Read our key thoughts and takeaways from MWC 2019 where the headlines were dominated by 5G and folding smartphones. The IoT is developing in targeted applications yet the standout theme was Urban Mobility. We had a series of meetings and discussions around eSIM, IoT Security, Digital Identity and Authentication. Read below for how these combine to enable and support these new digital businesses.  
Our Focus: eSIM, IoT Security, Digital Identity + Authentication 
Our major areas of focus this year were eSIM, IoT security and digital identity + authentication (crossing over with biometrics and payments). We already knew that these would be significant but some of the news we heard and the discussions we had confirmed that these are key pillars to ensure that many companies’ objectives are achievable. Without broader and more secure connectivity the IoT will be lacking, we will not have autonomous vehicles and many service providers will continue to offer analogue customer on-boarding and interactions in a digital world. 
 
Intelligent Connectivity is the New “Mobile” 
This year’s event, officially rebranded as MWC (no longer Mobile World Congress) was positioned as focusing on Intelligent Connectivity. Ironically, from our meetings, discussions and looking around the hall floors it felt as if there was a renewed focus on mobile from many players. Admittedly this encompassed a broader form of mobile and mobility (in terms of devices and applications) but my impression was that instead of looking for the next big thing (folding smartphones aside) that companies are looking to make the best of what they have got without necessarily trying to reinvent and rebrand the wheel. Possibly a result of the hype around the IoT dying down a little but it really is about “intelligent connectivity” regardless of what the connected device is. Nothing will match the annual volume and value of smartphones for some time yet but combined the 4-5 billion “other” connected devices that will be on cellular networks over the next five years do present a massive opportunity. This reached across all mobile devices and services. 
 
Folding Smartphones + 5G Took the Headlines Whilst the IoT is being Segmented 
Folding smartphones and 5G (not yet over the point of peak hype like the IoT) took the majority of the headlines although questions remain on both. Essentially they are viewed as the means to drive the next wave of growth in terms of hardware value and service revenues. IoT was a little quieter this year, which usually means things may be actually happening in the real world instead of just being promoted as a future growth opportunity. We believe too that companies are targeting specific applications and use cases within the IoT, and are talking about these rather than tapping into the IoT as a whole with their marketing and messaging. Robots had a larger presence as they do a great job of representing how a number of new technologies (e.g. sensors, edge computing, cloud, improved on-board processing capabilities, high-speed comms, 5G, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), voice assistants, data and analytics) can work together to affect a fundamental shift across industries and sectors. 
 
Urban Mobility Increasingly to the Fore 
The standout theme for me underlying much of the MWC was urban mobility. This encompassed automotive and connected cars but also demonstrated a variety of autonomous vehicles and transportation platforms. BMW, Continental, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Tesla and Volkswagen were all present to put forward their future concepts of cars and transportation platforms. Other companies also had cars on their booths, including Arm which had an Audi concept as its centrepiece. Most featured new voice interfaces, secure connectivity and personalisation features whilst Mercedes’ platform also included biometrics and the capture of health-related data. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A More Connected, Trusted + Secure Ecosystem 
Once you are able to remotely capture and authenticate a person’s or device’s identity remotely and in near real-time then you can offer a seamless on-boarding experience, recruiting and activating them without traditional barriers. Add in trusted communications and allow the user to manage and share their data securely to put them in control with the ability to manage the service remotely and another barrier is removed. Enable flexible business models that scale to users’ requirements and payment capabilities to enable ad-hoc usage, upgrades and add-ons and revenues will incrementally grow as usage is encouraged within a more customer-centric environment. From MWC 2019 it was apparent that we are not there yet but we are moving incrementally closer to a more connected, trusted and secure ecosystem. Companies are looking to build this future and P.A.ID Strategies will be working hard to help them have the best information to make the right decisions to aid their roadmaps and strategies. 
 
Note: 
P.A.ID Strategies provides and develops market intelligence and custom research for companies and organisations looking to better understand their environments and find a way to move forward in the face of disruptive technologies and competition. P.A.ID Strategies' primary focus is on Payments, Authentication, Identity (P.A.ID) and the Security and Connectivity of people, devices, objects and transactions in an increasingly digitised and connected world. It builds upon more than 15 years’ experience assessing companies, their products and strategies across commercial, enterprise, financial, government, industrial and retail sectors. 
Please contact info@paidstrategies.com if you have any questions or requirements around any of the topics above or have a project that you would like to discuss. 
 
Further Reading - Key Topics: 
 
 
Automotive Security, Digital Keys, Transportation Sharing, Device Management Platforms + Connectivity 
Along with the car OEMs, Continental had several interesting solutions on show, including its new CPU for in-vehicle server architecture that provide the primary communications interface and hosts third party applications and software. It worked with Argus as a partner on the cybersecurity side for this development as well as Elektrobit on this and its new OTA updates capability. We also noted Continental’s digital key platform (which was similar to G+D Mobile Security’s also demo’ing in a neighbouring hall) and its smart parking platform for smart cities, which included payment functionality. It also made announcements around fleet management and its cooperation with Vodafone for 5G and V2X following previous relating to autonomous shuttles and delivery robots. 
 
It was evident that many companies are looking beyond traditional car ownership and there were a number of new examples. Bolt in tandem with Taxify were showing escooters fitted with eSIMs and the launching its new platform to locate, manage, update and accept payments for commuters and leisure users (offering an alternative to the bike sharing schemes that have become so popular in many cities). Volkswagen WE is VW’s urban mobility brand encompassing many new solutions and services, including its “WE Connect”, “WE Park” and “WE Deliver” along with its own v-shaped City Skater escooter. 
 
Xiaomi highlighted its breadth of products, which in addition to smartphones and wearables included escooters and bikes along with its Ninebot mini-Segway product. Another interesting concept to catch our eye was from Rinspeed on the SAP stand. It differed from other concepts by providing taxi, fleet and office meeting and communication capabilities in a housing which could sit on an autonomous electric wheelbase. 
 
For those that find land-based transportation too mundane, drones or UAVs were favoured by some as a platform for their solutions. These varied from the relatively small that we see equipped with cameras and sensors for recording, monitoring and inspection to the much larger which are designed to carry people in the future. 
 
Cars and new personal transportation were taken to new heights (literally) by some. Drones have had an increasing presence and this year Ooredoo and STC had the standout UAVs with drones for personal transportation (think personal flying taxis). What these will all need will be secure connectivity and security to ensure they are identifiable and are not hacked. When thinking future taxis then user ID and payments are additional requirements as currently demonstrated by Uber and its competitors. 
 
 
eSIM (+ iSIM) for Secure Connectivity, Device Management + Service Platforms 
We had a number of meetings with companies, including Gemalto, G+D Mobile Security, VALID, Infineon and Samsung which included discussion around eSIM equipped devices and connectivity management platforms. It was an interesting change from a year ago that smartphone momentum has now overtaken M2M/IoT and that the eSIM roadmap seems much clearer in the consumer segment now. However, it is not a done deal yet and we continue to have questions around the suitability of some of the business models for both consumer and M2M applications. New thinking and flexible strategies will be required to aid wider take-up beyond flagship devices and address the pre-paid market. Additionally, the shape of the future ecosystem is not clear with an apparent overlap between semiconductor vendors, traditional SIM vendors and connectivity service providers. We explored the differences of opinion as to the role of each and how who the principal customer is (OEM or service provider) will affect the supply chain. 
 
P.A.ID Strategies has written and discussed eSIM a lot over the past four years and whilst some questions and concerns remain, they are being broken down and solutions put forward – although the rate of progress remains slower than many in the industry would like. G+D Mobile Security is a leader in this field with deals in place with several automotive OEMs – and it is this sector that has led the way in terms of eSIM deployments to date. However, we now believe that 2019 will see a shift with the Apple’s iPhone leading the way in terms of smartphone adoption and that the consumer segment with overtake automotive for eSIM with remote SIM provisioning (RSP) volumes to become the largest single segment this year. 
 
MVNOs and non-traditional service providers like GigSky and Truphone are utilising eSIM to broaden their portfolios. In addition to being built-in to all Apple devices, GigSky is targeting new use cases with connected tablets and separately a cloud-based device management platform for enterprises. Truphone disclosed during our discussion that it has signed up five MNOs for its new eSIM platform in the first 50 days since launch, where it is competing with traditional SIM and connectivity vendors. This demonstrates that there is an appetite for eSIM and with companies like STMicroelectronics demo’ing new development solutions such as its NB-IoT modem with eSIM integrated and bootstrap with connectivity service (and a removable SIM if that is preferred) then it is becoming easier (and less expensive) for companies to prove and launch eSIM concepts that scale from low to high volume. It is these developments that will start to build the long-tail of potential applications in both the consumer and the M2M worlds. 
 
 
IoT Security Strategies Vary: Arm’s Seems the Most Complete 
Our meetings with Arm differed because they were exclusively focussed on iSIM and IoT use cases. Whether it is iSIM or eSIM it is still about building in connectivity to devices so it is there as an option to open new use cases. iSIM takes this to the next stage and further reduces costs although it will not yet be suitable for all use cases. Not all the barriers have been removed and there are issues to be resolved but progress is being made. Although there were no fanfare announcements the technology is now being proven in commercial situations so I feel that whilst the market will not advance (or as far) as some would like it will become an everyday reality over the coming few years. With iSIM and eSIM Kigen OS and management platform, its MVNO capabilities, plus its Platform Security Architecture (PSA) and new certification program Arm has one of the most complete IoT strategies of any company in the value chain. You can tell that someone has sat down and clearly identified what components it should have in its portfolio and has developed and acquired these components. 
 
Gemalto is another company that has assessed what capabilities and technologies it has and has now used these to form the foundation of its IoT offering and strategy. In its case this consists of its Cinterion cellular and LPWA wireless modules business, HSMs and secure cloud connectivity, device management platforms and trusted key management. Rambus has its new secure RISC 5 core and IoT gateway solution and has recent deals expanding the licensing of its CryptoManager product. Infineon and STMicroelectronics are continuing to build their security coverage and the range of products and applications that they are addressing with their secure chips and they continue to add security functionality to new products and devices. Trustonic’s TEE is now available on a secure microprocessor which opens up a new low-cost market, e.g. sensors, that previously struggled to implement security for total chip costs of less than $1, with its digital hologram capability giving each sensor or device a unique identity and this has been commercial since the start of the year. VALID is increasingly looking to build out new capabilities, such as digital certification, to address these new market opportunities. 
 
Overlapping with IoT security but primarily for the protection of user data, Avast confirmed during our discussion that it has a hardware device in development for smart home security. Essentially a hub or gateway, it will connect with all smart home devices and monitor their behaviour, either sending an alert or cutting off/isolating any device that displays suspicious and unusual behaviour. What solutions like Avast’s new device require is a means of identifying devices on networks. Rambus, Arm, Microsoft, Gemalto, G+D, Trustonic and others we spoke with are all looking at ensuring that this is possible. It is necessary for devices to be identified and managed securely; if the IoT is to be successful it is necessary for the devices to be trusted and more importantly, in the future of machine learning and autonomous decision making, for the data to be trusted and have integrity. 
 
 
Digital Identity is Necessary for Companies to be Truly Digital 
It is the same principle for people. In a world increasingly consisting of digital connections, services and transactions it is necessary for service providers to be able to trust that the people they are dealing with are who they say they are. Users’ and companies’ data need to be protected and it needs to be securely stored, shared and accessed. Digital identity is the key to doing this, to be able to authenticate and validate a person’s (or company’s) identity, to on-board them and to be able to transact with them. 
 
P.A.ID Strategies has done previous work relating to digital identity and testing if service providers’ claims to be digital were valid or not. Sadly, in the majority of those instances they were not and were reliant on legacy processes around traditional physical IDs that had to be submitted in person or in the post. This is a failing and leaves those companies offering a much poorer customer experience than those which are able to quickly and seamlessly on-board customers and authenticate their identity online or via an app. This was a strong part of the messaging from the GSMA and Mitek Systems during their seminars and panel discussions and industry groups, such as the FIDO Alliance, whose members provide various tokens and identity solutions. 
 
Digital identity was a key part of our discussions with Gemalto and G+D Mobile Security too, IDEMIA continues with its strategy around “augmented identity” as well. All are enabling the capture, recording and digitising of identity documents, although how this is managed, shared and used varies. We think that increasingly there will be greater user control in the future, i.e. the user will determine who is able to access their data and how much of it is shared, possibly in conjunction with a trusted third party identity service provider, be it a bank, an operator or a government partner. 
 
 
Urban Mobility Cannot Happen Without Intelligent Connectivity, Security, Digital Identity + Payments 
Coming back to the underlying theme of urban mobility. This is not feasible without digital identity and payments – as well as intelligent connectivity and security. Users will need to be validated in advance and often on-the-fly, which means that a quick turnaround is necessary. It will be important to include pre-paid users and those without bank accounts. This is where companies like Visa, Rambus and Juvo will be important. The same can be said for future eSIM models, operators will need to be able to accept new customers without the barrier of requiring them to visit a retail outlet. 
 
In our one-to-one, we discussed these topics amongst others and it was particularly interesting to see that Visa had a strong emphasis on future transportation and mobility on its booth and continues to broaden its focus beyond pure payments. It sees the market progressing from authenticating card and signature, to card and chip to now the user and their identity credential, be it a card, a document or themselves via a biometric. Tokenisation is going to play an increasingly important role in this. For the past couple of years I have questioned why we can tokenise a payment transaction but not an identity one. Visa is developing this capability so that banks can hold the identity information with Visa as the channel or enabler for sharing tokens to assert and/or confirm the relevant characteristics, e.g. sufficient funds or credit rating, over the age of 18. There are a number of proofs of concept being announced around this initiative. 
 
Rambus has been expanding its tokenisation capabilities although so far this is largely limited to financial and retail applications I expect that this will be further applied to identity and transportation too. Juvo has a completely different approach; it applies machine learning to provide an identity and identity scoring to pre-paid users, enabling over 100m users to date access to services that would otherwise be beyond them. This is something that is so important when so much emphasis is given to what is new at the top-end of these markets and I can see a role for this capability (in partnership with MNOs and possibly other service providers) for finance, transportation and access to connectivity. 
 
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