MWC16: Echoing Car & Tech Shows, Automakers Reveal New Mobile Efforts


MWC 2016 Ford Sync3

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has begun taking on more and more relative importance as a global gathering of tech leaders, companies and innovations with each new year.

And in some verticals, such as autos, it is beginning to acquire a weight similar to the major car shows and the Consumer Electronics Show.

For instance, Ford CEO Mark Fields spoke and tweeted “Mobile is everything” in his keynote about “the future of driving”—which, of course, is built around mobile. This is all the more remarkable because Fields certainly wasn’t publicly agog about mobile tech when he took over from former CEO Alan Mulally less than two years ago.

“As we look to the future, it is clear we are on the cusp of a revolution in mobility—from car sharing to autonomous driving to the customer experience,” said Fields. “Technology and innovation provide us with the opportunity to address these trends and to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.”

Ford revealed its new Kuga SUV and announced that its Sync 3 connectivity technology is coming to Europe this year, as well as proclaiming that the company will triple engineering investment in driver-assist technology and will bring the new FordPass customer-experience platform to Europe along with local partners.

Meanwhile at the MWC, Volvo revealed its plans to integrate the Spotify music-streaming service globally in its new cars, starting with XC90, S90 and V90 this spring.

AT&T and Porsche Cars North America announced they are bringing high-speed internet to select 2017 models in the US as part of a new multi-year agreement.

And BMW unveiled a research project called Vehicular CrowdCell that extends the concept of the Vehicular Small Cell presented at last year’s congress. It will enhance the capacity and coverage of mobile radio networks to communicate with the vehicle.

In a similar vein, Samsung unveiled a car “dongle” that provides a way for owners of older cars to add 4G LTE wireless connectivity to their vehicles.