Like every year, telco players met at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona to discuss the latest innovation in smartphones, mobile networks, “Internet of Things” and of course mobile marketing.

Connected devices, more specifically smartwatches, were the stars of the 2015 edition and virtual reality was in the spotlight in 2016. This year many participants wondered about the meaning of the “Next element”, the theme of the 2017 edition.

Innovations in telecom

Regarding devices, MWC visitors had the chance to discover smartphones with bigger screens, more precise camera, and longer battery life. They witnessed the revival of emblematic brands such as Blackberry and, most notably, Nokia. Providers focused on fifth generation mobile networks, a technology managing narrowband connection (5G NB-IoT) and mobile broadband. This should should pave the way for the democratization of video and virtual reality.

Innovations in marketing

In Hall 8.1, which gathers mobile marketing stakeholders, numerous innovations were on display, such as the RCS (Rich Communications Services), introduced by Google as the successor of the SMS. The overall trend was the creation of smarter interactions with the user through A.I.

“In the last few years, we have evolved from one-to-one transactions, managed by humans, to programmatic platforms that automatize the buying and selling of advertising spaces. For us, the Next Element is definitively algorithms and artificial intelligence that operate like mathematicians and statisticians at a more analytic level,” explains Cyrille Geffray, CEO of Smart AdServer.

The need for independent stakeholders

The other trend of this edition was the growing awareness about the quasi US duopoly in mobile advertising and the opacity regarding the distribution of the added value with their partners.

“Regarding the latest SRI study about the French market, US stakeholders in search and social networks are grabbing 92% of the mobile advertising revenue. The market clearly needs an independent stakeholder to counterbalance this trend and offer more transparency by committing to revenue sharing rates,” explains Cyrille Geffray.

A new element in mobile marketing

Intelligence, performance, independence, transparency are the new trends highlighted during MWC 2017 and they will allow publishers and advertisers to take back control.