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As MWC2024 draws to a close, what has the show been like? Having spent the past few days walking the show floor, the experience ultimately depends on what you were seeking. I’d say attendance numbers were up, probably not back to 2019 levels, but higher than the past couple of years.

AI is everywhere. It seems like every other stand is trumpeting their variant of AI and its capabilities. Amongst the myriad of drones, handsets, robotics, 5G, WiFi7, Cybersecurity, etc., was there anything that really stood out or was different from previous years? For me, no, there wasn’t, unless you went and actively searched for it.

Given that everyone is offering some sort of AI, whether it’s generative AI or another type, what use cases are actually working? This is a point that I struggle with regarding AI. I understand there are benefits, but what is working as of now? A conversation I had with Qvantel pointed me in one direction, which you’ll be able to hear more about regarding the impact that AI is having on customer care.

If there are limited use cases now, and by that, I mean cases where AI can offer a proven benefit or advantage that justifies the hype surrounding it, then what needs to happen for AI to deliver on what has been promised? Does part of this come down to 5G not having the capability to fully exploit what AI can do? It depends on who you talk to. Therefore, will 6G — and I’m going to be a bit careful here, as the risk, as has been said in another blog, is that we overhype 6G in a similar way to saying that AI solves almost every single issue.

There were only a few instances where 6G was discussed or shown. One benefit I can see that does add value is that of having integrated sensing and communication. When paired with low latency and significantly increased data rates, this combination should greatly enhance business use cases and enable far wider AI use.

For the average consumer, 6G may end up just representing yet another number that will be used to try to get them to upgrade to a new handset. For business use, though, the combination of AI and 6G might, and I stress might, just be what could make a difference. The negative, of course, is that it’s what 5 years away still, which for some of us is too long.

One final thought: In Northern Europe, we’ve just about come to the end of one of the wettest winters on record. I initially thought it was just in the UK, but apparently not. However, in Barcelona, they are suffering from a severe drought. Can the industry ignore the environmental impact of people traveling halfway around the world just to attend a show, especially when it’s clear that climate change is well and truly upon us?

Chris Green

Chris is a consultant in digital TV and tech

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