Mobile World Congress 2016 has been bigger and better than any of the past years I have attended, living up to its reputation as Europe’s biggest mobile show. Over four days more than 100,000 people turned out to see the latest and greatest gadgets and announcements making their way into the market.

While there was so much to take in and see, here are the top five trends I saw at MWC this year:

Mobile is everything

The biggest theme from MWC was that mobile technology has the power to drive the world forward and connect everyone and everything. In a keynote speech delivered during the Congress, it was revealed that mobility has already:

  • Contributed $3.1 trillion to the world’s economy
  • Equated to 4.2 percent of the world’s GDP
  • Employed 32 million people globally
  • Enabled 7.6 billion connections on the planet

Mobiles are seen to bridge the gap between information and life. In the words of Deutsche Telecom’s CTO, “In today’s world, people are either connected or asleep!” Although given the number of sleep apps and wearables people use in bed, some people never really disconnect at all.

The next generation of mobile technology – 5G – is on everyone’s agendas

Mobile operators across Asia Pacific and Europe, handset manufacturers, and over the top players alike are all racing to demonstrate early versions of 5G standards by 2018. The move to 5G will transform our networks and the way they are configured to support many different uses and applications. Currently 99 per cent of ‘things’ are unconnected, so it’s a big job for our network and a big opportunity for our customers.

Gadgets, gadgets, and more gadgets!

There was a lot of excitement around virtual reality headsets, drones and wearables. Home automation was another big one. These technologies are only just emerging and there was a real buzz around how these could transform the way we live and work to maximise productivity and of course, gaming.

Masses of smartphone announcements

These included the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the Sony Xperia X, LG’s G5 smartphone, and HTC. There were no ‘revolutionary’ breakthroughs in the design of mobile devices this year, but the processors, cameras, and durability have all improved from their predecessors, particularly the Samsung Galaxy S7 which can be dropped and submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without being damaged.

Mobiles aren’t just for humans

The new standards for long battery life and deep coverage at a low cost were well on show. These standards will allow a massive number of ‘things’ to become connected in the coming years. Some of the quirkier things on show at MWC included connected bikes, water meters, environmental sensors, sensors on vineyards and even gadgets for dogs.

I think I got most of my predictions  right, but I wouldn’t have guessed there’d be so many gadgets for pets!