Our MWC18 highlights

Our MWC18 highlights



Mobile World Congress – the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry in Barcelona – has just closed it doors. And what an event it was! Attended by more than 100,000 people with Rakuten Aquafadas team also present there showcasing our innovative mobile and content solutions.

During four intense days we spent hours discussing ideas and challenges with businesses who stopped by to talk to us. We also walked a lot along endless corridors filled with all hot and new tech gadgets. And we also attended the keynote from our group founder Hiroshi Mikitani.

Here we’re discussing views and opinions with our team freshly back from Barcelona.


What were your key highlights of MWC18?

Olivier Alluis, Rakuten Aquafadas, CEO

For me the key highlight of this year’s MWC is the keynote of the Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani’s. Rakuten no doubt grabbed attention of all gathered in Barcelona with their innovative vision including:

  • significant shift towards mobile-based transactions with 76% of Ichiba users in Japan already
  • Rakuten ambition to become the fourth mobile network operator in Japan
  • Rakuten COIN, a cryptocurrency based on Rakuten’s existing loyalty program, Rakuten Super Points
  • Viber communities – a new open chat designed for up to a billion of members

Regarding other key presentations I could attend, there were two main constant themes: 5G and Artificial Intelligence. It’s clear that all operators and providers have been accelerating developments and tests on 5G. It’s already been implemented in Milan and tested during the Winter Olympic Games. The promise of 5G is to offer new highly personalised and immediately available content through the high bandwidth and class of service.

In terms of IOT and Big Data both are already a part of our day-to-day lives. But who will win the AI monetisation race?

What were the main trends and technical innovations this year?

Florian Lemoine, Rakuten Aquafadas,  CTO

For me MWC18 was all about IOT. And what’s interesting was the focus of how internet of things could impact enterprises.

Ken Okamoto, Rakuten, General Manager

I share Olivier’s view. For me it was all about opportunities generated thanks IoT devices and Big Data. It is not just about how to make homes, offices or cities smart. But it’s about how companies can add value by visualizing and/or utilizing data. And how to do it smarter than for example Google. At Rakuten we’re focusing on the API marketplace. I think this could be a home run for Rakuten – on top of the Rakuten Coin of course.

I also admired hard work of the Rakuten Aquafadas team very clearly visible at MWC18!

What about questions and challenges raised by the MWC attendees? Have you spotted any commonalities?

Achille Coenegracht, Rakuten Aquafadas, Business Development Director

People are looking for clear and immediate ROI, privileging opportunities that bring quick gains combined with top-class user experience and dito value perception.

Most heard magical keywords and subsequent inquiries during this show were all about the ability to combine mobile apps with blockchain, artificial intelligence and IOT. This mirrors our discussions with other clients.

Manuel Ranchin, Rakuten Aquafadas, Sales Director France

Automation is key. We met so many corporates trying to push the right content to the right person at the right time. They need to be able to create entertaining content for their customers and efficient marketing materials for their employees. Therefore they are all looking for solutions to do all of that in bulk and fast.

As a part of the French Tech pavilion, what were the key themes and solutions presented by the French brands?

Stephane Dayras, Rakuten Aquafadas, Pre sales Director

I noticed similar themes and solutions as during this year’s CES. They included: 5G, VR, AR and AI.

And what about latest news from mobile operators? MWC is the largest mobile industry event and an indicator of what’s to come.

Florian Lemoine, Rakuten Aquafadas,  CTO

For me the key news is expansion of Google Assistant on Android devices. Even if there seems to be plenty of similarities this will remain a new way to communicate with your phone and beyond of it your environment.