MWC24 | Key Takeaways


Author: Patricia Vicente, Director

It was good to be back at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last week, which once again confirmed its place as the preeminent place for innovation, showcasing the latest developments in mobile technology. Beyond merely presenting cutting-edge innovations, the event highlighted how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming the core fabric of mobile engineering today. From devices demonstrating seamless human-machine interaction to products highlighting intelligent automation, the conference illuminated AI’s pivotal role and how this technology is poised to transform future businesses.

Spending much of my time in the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) area, there was a consensus with Nigel Toon, bestselling author of ‘How AI thinks’, that we are still at the “Pac-Man” phase of AI, with much speculation about what the future will look like, how its adoption will play out in certain sectors, and of course the challenges it raises around privacy and copyright.

I was particularly interested in Sir Martin Sorrell’s session ‘The Interplay of Political Instability, AI, Marketing and Advertising’. He revealed that out of last year’s US$950Bn advertising spend, US$650Bn was allocated to digital media platforms, including Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent and the TikTok parent company, ByteDance. The irony was not lost on me that while experiencing an average revenue growth of 10-12%, they had concurrently reduced their marketing budgets significantly. The role of the middleman in marketing services was also questioned when innovations like Sora, powered by OpenAI, had the capacity to translate text directly into images.

­­Sorrell gave examples of the impact AI will have on the future of advertising such as its ability to scale creative assets by three to fourfold, and how it will expand the media and planning network exponentially – both resulting in hyper-personalization.  However, he continued to emphasize how human invention and creativity remain indispensable.

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