I’ve been attending MWC for many years and it’s exciting to see how the mobile industry still keeps evolving. At Mobile World Congress 2017, we saw a real shift to a much wider audience outside just the usual set of operators, vendors, solution providers, analysts and media. There was more involvement from global brands such as L’Oréal, Olay, Desigual, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard and VISA and tech leaders such as Google, Facebook, Adobe, IBM and Twitter. This demonstrates the diversity and the interdependence, as well as the growth potential and importance, that mobile plays on the world stage and in powering global organizations.

There was also an extension of topics beyond IoT, smart cities, digital transformation, 5G, virtual networks, etc. with sessions on the agenda focused on marketing, advertising, design and customer experience. And of course, some cool new technology was demonstrated for virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connected cars and connected everything like smart running shoes. A broader range of sectors was represented such as finance, healthcare and retail. We see these new areas as the use-cases for the evolution of technology in our connected world; and they go beyond the technology and hardware being offered to include discussions about services, business models and experiences. And they illustrate the why behind the innovations — to improve the way we do business and live our daily lives.

A few emerging themes we noted about the connected world, were the increase in fraud and cybercrimes and thus the urgent need for better data protection and privacy regulations to protect consumers, business and enable future growth.

As part of the MWC program, Neustar hosted OneID for Trusted Brand Connections on March 1, where we highlighted the importance of authenticated and authoritative identity in connecting people, places and things. We discussed the vital function that trust plays in our world and the role it has in driving engagement between partners and with customers as they connect. This trust hinges on first being sure that who or what you are connecting with is who they say they are, and second, to get to know as much as possible about them. This applies to both sides of the connection. We were fortunate to pull together a highly engaging set of speakers from across global brands, leading CSPs, top industry consultants and our own experts in communications. 

We started the morning by going back to a basic mobile connection, by sharing a case study on caller fraud and robocalling. Even with the digital revolution, phone calls are prevalent and continue to be an important connection in our personal and business lives. The GSMA Mobile Engagement Index released just before MWC revealed that 47% of global mobile users ONLY use their mobiles for talking and texting.

That’s why it’s important to enable a personalized, consistent, and secure connected customer experience across all channels, including the phone. But this is a challenge since the phone is also the #1 contact method used by fraudsters. This results in consumers no longer trusting the calls they receive, so they don’t answer unless they can be sure who is calling. We shared advances in caller ID, where the identity of the caller is verified and authenticated so consumers feel trust when answering and gain context about the call, meaning they’re more likely to engage in a valuable conversation.

Our CSP panel, moderated by Chris Rogers from Lumia Capital, with participants Scott Lane from Pinsight Media/Mobile Advertising; Dan Rosen from Telefonica and Tugrul Tasgetiren from Turkish Telecom, shared the ins and outs of balancing their customers’ privacy with the benefits of monetizing the data for personalization and a better user experience.

Our CMO panel moderated by our own Steven Wolfe Pereira, included Kirk McDonald from PubMatic, Katie Kulik from CBS Interactive, Lisa Donohue from Starcom and Lou Paskalis from Bank of America. The informative discussion focused on using trusted ID to drive customer engagement. ROR (Return on Relationships) is the new ROI says @LouPas @BankofAmerica!

Top industry consultants Chetan Sharma, leading wireless analyst, and Robert Strickland, founder of Strickland Consulting, shared their insights on the need for trusted identity and the role it plays in areas such as the IoT.

Jon Peterson, Neustar’s resident expert in communication standards, shared how to implement standards such as IETF STIR to combat robocalling and call spoofing. He showed how the end goal with certified communications and identity standards is a common identity platform across personal communications, IoT and the web.

Also highlighted at MWC17, was Neustar’s role in balancing privacy and security with convenience by powering the GSMA Pathfinder number translation service that enables global SMS, fraud detection and identity assurance. Mobile numbers have the greatest global reach as the identifier to authenticate users. And GSMA PathFinder is the trusted source used to power GSMA Mobile Connect global digital identity service by providing the authoritative operator identification for a mobile phone number.

We look forward to the next evolution later this year at MWC Americas, Sept. 12-14 in San Francisco. See you there!