MWC: Let the Madness Begin

It's that time of the year again as tens of thousands of communications industry professionals jump on a plane, train or donkey and head to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress show to see if they can last a week in Catalonia without being relieved of their sanity and/or wallet/purse. (Please remember not to walk down the Ramblas after midnight, folks, especially NOT WEARING YOR MWC BADGE!)

Light Reading will be there in force, with MWC veterans Dan "The Hat" Jones, Sarah "Reedy" Thomas and Iain "The Thinker" Morris (our recently appointed News Editor) joining me in the rush for the early trains to the Fira in an effort to be first in line for a Daisy Rollo coffee at the Spirent Communications plc stand.

Making MWC Worth It...
Top barista and all round fab person Daisy Rollo preps another cup of magic at the Spirent stand on the MWC show floor.
Top barista and all round fab person Daisy Rollo preps another cup of magic at the Spirent stand on the MWC show floor.

After that double hit of caffeine, anything's possible!

It feels almost like the show has already started, so loud has the MWC noise been during the past week. (See Telekom Austria Builds Multi-Vendor NFV 4G Core , Ericsson Revamps Its RAN With RBS 6000 Successor, Nokia Offers Virtual OSS, VNF Service, SpiderCloud Evolves Its Small Cells and Sprint, T-Mobile Test Ruckus's Refined VoWiFi for example.)

You can check out the pre-show action and keep up-to-date with all the developments at our dedicated MWC show site here on Light Reading.

So what will be the big discussion topics next week? Well there will be a lot related to the industry's ongoing "virtualization" obsession, so all manner of NFV, SDN and cloud developments will figure prominently, with a strong link to the migration path that operators need to take towards a 5G world as well as the R&D plans of the chip vendors and OSS players -- after all, next-generation servers and network management and orchestration will be key to the next generation of network architecture. And it all needs to be tested and verified too -- that's a major challenge that's often missed out from virtualization conversations and a massive opportunity for the test system vendors.

All of that, in turn, will be linked to many developments around the next generation of the radio access network, the integration and deployment of small cells and the introduction of self-organizing network (SON) capabilities, while backhaul and fronthaul will continue to be incredibly important sideshows, as will network security (the big chorizo in the room) and energy efficiency.

Of course, the Internet of Things (IoT) and its kissing cousin M2M will manifest themselves in the form of flash and expensive cars on the show floor as the connected car takes up valuable/outrageously priced (pick your adjective) floor space. All of this will be tied into the broader "smart cities" theme.

Behind all the enabling technology, though, there needs to be a business plan -- a strategy that will help make sense of the mountains of data being produced by applications, devices and networks and turn it into greenbacks. Advanced analytics and business support tools are just as important as a next-generation base station, virtualized load balancer or connected g-string, but they might not get quite as much fanfare at MWC, even though they likely hold the key to making money from the networks (and partnerships) of the future.

And of course someone, somewhere, will announce a dozen new smartphones that will have the gadget geeks whipping out their embedded video cameras and drool buckets.

I also expect a certain degree of existential angst from the mobile operators. How much of a future is there for a standalone mobile operator that doesn't own its own fixed access and metro network? Who will own the network infrastructure in 10 years' time? Still the telcos? Or the web services giants such as Google? Or the government?

We'll try to cover the key developments touching these topics while we're in Barcelona, especially as we engage with senior service provider executives in Bar Cojones at 1 a.m. on Tuesday night (you know you want to be there…)

What we can absolutely promise you is a pictorial guide to Barcelona's best and worst tapas. Everyone loves a foodie pic, right?

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Susan Fourtané 3/15/2015 | 2:19:50 AM
Re: Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? nasimson, I didn't save those articles. I'll see if I can find them again. But, gues what happened? The last day of the congress I was stnding just a couple of meters in the metro from a group of guys from Samsung, when the doors open one of the guys who was coming from MWC starting shouting "thief, thief" and running after the thief who had stolen his wallet. I was told by some locals that what they do is passing the wallet to others, so even if they caught him they didn't find the wallet on him, therefore, no one can do anything about it. I felt really bad just watching the scene. -Susan
nasimson 2/28/2015 | 10:51:06 AM
Re: Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? @Susan: Thanks for some tips on safe travel and stay. Can you please share the articles? I am interested to know the *ingenious* ways.
Simon 2/25/2015 | 4:54:14 AM
Re: Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? I'll ask Daisy and her team to make sure they have plenty of tea - the rose tea often proves very popular...
sarahthomas1011 2/24/2015 | 5:58:48 PM
Re: Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? Best news ever! I will see you there for tea...every morning. :) 
Susan Fourtané 2/24/2015 | 3:12:55 PM
Re: Madness is too fun a word... bobmachin, As you have noted, there is a growing tendency of supply chains focusing on value. Many are evolving to remain current as changes take the fast lane and staying behind is not an option. Telcos are taking a much more predominant role in the whole game than ever before. The IoT and M2M have a lot to do in the equation. It's very interesting to connect all the dots. -- And yes, you are right. I think I got one of those moments when you picture yourself in the worst case scenario, and didn't think too much on the bright side. Some years ago I got a really bad experience when I was living in Prague. Reading about pickpockets just brought those memories back. I suppose it's normal. I know I can't let it be a ghost for the rest of my life, though. Thanks. I won't get paranoid. :) -Susan
Susan Fourtané 2/24/2015 | 1:14:12 PM
Re: Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? Simon, How wonderful. :) Thanks for letting me know. I like all those teas you have mentioned. I will be super happy to provide feedback on each and every tea that Daisy may have available. If they are as good as the coffee they deserve to be famous as well. :) -Susan
Simon 2/24/2015 | 7:12:22 AM
Re: Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? Susan,

As well as coffee of all types, Daisy and her team also offer a range of teas. There's usually around seven different types of tea, including green, earl grey, lemongrass & ginger, rose, etc..

We're in Hall 6 (6J37) which is down the main aisle of the hall and on the left.

I'm not a real tea guru, but it would be nice to get feedback on whether the tea is as good as the coffee...
bobmachin 2/24/2015 | 5:14:18 AM
Madness is too fun a word... ... for what we can anticipate over four days next week.

Saying that, my impression last year was of less existential angst from the telcos, and more embracing of the new new - would be great to see that continuing and some serious discussion about how telcos find a remunerative position in the many new value chains that will emerge over coming years.

Re Barcelona, don't get paranoid about it, Susan. It's a great city, not least after dark, with great bars and amazing food. Just as in many other major cities, stick to areas that are busy (which means most of the downtown city next week), try not to look too much like a tourist and don't make it easy for opportunistic thieves to steal stuff from you and you'll be fine.
Susan Fourtané 2/24/2015 | 2:43:19 AM
Coffee, coffee ... What about tea at MWC? Ray, 

Does your favorite barista at Spirent Communications serves only good coffee, or good tea as well?  

Some days ago I was reading an article about the many ingenious ways thieves and pickpockets use for robbing tourists and MWC goers.

The piece also mentioned to never wear the MWC badge outside the event premises, or have visible anything that shouts "MWC." they mentioned the distractions they create, including those with birds, offering you help, and plenty of things that made me rethink and change my mind about the bag I was planning to take with me.

Now I'll take a cross-body one with a wide stripe; they easily rip off thin stripes. Living in such a safe city as Helsinki is, it's very stressful to think that there is chance of being robbed every minute you spend in the streets. :/

I wonder if a city can be called smart with such lack of security. 

Oh, and I have no plans to be anywhere out of my shell past 9pm :D 

mdraznin 2/23/2015 | 2:56:13 PM
Re: Madness-What Madness? On more macro level, glad for your dedicated MWC channel. Good idea that should help streamline at least some of this behemoth.
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