In addition to the many new 4G devices that were released at the Mobile World Congress 2014, including the new Samsung Galaxy S5, the event showcased some clear trends in mobile technology and the most obvious was the ‘internet of things’. Experts have been predicting for some time that everyday objects and appliances will eventually be connected to the internet via mobile devices and it seems that the rollout of 4G, along with other developments in technology, is finally making this a reality.
Mobile World Congress 2014, which had a record 85,000 visitors over four days, saw many examples of objects and appliances connecting to the internet via inbuilt chips and mobile devices. Here are just a couple of the highlights:
- Oral B exhibited a toothbrush that connected to the user’s mobile phone. The user could see where they needed to brush and the pressure they needed to use, and the device could be adjusted for different types of users, for example children. A daily log of oral hygiene can be recorded.
- Nostum Empresa exhibited a vending machine that allowed shoppers to purchase goods using an app on their mobile devices, with no need to press any buttons on the machine or insert any money. The vending machine also worked with voice commands and Google Glass.
- Cityzen Sciences exhibited sports clothing that incorporated sensors to monitor heart rate and position. This would allow a team coach to monitor a whole sports team in real time from one mobile device.
- Huawei exhibited their TalkBand smartwatch which connected with the user’s mobile device and was able to track health and fitness data. The face of the watch was detachable and worked like a Bluetooth earpiece for voice calls.
- Vuforia exhibited an app which allowed customers to see how an object such as a piece of furniture would look in their homes simply by pointing their tablet at that location and clicking a button. The app generated a 360 degree view of the area with the proposed purchase.
- Telsa exhibited their Model 5 sedan car which featured a large TV screen allowing the driver and passengers to access information about the car’s performance as well as internet based entertainment such as Spotify.
While many of these might seem like novelty devices, they show a clear progression to a time when hundreds of everyday objects will be connected to the mobile internet. The rollout of 4G has provided the ability to transfer large amounts of data quickly and easily, which is vital for these types of technology to function.
Talking to the BBC, Vice President of Samsung Europe Stephen Taylor suggests that the advent of the ‘internet of things’ could dramatically change the way we use mobile technology. He believes that wearable devices such as smart watches may mean that mobile handsets as we know them could be obsolete within the next twenty years. Whatever the future holds for mobile technology, it is clear that 4G is one of the key drivers for the developments in connectivity that we saw at MWC 2014 last week.