Following my recent visit to this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona I wanted to update you with my thoughts post-attendance. It was a truly enjoyable and interesting event made even more so because it went beyond innovations in mobile, withthe emphasis shifting more and more towards customer experience.
The big announcement at this year's convention was made by Samsung, with it unveiling its latest flagship smartphones – the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
The Korean company knew just how important it was to appear innovative with the Galaxy S7 – with Chinese players Xiaomi and Huawei closing in – acknowledging that "we have to redefine what a phone can do".
To onlookers, though, the Galaxy S7 appeared to resemble little more than a "greatest hits album", with very few new features to get truly excited about.
Perhaps innovation in the smartphone category will come instead in the form of Virtual Reality (VR) – a recurring theme at MWC. In fact, if MWC is anything to go by, VR will be taking the technology world by storm.
Attendees couldn't pull a VR headset on quick enough – especially after reading Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg declaration that "VR is going to be the most social platform". There's a reason why Facebook is promoting VR, of course – it acquired Oculus, the company that joint-manufactures the Samsung Gear VR, back in 2014.
Another development that was fleshed out at MWC was 5G. Although it is not expected as a fully functioning reality until 2020, that didn't stop Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia taking the stage to talk about the impact 5G would have on business. South Korea's SK Telecom, meanwhile, demonstrated an actual functioning 5G network at the show, suggesting that maybe the 2020 date is a touch under-ambitious.
Other trends that kept coming up over the course of the four days were connected cars, robotics, mobile payments and, of course, the Internet of Things. Roll on MWC 2017.