MWC is an event to launch new products and solutions. At the same time, it is not really a place for disruptive innovation. It is more a place for the industry players to update their evolution. There are also startups, but not the kind that aim to truly disrupt anything. So, what is the innovation update for MWC 2019? And how will the good old digitization provide for something new?
5G, IoT, AI, and Edge are probably the most used abbreviations in this year. All those areas are making clear technological progress and there are new products available. But it is hard to see anything that would really be innovative and a game changer. Maybe foldable phones are something new, but actually rumors and pictures about a foldable iPhone looked more innovative (at least cooler) than anything at MWC.
4YFN is again dedicated for startups and future solutions. There are probably some companies that can make something significant in the future. But most startups are in those booths that are subsidized by different governments and they don’t really represent new innovation. There are companies that offer some data analytics for marketing, some technology components for networks and healthtech and all kinds of business application platforms. They might have nice technology and grow their business, but most of them don’t disrupt anything.
With innovation we have also a question, if it is new technology or is it a truly new and valuable offering to customers. MWC has many things that can represent new technology but much less fundamental innovations that are already smooth consumer services. But on the other hand, there are things that are not very innovative technically anymore, but are now mature enough to offer value to users.
Digitization is a strange topic. Some people seem to think it is something corporates must finally start with. Some other people say that it is the transition that is now on-going in most of companies. And then there are people who say we should not talk about digitization anymore, when it has been reality everywhere for years.
What is even stranger is that all those people might be right. We have a lot of information in digital formats and data processing is a core of many activities nowadays. But it doesn’t mean that all activities are already digital and there are still many surprisingly old fashioned activities in most industries, including banking, telcos, logistics and retail. In some cases processes might be already digital, but they are not really designed for digital business. They are the old processes that just utilize computers and data. The difference between real digital companies and companies utilizing digital is huge. This might sound like a cliché, but just think about Amazon versus a smaller local retailer and their processes and use of digital technology.
Industry 4.0 (including all other name variations in different countries) is one of those things that is very much linked to digitalization and also getting different industries to work together. The classical example, how production, logistics, retail and finance transactions must work smoothly together is still a good example, how cross-industry digitization and processes should work.
Citi’s Global Head of Treasure and Trade Naveed Sultal emphasized at MWC especially the customer experience, and how it must be the starting point of digital services, including industry 4.0 solutions. He pinpoints the problem of many digitization projects. When traditional companies try to change the old processes to use computers and data, new challengers can build the whole company and customer experience based on the latest technology.
Mr. Sultan also highlighted that “digital disruption poses an existential threat to some companies.” I would say it is like that for many companies. This can sound strange, when some people think digitization has been reality for years. But you can just look at how many retailers in the last and this year have been in trouble and even in bankruptcy in the US and UK, and many of them blame Amazon and online shopping. Things often take longer than we think and the big impact on industries comes with a delay. Retail and publishing businesses are seeing it now, but e.g. for finance it is still in a very early phase.
MWC doesn’t typically have things that are game changers. But it is a place where many parties introduce and agree on small steps that are changing industries. It is an industry event, but one area many companies there should study more is how to become really customer oriented. Technology is an important enabler, but companies must really design their digital future based on the customer offering and experience. It is the real intelligent connectivity as this year slogan states.
The article was first published on Telecom Asia.
San Francisco, March 11, 2019 – Difitek is pleased to announce the appointment of Armodio Corrado to the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, effective immediately. Former CEO Markus Lampinen who will continue to serve in his role as Board Director and Senior Advisor, will be taking on a new operating role within the Grow VC Group. Mr. Corrado has worked at Difitek since 2014 and previously served in the capacity of Chief Operating Officer (COO), before which he has worked with international finance and private equity.
Mr. Corrado commented “I’m very committed about being in a position to steer the company to its next phase, where we are strongly positioned with our finance engine platform, and can support a wide range of clients and their success as digital finance gains maturity and wider adoption worldwide.”
Markus Lampinen, Director and Senior Advisor commented: “Armodio has been a key pillar in the company for years and he is the right person to lead the company forward, empowering more clients with their digital products and focusing on delivering more customer oriented finance solutions around the world.”
Jouko Ahvenainen, Chairman of Difitek Board comments the changes: " Markus has done amazing work to build Difitek from scratch to a significant company in the global fintech business. The company is now moving to a new era where it focuses on offering established technology solutions for all kinds of finance institutions and disrupting the whole finance IT market. Armodio has an excellent track record and foundation to continue this work to build the global operations and processes to serve customers. At the same time, I'm very pleased, Markus is moving to build a new significant business inside the same group to fundamentally disrupt the data business."
Difitek provides the leading finance engine for digital finance services. It has powered many financial marketplaces in real estate in the US and Europe, in access to capital for individuals and small businesses in South East Asia and new forms of financing in South America.
More information is available at the company website:
For further information, please contact:
Armodio Corrado, CEO
+1 415 580 0087
Photo: Difitek CEO Armodio Corrado.
Simplicity was one important theme at MWC 2019. It is, of course, not a solution as such, but it a success factor for all solutions. This is nothing new, but it is becoming very relevant with 5G, IoT, data and security. Many parties can build technology, but who can offer simplicity to users will win.
IoT enables the collection of data everywhere and control of devices everywhere. It will create billions or trillions of data and control points. But it is a very long way from all these sensors and devices to smart homes, smart cities and applications to help peoples every day life.
5G enables fast data connections to all those devices, creates local networks and communications everywhere and get many solutions to talk to one other. How users can really use them in an optimal way, use networks whenever wherever needed, but also manage privacy, use one way at home, another way when traveling or in the office. New opportunities will come from more versatile ways to manage the use of networks.
Data and privacy have become real issues and discussion topics. Still many experts say people don’t care too much, they are ready to share data on Facebook, loyalty programs and online shops, and they are too lazy to be active to protect their data and take control of it. But the question really becomes what is the simplest solution. If data control and better security becomes as easy as buying from Amazon, posting on Facebook or showing your loyalty card, then we can expect people to take data control back.
Technology companies haven’t always been good at thinking about simplicity. Of course, Apple is the famous example in terms of how they were able to bring simplicity to devices. Simplicity really doesn’t mean simple technology, almost the opposite. How to make really advanced technology that makes it easy to use services. It is especially about the user experience.
Telcos are rarely leaders in simplicity. I still feel my mobile carrier’s app is one of the most complex apps I have, and hard even to check my monthly bill. Internet companies have been able to become successful in mobile too by offering simplicity and great user experiences.
When mobile internet really started to arrive with 3G, then carriers talked a lot about walled garden models with their mobile portals. It was a kind of simplicity model. It was a nice model for carriers, but it was not really conceived from the user’s point of view. Now we hear comments about how 5G, IoT and Edge can give control for carriers in services. Yes, they can, but most probably they won’t give control until carriers are able and willing to give control to users and design services so that they are easy to use and simple for normal users.
Commercial product management and UX are areas that would need much more focus, when we think the future of mobile and digital services. Now 5G and IoT presentations are often full of boxes representing tech nodes and lines between them. This technology view is needed, but it is not alone the solution, not even the starting point to design new services.
A growing business area that offers a lot of opportunities is to offer solutions and platforms that make it easy for other companies to build new services and put less effort on building the technology from scratch. Vimeo is an example of this, their CEO spoke at MWC, and told how their goal is to make it easy for any company to make video communications and marketing. She summarized it as “any company can be like Netflix,” having no need to build its own technology, but focusing instead on their actual business.
Similar solutions are emerging to develop, for example, digital finance and gaming services; finance and gaming engines and back offices. We will most probably see more solutions and platforms to build actual services and applications utilizing IoT, 5G and personal data too. Those services must also focus on how to simplify the actual services.
It is positive to see simplicity is now an important theme at the event, but it is not yet the main theme. Most probably we still have a long way to go to see it in practice in all services. It is, anyway, quite sure, the winners of future 5G, IoT, data and security services are those who offer simplicity, not those who offer the most complex and messy diagrams.
The article first appeared on Telecom Asia.
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