With Mobile World Congress behind us another year, I’m reflecting on my time at the show. If you’re not familiar with MWC, it’s the flagship wireless industry event. Drawing a record 100,000 attendees this year and often compared to CES for it’s buzz-worthy news, the show focuses on everything mobility.

I was at the show with the LISNR team, where for the first time at a trade show we showcased SmartTones and our platform in the Intel booth.

Here are my main takeaways from the conference for those of us who work in connected devices.

Better Speeds and Feeds with 5G

Intel announced its new products and partnerships to lay the groundwork for 5G.

What is 5G? It’s the next generation of faster wireless technology, which has the potential to be 10 to 100 times faster than today’s networks.

Why is this such big news? 5G brings the promise of fast connectivity and less than a millisecond latency between devices. Smarter, faster and more efficient wireless networks mean the way we communicate and interact with the world around us will be transformed.

Enabling 360 Connectivity

Cisco predicts that 50 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Beyond the estimated 10 billion connected devices in use today, there will be millions more new connected devices – autonomous vehicles, wearable fitness devices, drones and more – needing to connect wirelessly to the internet.

To support the growing demand in Internet of Things (IoT), this means 5G is critical. As everything in our lives becomes more connected, we’ll expect communications all around us, no matter where we go, to be interactive and responsive – total 360 connectivity. But without faster, stronger wireless networks, the full promise of 360 connectivity won’t come to fruition.

To better understand, let’s look at the example of a road trip in a connected car. The car needs to access real-time traffic and weather information from the cloud to provide the driver with a complete picture of road conditions. The car also needs to beam location data back to the cloud to determine arrival time. Keeping real-time information flowing to the driver means data transmission needs to be fast. The time it takes for the car and the cloud to “talk” to each other also has to be quick.

While 5G will provide the backbone for this and other kinds of connected experiences, there are still data drop issues in concrete-dense areas or enclosed venues that won’t be remedied.

Using Sound to Send and Receive Data

To realize the full potential of 360 connectivity that 5G and IoT will foster, data needs to be transmitted even where WiFi or Bluetooth can’t go – inside buildings, stadiums, stores and other notoriously low connectivity venues. That’s where inaudible sound waves step in. They can go where WiFi and Bluetooth can’t, completing the connectivity circle.

In the Intel booth, LISNR met with hundreds of companies and developers to showcase our technology. Each attendee had a chance to create, upload and play SmartTones on the fly. Even with all the Internet traffic congestion at the show, guests were able to see their just-created content played on various mobile devices upon “hearing” the tones. People were blown away by the connected experiences and applications that our technology could enable within 5G and the IoT.

The show’s theme was “Mobile is Everything.” I’m so stoked about my time in Barcelona because I saw the tiniest glimpse of just what that mobile connected future might look like — and it’s going to be amazing.

Stay in touch with the LISNR team by following us @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

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