All of the IFA 2020 press conferences are talking up the company’s abilities to cope with and move past COVID-19. Understandably. Qualcomm set a strong example for the other companies to follow, leading with the message that the next level of innovation is the merging of the digital and physical world through greater networking.
There were the usual updates on existing and future partnerships, all relating to 5G networking. For example, Qualcomm is now participating in over 80 5G networks, with over 300 operators investing in Qualcomm’s 5G tech.
With COVID-19 greatly speeding up the push toward 5G and ultra-connectivity, and the promise of “data 4.0,” Qualcomm was making it clear that the ICT sector must be ready even as other markets struggle with the pandemic and post-pandemic landscape.
One of the most interesting things was the announcement of a Qualcomm and Live Nation partnership. The two companies are partnering to prepare for the wider 5G rollout across Europe, including a massive 5G infrastructure upgrade at the Antwerp Sportpaleis to enable 5G connected and enhanced performances.
The partnership aims to enhance the options for live shows drastically. The examples shown during the press conference centered around extending the stage show into the audience via 5G-enabled smartphones, with the audience viewing the experience through their device.
For the most part, the partnership should allow a virtual event to easily complement a physical event running concurrently, with a reduction in networking stress and burden in the arena.
However, the idea of being at a live show that everyone watches through their smartphone screen, rather than the performers on stage, sits ill with me, and I’m sure many others. There are already issues with people obstructing other concert-goers’ views by holding a smartphone aloft. Encouraging an entire audience to do the same will be difficult to manage.