Written by: Katie Packham– Senior Agency Marketing Manager, Racepoint Global London

This time last year, MWC was frozen numb by snow storms. Roll forward a year and Barcelona was bathing in glorious February sunshine and it came as no surprise that the warmer weather also brought renewed optimism for attendees.

The talk across the eight exhibition halls at the Fira Gran Via focussed on how 5G, AI and IoT will converge into real-life applications this year to the benefit of hundreds of millions of consumers the world over.

According to a study released by the GSMA, 5G will account for 15% of global connections by 2025, with China and the US hitting 30% and 50% respectively. Mobile operators are currently investing $160 billion a year upgrading networks to accommodate an anticipated 25 billion global IoT connections by 2025 with IoT related revenue reaching $1.1 trillion.

As 5G is seen as the great enabler for IoT and edge computing, so too will the real-world use of AI be fundamental to the efficient and effective management of those 5G networks and the applications that rely on them. Rather than focussing on robotics, self- driving cars and so-called sexier applications, this year’s MWC hints at the true value of AI lying in its ability to keep the networks healthy by performing the “bland” but crucial back-office maintenance required to identify and address issues – perhaps even before they arise.