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4 Key IoT Trends from Mobile World Congress 2017

March 7, 2017


Robb Henshaw

As you’d expect from one of the world’s largest gatherings of service providers, this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) was packed with IoT announcements, demos and discussions. IoT certainly wasn’t the ONLY topic being discussed, but when you look at the top trends coming out of MWC, IoT is central to each of those themes.

Here’s what we saw dominating the conversation at MWC this year:

Low-Power Wide-Area-Networks (LPWANs)

While unlicensed LPWAN technologies like LoRa and Sigfox have stolen the show at MWC in years past, this year it was all about the licensed technologies. Part of this is due to the fact that the 3GPP completed its standardization of Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT), the cellular narrowband technology developed specifically for low power IoT applications.

As a result, a flood of service providers announced their intended support of NB-IoT, while here at Cisco Jasper, we announced that we have already completed our first live trials of NB-IoT with one of our service provider partners, Optus, in Australia. Meanwhile, ARM announced that it has acquired Mistbase and NextG-Com to get into the NB-IoT market.

LTE-M was also on full display this week, with dozens of service providers making announcements about their LTE-M availability. For example, one announcement revealed that AT&T, KPN, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Telefonica, Telstra, Telus and Verizon have all confirmed their support for global deployment of LTE-M.

IoT Security

The topic of IoT security has been on everyone’s lips for the past couple of years, but with the recent IoT DDoS attacks and other high-profile breaches, there seemed to be a lot more urgency around the conversation this year. We participated in an excellent panel entitled “Enabling IoT Security”, hosted by Stuart Carlaw of ABI Research, which focused on helping the audience understand the complete IoT security landscape and what needs to be done to ensure security in their IoT services.

We were honored to be joined by Rami Avidan of Tele2 (one of our service provider partners) and Shawn Welsh of Telular (one of our customers), and we had a great discussion about the roles of different parties in the IoT security ecosystem and what we all need to do to keep each other accountable. Take a look at our recent post – “IoT Security: It Takes a Village” – for more information.

Connected Car

We’ve previously discussed how CES has become dominated by Connected Car vendors, and MWC seems to be moving in that direction as well. While MWC is not nearly as concentrated with Connected Car booths as CES is (yet), many auto manufacturers – including Daimler, BMW, Ford and Peugeot (all of which utilize the Cisco Jasper IoT platform for their Connected Car initiatives) – were present and made announcements at this year’s MWC. Meanwhile, AT&T – which already has more than 11 million cars connected to its network – announced a global Connected Car push with a global alliance. And together with our partner Bright Box, we announced that Cisco Jasper is supporting Honda’s new MyHonda Connected Car platform.


I know, I know – the industry has been talking about 5G for years already. And it was among the main topics at last year’s event as well. But things really heated up this year as service providers focused on announcing meaningful advancements towards 5G. And by advancements, I mean the fact that many service providers are finally coming together to work on standardization of 5G, rather than issuing their own announcements about planned pilots and features. Don’t get me wrong – we’re still years away from commercial availability of 5G (interestingly, KT – who we just launched IoT services with in Korea – announced that they intend to be the first commercially available 5G network in 2019). But the fact that this year’s announcements were focused on standardization and cooperation is a step in the right direction.

BONUS: Greater commitment to reality, not hype

While this wasn’t a topic per se, we were very encouraged to see that more vendors and service providers made the move to talking about the realities of IoT, not just the “future” or “potential” of IoT. Here at Cisco Jasper, we’ve been committed to discussing only Real IoT – real-life examples of IoT in action today, not just hypothetical deployments – for years. This is why our entire booth in the GSMA Innovation City only featured real, live deployments with actual customers – actual IoT services that are delivering real business benefits and transforming the way these companies work.

The only way to combat the excessive hype in the IoT industry is to prove that IoT is already having real impact today. So we’re encouraged to see more of the industry joining in that endeavor. Why waste time talking about “potential” and “possibilities” when the reality of what businesses are accomplishing with IoT today is so exciting!

And speaking of real growth and excitement, take a look at the infographic we created illustrating the growth we’ve seen since we were acquired by Cisco at this time last year.


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