While Mobile World Congress 2018 draws to a close, its prevailing themes—from the ethics of AI to the possibilities of 5G—leave mobile marketers with much to think about over the coming year.

Augmenting Our Reality

Google launched its ARCore platform during MWC that works on 100 million Android smartphones. A preview version of Google Lens was introduced for English-language users.

Verizon-owned media company Oath rolled out mobile AR ad offerings that can be embedded directly into mobile apps like Yahoo Mail. Selecting the ad allows consumers to visualize products within their surroundings.

“The rise of mobile AR provides a valuable new medium for marketers to create experiences,” Carter Rogers, senior analyst at SuperData told AListDaily. “Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore have expanded the addressable audience for high-quality mobile AR into the hundreds of millions.”

5G Connects The World

“As smartphones and 4G have become commonplace, mobile technology has lost some of its magic, and 5G looks unlikely to set the consumer world on fire,” predicts Rob Gallagher, research director of consumer services for Ovum.

Sprint plans to roll out 5G networks in select US markets this year, with plans to bring the service to the rest of the country in 2019.

Higher connection speeds are being considered for uses other than smartphones. Huawei brought a prototype robot to MWC that is controlled by a human user via 5G. The robot is designed to replace humans in hazardous workplace situations.

AI Should Help, Not Hinder

As AI becomes a core component of digital marketing, ethical approaches become a pressing topic. Douglas and IBM’s Jay Allen led a workshop that addressed the differences between compliance and ethical business. The goal was to make sure clients consent to and are comfortable with data practices.

Robots are here, but they haven’t rebelled against their creators yet. Experts stressed the importance of making AI helpful rather than a replacement for humans altogether.

In a panel, Google technical lead manager Behshad Behzadi predicted that many jobs will be complemented by AI, while new jobs will be created.

The Future Is Female

Unilever has partnered with UN Women and 22 other companies to form the Global Innovation Coalition for Change. Unilever vowed at 50 percent of the start-ups it invests in by 2023 will be female-founded, but has no plans to give preferential treatment. Businesses have to be deserving, according to Unilever VP of marketing Aline Santos.

“It will trigger action from accounting companies to incentivise young women . . . and scouring companies to bring us a more balanced slate,” Santos told The Drum. “It will affect the whole supply chain of startups. Every time a big company like Unilever says something like that it has lots of positive effects.”

Customer Experience (CX) Is King

When you look between the lines of shiny new gadgets and this year’s hottest buzzwords, the underlying theme of Mobile World Congress was delivering a quality experience to customers.