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Is it Too Early to Be Talking About Mobile World Congress?

Last month, a colleague stopped me and said, “Kit, it’s only November. Isn’t it too early to be discussing Mobile World Congress?” My answer, as you might have guessed, was an emphatic “no!”

This will be my 11th Mobile World Congress (MWC) and, for those of us actively engaged in the mobile space, it is the event of the year. It brings over 60,000 members of the mobility community—vendors, service providers, analysts and the media—all under the same roof for four full days to innovate, collaborate and shape the future of the industry.

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Wrap Up From Mobile World Congress In Barcelona

The energy last week in Barcelona was electric. 61,000 people entered the halls of the Fira for Mobile World Congress 2011, and it was perfect timing for Cisco to unveil its Service Provider Wi-Fi solution. The critical need for offloading cellular data traffic to Wi-Fi is only growing, with Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index predicting global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015. In fact, Cisco provided free Wi-Fi coverage for approximately 10% of the Fira center, offloading over 1 TB of data to Wi-Fi in four days—and that was only 10% of the venue.

Convergence is everything. There were crowds of people using their smart devices – emailing, blogging, tweeting and texting between meetings. To provide seamless, everywhere connectivity Cisco announced the new Aironet 1550 Series Outdoor Access Point both with 802.11n and CleanAir technology. Interest at the show for this new product was strong. Mobile operators from around the globe stopped by the show floor to understand the solution offerings from Cisco.

Cisco CleanAir technology showcased how service providers could gain visibility into the RF spectrum to manage interference and prevent unexpected downtime. And most importantly, offers new levels of security, performance protection and policy enforcement.

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Another Great Mobile World Congress Ends

Musings, factoids and random thoughts from the just-completed Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona:

  • This may be the only place on the planet in which there are lines outside the men’s rooms, but not at the ladies’ rooms.

But even more seriously, folks . . .

  • MWC continues to enhance its position as a major worldwide technology show and the most important event focusing on the service provider segment
  • The initial tally revealed that >60,000 – a record – attended
  • Verizon, AT&T and Google exhibited for the first time
  • Major topics of interest were monetization and video . . . conveniently, also major topics for Cisco. 
  • IP has never been more relevant at MWC than it was this year
  • Policy was another major subject – also fitting nicely into the Cisco story of intelligence in the network.  Quality of experience got a lot of attention, too
  • And applications enablement – “It’s not just the network that matters,” one analyst said.  “It’s the network PLUS the apps that run on top of it.  At the end of the day, it’s apps that make the real difference.”
  • Cisco enjoyed record interest, holding more than 600 meetings with customers, prospects, partners, analysts and media
  • Cisco’s MOVE (monetization, optimization, Videoscape experience) was well received by analysts
  • One operator told Cisco that voice is now comprises only 1% of its total traffic

Analyst Observations:

  • “The definition of the ‘busy hour’ for the network has expanded to 19 hours, thanks to video.”
  • “There is a lot more positive feeling this year . . . maybe that means the world economy is on the mend.”
  • Several analysts – unsolicited – remarked on Cisco’s ability to define a vision and drive conversations.  “You’ve done a great job of launching visions and architectural plays,”
  • Regarding Cisco’s MOVE announcement, one analyst remarked, “A lot of smaller optimization guys are losing sleep because you’re moving into this space.”
  • “The big factor [to operators] is not necessarily [a vendor’s] technology portfolio.  It’s about services and flexible business relationships.  Especially in emerging markets.”
  • “Monetization is what is keeping operators awake at night.”
  • Regarding the continuing decline of the fixed lines: “At a lot of the operators, the mobile guys are in charge now, not the fixed-line guys.”

In closing . . .

  • MWC will start two weeks later in 2012 – even closer to the CTIA Wireless event than before . . . a coincidence??
  • Next year is the last of MWC‘s current pact with Barcelona.  Munich, Paris and Milan are trying to lure the show from Barcelona, and some people were hearing that Munich had the inside track.  We’ll see.

Wherever the event ends up, let’s do something about those lines at the men’s rooms.  OK?

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Cisco at Mobile World Congress 2011 – Bigger and Better

Cisco at Mobile World Congress 2011

It’s that time of year again, and though this will be my 5th Mobile World Congress, I’m very excited to be returning to Barcelona.  I think this show will be the biggest in the GSMA’s history, and I know, from Cisco’s perspective, this will not only be our biggest, but also our best MWC.

For those of you who will also be attending MWC, I want to take a few moments to let you know what you’ll find at the Cisco booth.  And for those of you not attending, I want to give you some information and links to help you feel like you’re right there with us.

First, we have a full line-up of impressive speakers, including our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers.

And in the booth, we’ll showcase our comprehensive next-generation mobile network and demonstrate how our solutions can help operators capitalize on today’s opportunities while more effectively addressing network challenges.

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