Hashtag time for Barcelona watchers – what will be news at #MWC14

 Last year, we didn’t do too badly with our hashtags for MWC 2013. We wanted to watch billing and pricing obviously, but we also wanted to watch NFC and the OTT players. Both turned out to be issues debated throughout the year.

This year, we will be watching some similar ones, some different.

#Wearable_tech – The only reason for this is that it makes us feel old. Will Dick Tracy type technology take off, who knows. It will depend on very clever designers designing very clever, functional kit. Will it, as some say, boost e-commerce and begin to replace smartphones? As mentioned, we are old, but the image of people waving their arms around by point of sale machines while blinking frantically as emails whizz across their Google Glass vision is too funny not to contemplate.

#Google_Glass – see above and also read background material such as The End of Reason and The Most Annoying People to Talk to in the World.

#NFC – and #ISIS particularly, which is still our favourite example of how big companies cannot innovate through collaboration/committee. What will be interesting is whether there will be any focus on NFC, or if NFC is now consigned to the ‘…..which will enabled/delivered by NFC,’ type conversations. Which is as it should be – see #IMS, which used to be beloved of conference organisers in search of the latest buzzword. Both should melt into the fabric of service delivery.

#OTT – On a more serious note, we will definitely be watching this area. We all agree that partnerships between OTT players and telecoms companies are the way forward. That said, taking it to the extent of creating sponsored data offerings may well be a step too far. So what models will emerge that make sense to everyone in the value chain? Not forgetting customers.

#M2M – or #IoT – with additional tags of #healthcare and #automotive. This year we will see some serious developments in connecting everything, not just everyone. Some offerings will be ‘Aha’ moments, some will be positively funny and/or dangerous and others will make our world a little bit better. Some of the potential for connectedness to be part of the weave and weft of life – particularly in medicine – is enormous.

#payments – One of the three big opportunities for telecoms operators. Customers no longer trust banks. Banks have the same system and network problems that telecoms companies did several years ago. Can telecoms companies somehow knit together the potential of a plethora of new payments solutions, many of which will be at the show.

#Direct-Operator-Billing – Although the ‘news’ around Direct Operator Billing (DOB) has tailed off in recent months, the news from Telefonica Digital last year proved what almost everyone says – that DOB is the intuitive answer to in-app purchases. Conversion rates are better, the customer experience is better. A great opportunity.

#trust – In the wake of PRISM and the realization that we are being watched all the time, comes a huge opportunity for telecoms companies. By positioning themselves as customers’ trusted partners in the digital world, they can – bit by bit – demonstrate how much better, faster, cleverer digital life can be if – bit by bit – we as customers trust them with our data.

#billing – because whatever you call the process, it covers everything.

And it all comes back to billing.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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