Protect and serve has been the motto of the Los Angeles police since 1963, and it is a motto the MWC19 congress embraced by taking very seriously the topics of protection and how best to serve the industry. MWC19 is handling sensitive subjects such as digital wellness and digital trust – two areas that once made technology companies wince. Digital wellness aims to ensure we don’t spend too much time behind screens, become slaves to our tech, or develop an addiction to social media. Digital wellness also wants us to manage our “screen time” better. These issues have already prompted most manufacturers to include screen time calculators on products and make consumer recommendations on device time.
Digital trust is much more focused on data protection with an emphasis on fighting cybercrime and protecting your digital identity. Digital trust is created when these actions generate safety in technology use. Many companies focused on this at MWC19, from large security vendors like McAfee and Symantec through to the smaller companies offering truly novel security and digital trust innovations. Companies such as BioSign and Fingerprints showcased in-display fingerprint sensor technology to secure devices. Visualfy showcased its intelligent detection system that learns and interprets the sound in a user’s home then uses it as the ID source. Egis Technology showed the very latest 3D facial recognition software which can naturally identify human faces with its sophisticated technology. Since everyone’s face is different, this type of security is very effective – it’s already been applied to video surveillance, handsets, and laptop security.
Other vendors offered different takes on protecting your digital identity, ranging from voice recognition to advanced biometrics like retinal scans. Palm vein recognition is a particularly interesting technique. A surprisingly mature form of biometrics (Fujitsu has been selling a system for years), this technology identifies the unique vein patterns in fingers or palms. Today, vein recognition is primarily used in the healthcare sector as a less intrusive alternative to fingerprints. It is also being rolled out for retail payments. Whether the security approach is optical, thermal, ultrasound or biometric, it’s very reassuring that innovations geared towards digital trust are in full swing.
Similarly, in MWC19’s B2B space, security and digital trust took on a prominent role. All cloud providers and 5G-related companies dedicated sections of their booths solely to security, with special focus on identity authentication, data protection and information security. As networks become more entangled, such as corporate networks engaging with IoT or connected homes engaging with mobile devices, authentication, protection, and security require greater complexity. Vendors ensured Congress attendees that their firms are designing solutions without weakness or capacity for exploitation.
Digital wellness is not just about being more conscientious of screen time and managing our interaction with tech. The extended hours spent looking at computer, tablet and smartphone screens puts our visual system under duress; some of the common signs of exhaustion are eyestrain and headaches. Most importantly, the risk of permanent retina damage increases with overexposure. It was reassuring to see stands dedicated to products that reduce the physiological impact of technology use. Everything from bad posture camera alerts to sensor-driven ergonomic seating was on-display. Reticare showed their patented eye protectors and protectant screens that block the high-energy light emitted by technology screens.
As part of my digital wellness, it’s time to leave MWC19 and take a break from tech exposure. While the industry continues to innovate and commercialize new products and services, I was glad the Congress also focused on industry-wide concerns like digital trust and wellness.
Until next year, signing out from MWC.