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7-Mar

5 things from the Mobile World Congress that could change your workplace

The annual tech event has a number of new innovations and updates of current technology that could impact your business in the future…

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the biggest gathering and showcase for technology companies. And while many of the new gadgets showcased might not be hitting the high street any time soon, it’s a good indicator of the type of technology that will be entering the work place in the coming years.

Here are 5 to look out for…

1. Back in BlackBerry
Yes, the long forgotten business phone is back. The BlackBerry KeyOne aims to not only resurrect the brand name but also the physical keyboard.

Once a favourite of the business community, BlackBerrys disappeared with the rise of touchscreen smart phones. But the new phone combines both touchscreen tech with traditional keyboards. And it looks like it might actually be quite good. Plus it comes with BlackBerry Messenger.

It’s not the only phone brand looking to make a comeback this year – for those who like their mobiles with a retro feel and long battery life, the Nokia 3310 has returned. Though whether it’ll have any practical use other than playing Snake, we’ll have to wait and find out.

2. Robots are here to take your jobs
Artificial intelligence has been making leaps and bounds in recent years. And in the MWC this year, there were plenty of practical applications for this technology on display, especially in the AI Zone of the event.

Verizon used AI in virtual car racing to predict accidents while Wi-5 – an end-to-end mobile engagement software solution – used it to capture and analyse real-time data about visitor behaviour.

AI does feature in our day-to-day work today, even if we don’t know it, but in the coming years expect it to be a more obvious presence as the likes of Siri and Alexa start making their way into offices.

3. Virtual Reality as a service
Virtual Reality (VR) might seem a bit like 3D cinema – a great idea that’s never taken off and has become a bit of a niche product. But this year, there were moves to transform VR from a gaming experience to something that could be used in workplaces.

Samsung was at the forefront with Monitorless, which strips the VR headset down to the size of a pair of sunglasses and acts as a remote-control VR set to let people use smartphones and PCs without a monitor.

It also showcased VuildUs, which lets people visualise new furniture in a room, and traVRer, a 360-degree video that gives virtual travel experiences before and after real-life journeys.

4. 5G will, eventually, arrive
While 4G might not have lived up to the hype of super-fast broadband speeds on the go, the delayed arrival of 5G promises great things.

A number of mobile service providers were promoting their 5G capabilities, and if they come to fruition would seriously transform mobile business.

Not only would it mean you could realistically consider using mobiles for business thanks to the fibre broadband equalling speeds, but 5G is also said to be more secure and less draining on batteries – a triple bonus for business users on the go.

One area it was being pushed in, fittingly, was event spaces, with some venues hoping to use it to replace unreliable WiFi at major conferences.

5. Industrial drones
By now, we’ve all probably played with a drone in our back garden and seriously wondered if these hard-to-control devices could be used in the business world. But with Amazon trialling delivery drones, it looks like it will become a reality.

At the show, Chinese firm DJI revealed a line of drones designed for commercial use. They can operate over a 7km range, fly for more than half an hour and resist strong winds.

These were aimed at the industrial sector and jobs they could perform included inspections of power lines, wind turbines, solar panels, telecoms, offshore rigs and bridges, as well as firefighting, search-and-rescue missions, precision agriculture and construction site mapping.