Impressions of an exhibitor from Mobile World Congress!

I don’t know if it is the lure of learning all about the latest mobile gadgets or the beautiful city of Barcelona, but a lot of people end up gathering at  Mobile World Congress every February. Given the Telecom focus we here at RadiSys have, we attend this show on a regular basis. It’s a great place to see your customers and customer’s customers congregate on topics that are near and dear to them. Usually, there is a buzz about something and last year it was about LTE. Interestingly, this year, the buzz was notably missing – it was not LTE, WiMAX, Video. Or anything in particular for that matter.

If I had to pick  a theme for MWC 2010, it would have to be the “Smart Phone” and the associated  buzz of the “App Store.” Of course, our focus is typically on what is the impact of any such device on the infrastructure, and sure enough, smart phones have been having a great impact by driving data traffic.

It appears that this trend is likely to continue and the wireless infrastructure will continue to face challenges with increased data traffic from an assortment of mobile terminals including smart phones. This is good for us since our business is to upgrade the infrastructure with greater capabilities through industry standard ATCA (Advanced Telecommunication Compute Architecture) solutions. LTE is alive and well and so is WiMAX (in some specific geos). It seems to me that 3G will also continue to co-exist while LTE starts to take shape. It does appear, however, as if LTE (which is yet to be deployed widely) is inevitable!

In more general terms, the MWC crowd this year seemed a bit lower than past years, but my experience was that we had much more quality meetings and discussions with the right people. Lots of new companies, announcement and technologies were being shown, though it is sort of overwhelming to some extent to absorb all of this in one pass. It is almost better to just walk around to decide on where you want to go back and spend more time. With 8 halls and 100s of companies, it is impractical to conquer the information overload otherwise. It was interesting to see the “iPhone” look-alikes all around. I did not get a chance to attend any of the keynotes (customer meetings take priority, right?). However, what I read about them indicates a consistent theme – count on everything going toward mobile. But I suppose, what else do you expect from MWC keynotes?

In closing, it was a worthwhile event for me to attend, although I wish the weather had been a bit better. Maybe next time.

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