Network and SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). Payment is made with Samsung Pay, which integrates with MirrorLink to display the smartphone data on the car’s head unit. Payment is approved with the fingerprint authorization from the driver on the car cockpit area. Find out more and watch a video from SEAT.

Startup Building Radar Wins Space App Camp

Following a round of public pitches and jury deliberation, the winners of the Space App Camp were announced at the SAP stand on February 22. The winning team – Building Radar – won the jury over with its concept to offer early detection of construction projects based on its proprietary satellite-supported search algorithm and thus a professionalization of pipeline management in the construction industry . As their prize, they will receive a check for €5,000 and an opportunity to join the SAP Startup program. Raoul Friedrich, co-founder of Building Radar, says, “The next step is to scale up business – to grow more and to sell the product.” Based in Munich, Germany, Building Radar is already providing service to a handful of customers in diverse markets.

Under the sponsorship and management of SAP’s CIO Center for Digital Leadership, the Space App Camp challenged young university talents and promising startups to develop SAP industry use cases based on Earth Observation data from the European Space Agency (ESA) on SAP  HANA Cloud Platform. The five participating teams were selected from a field of 400 applicants to present their concepts at MWC16.

“With our innovation fast-track approach at the Space App Camp, we aim to help startups and young university talents to rethink how business is done today, bring ideas to prototypes in only two days as well as convert them into live solutions in only a few months,” said Dr. Carsten Linz, Business Development Officer and global head of SAP’s CIO Center for Digital Leadership. “Collaborating with ESA helps us to combine the power of SAP HANA Cloud Platform with ESA’s accurate, timely, and easily accessible Earth Observation information. This is digital innovation at its best and it helps to shape the future of the digital economy.”

The CIO Center for Digital Leadership manages SAP’s digital transformation; showcases its approach to customers; drives digital platform-based innovation in an open ecosystem with SAP employees, student teams, and startups; and addresses digitalization holistically addressing customers’ c-level audience.

During the Space App Camp presentation at MWC16, Linz and Prof. Volker Liebig, director of Earth Oberservation Programs for the ESA, signed a letter of intent to further enhance the partnership in using the SAP HANA Cloud Platform with Earth observation data from ESA in joint innovation programs.

Josef Aschbacher, Head of the Programme Planning and Coordination Service, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, ESA, explained why this action is meaningful in establishing ongoing cooperation between SAP and ESA. “The significance is that two big players in different domains are getting together and in a formal way have signed a cooperation: SAP, being a market leader in Big Data processing with the SAP HANA platform, and ESA, being a big provider of Earth observation satellite Earth data, which are huge volumes of data and need to be processed very fast.” He summarized by saying, “So, you have the SAP HANA platform on one side and the ESA data on the other side – the perfect match for good cooperation.”

Read more about the Space App Camp on the SAP News Center: Newsbyte: SAP and the European Space Agency Name Space App Camp Prize Winner.

New Telecommunication Offerings from SAP and Hitachi

At MWC16, SAP also unveiled a new offering targeted to the needs of communication services providers (CSPs): SAP Presents Big Data Margin Assurance to Help Telecoms Increase Profits. Powered by SAP HANA, the solution provides CSPs with increased insight into revenues, margins and costs across their operations. Having this business information enables them to transform from average revenue per user (ARPU) to average margin per user (AMPU) business models.

In other news, a new solution from Hitachi Data Systems, aimed at improving business forecasting for telecommunications and media service providers, integrates SAP Predictive Analytics to provide the industry with real-time insight into customer behavior to reduce churn. Hitachi made the announcement at MWC16 on February 22.

Browse Photos from the Event

Follow the News Live at MWC16

To follow MWC 2016 news from SAP, check in daily with the SAP News Center.

Keynotes will be streamed live by Mobile World Live TV, broadcasting from Halls 3 & 4. The event hashtag is #MWC16. Follow SAP on Twitter @SAP_Telco.