As usual, news from Mobile World Congress was dominated by flagship smartphone announcements, from Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and LG’s G5 to new releases from HTC and Sony. Advanced features of these new devices include high-resolution dual-lens cameras, larger HD screens, improved sound, and faster processors.
These inevitable advancements in device capabilities have implications for mobile operators – most significantly, increasing the content payloads they have to manage as the growing file sizes of better-quality photos, videos, music, and apps challenge smartphone storage capacities.
At MWC, Synchronoss measured this content explosion for the first time. Our study, “Containing the content explosion”, revealed that the volume of mobile content created by smartphone users is growing by more than 6 per cent per user per month. Between April 2015 and January 2016, overall content payloads grew by 55 per cent. At this rate, a typical 16GB smartphone – which already has almost 11GB of user content on it – will fill up in less than two months.
Global interest in a growing phenomenon
Our headline findings attracted international media attention – most notably, international broadcaster CNBC, which interviewed Synchronoss founder and CEO Stephen Waldis live on day two of MWC. The content explosion featured prominently.
Presenter Karen Tso asked about the dangers of mobile operators not offering their own branded personal cloud solutions to help users cope with pressures on smartphone storage capacities. These pressures are set to increase as activation rates of connected devices increase and third-party cloud solution providers threaten operators’ customer relationships.
Stephen was clear: providing a convenient, secure, and coherent solution to this problem will serve as a critical long-term customer retention tool and revenue generator for operators.
5G, IoT, and advances in connected cars
CNBC also quizzed Stephen on the road to 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and connected cars – all key topics on the Mobile World Congress agenda.
AT&T showed off a number of IoT demonstrations in, while Intel predicted that 5G rollout could happen as early as 2018. Meanwhile, it was interesting to see connected cars gathering momentum, after AT&T’s announcement last year that it was integrating its AT&T Drive platform with its home security and automation service, AT&T Digital Life.
In January, we announced that OnStar will use Synchronoss’ Integrated Life platform to expand the features and contextual relevance of the OnStar AtYourService commerce and marketing platform. This will allow personalized and relevant connections between where a subscriber goes and what they do – from mobile pre-ordering and advance payment to automatic activations for convenient “pay-and-go” fuel pump services.
As in-car connectivity continues to evolve, attention is turning to monetization. Cloud will be critical for consumers – both for storing personal information and content and for accessing other information across multiple devices, from car to home.
With non-traditional carmakers such as Apple likely to bring a car to market within the next three to five years, the focus for traditional manufacturers is shifting from under the hood to inside the car. Experience has become paramount. As Stephen said to CNBC: “It’s a different experience – it’s driving a computer that’s connected.”
Watch Stephen’s interview with CNBC at Mobile World Congress in full online here.