Tomorrow Transformed

Mobile World Congress 2015: Five glimpses of the future

Editor’s Note: Tomorrow Transformed explores innovative approaches and opportunities available in business and society through technology.

CNN  — 

Mobile World Congress 2015 brought together 2,000 exhibitors and tens of thousands of delegates under one roof in Barcelona. But as well as the myriad cell phone launches that are the show’s trademark, this year’s event also pointed to a brave new world of mobile technology, featuring speakers and exhibitors that had everyone asking questions from: What if cars could talk to each other? When will we outgrow 4G? And why isn’t my vending machine smart yet?

So here are five forward-thinking pieces of tech that could shape our tomorrows, as showcased at Mobile World Congress.

1. Connected cars

Cars are no longer simply vehicles – they are fast becoming high-speed internet hotspots. Audi and GM already have 4G LTE capability in some of their vehicles, but it’s a technology that is becoming increasingly mainstream. AT&T and Audi announced at MWC that they planned to work together to have 4G LTE in every Audi 2016 model that is equipped with Audi Connect – a navigation system, internet database and in-car wi-fi.

But what’s the advantage of all that connectivity? Apparently, it means “better voice activation, better voice diagnostics – all the things you want so your hands stay on the wheel and your eyes stay on the road,” AT&T’s chief executive Glenn Lurie told CNN’s Richard Quest.

And ultimately, it means connected vehicles could communicate with other smart devices.

“It’s about vehicles talking to vehicles and vehicles talking to infrastructure. It’s about moving closer to self-driving vehicles,” said Lurie. “It’s about this working with your home, it’s about inanimate objects taking care of you versus you taking care of them.

“[You tell your vehicle], when I’m 20 yards from the house, I want my garage door to open, I want my doors to unlock, I want my security system to go off, I want my thermostats to be turned up. It’s about making people’s lives better.”

2. 4G is so 2015 … the future is 5G