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MEF CEO Rimma Perelmuter shares her insights from a busy 2016 Mobile World Congress where MEF hosted two key initiative workshops, annual elections for two chapter boards and the legendary MEF Connects MWC networking event.

This year’s MWC surpassed expectations with more than 100,000 executives converging on Barcelona.  IoT, new mobile devices, connected cars, 5G, AR and VR were the dominant ‘hot themes’ across the  exhibition floor and reflected the broadening mobile landscape and rising diversity of companies engaging in our ecosystem.

While the inevitable sea of traditional mobile grey suits continues to dominate the halls of the Fira, it was the tee-shirt wearing hipsters, newer mobile entrants from diverse traditional industries, as well as a vibrant mix of mobile-first companies and select but noticeable number of female execs who represented the buzz and innovation sweeping mobile.

As the trade body representing the global mobile ecosystem, MEF’s mission is to accelerate the ever growing mobile opportunity and create a sustainable industry for all. During MWC our focus was to generate strong leadership, engagement and thought-leadership opportunities for our members.

    From feedback and views from the floor, it’s abundantly apparent that fraud in A2P messaging is a critical problem – one that captures a complex value chain, from enterprises and consumers through to messaging service providers and mobile operators.

The week kicked off with elections amongst 20 outstanding execs across 10 countries offering their candidacy for the highly contested seats in MEF’s EMEA and LatAm Chapter elections. As mobile continues its reign to become the primary channel to engage and transact with consumers, the newly elected board members reflect MEF’s global agenda to connect, empower and accelerate the growth of the broadening mobile ecosystem.

As ever, our legendary 14th annual MEF Connects MWC saw record engagement of nearly 1,000 registrants.  Held at La Cupula at the top of the dazzling former Barcelona bullring, the evening attracted execs from 46 countries and exemplified the diverse and changing nature of our industry. We’re grateful to our partners American Express, Viacom, F-secure, Mblox and NuvoBarcelona for supporting the event and making it the best ever MEF Connects.

MEF also held two workshops on Messaging and Consumer Trust addressing the burning issues facing the industry in context.  Both events were at capacity, marking their relevancy to members and MEF’s commitment to tackling industry issues and accelerating the mobile opportunity.

The Messaging Workshop provided a platform to preview MEF’s Mobile Messaging Programme which is supporting industry best-practice and market facilitation.

From feedback and views from the floor, it’s abundantly apparent that fraud in A2P messaging is a critical problem – one that captures a complex value chain, from enterprises and consumers through to messaging service providers and mobile operators.

MEF (17)The workshop also featured a panel debate chaired by our features editor, Tim Green and panelists from CLX, IMIMobile, MBlox, Openmarket Telefonica, Twilio, and MEF LatAm on the market innovations drive the future of messaging.

MWC took place in a week that saw Apple and the FBI dominate the headlines polarising the challenge of balancing two important principals: the protection of consumer privacy and national security.  With this backdrop and the lingering debate on mobile ad-blocking, it is clear that building consumer trust will only continue to grow in importance for the mobile ecosystem, particularly with the availability of sensitive data and rising need for authentication core to services such as IOT, mobile money and health.

MEF’s Consumer Trust workshop gathered members from AVG, Barclays, Boku, Content Connect Africa, Dentons, Deutsche Telekom, F-Secure, InMobi, iProov, Kaspersky and Unwire to review the core regulatory, education and innovation aspects of our Consumer Empowerment roadmap whilst debating the merits of new undertakings in areas such as personal data, regulatory best practice and security key to identify where biggest impact may be achieved.

Elsewhere at MWC, I attended the annual Development Dinner and Connected Women’s Day which both shone the spotlight on the importance of driving social impact as well as tackling the leadership gap for women in our industry.

Rimma2015Rimma Perelmuter



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It is heartening to see so many market use cases demonstrating the socio-economic impact of connectivity achieved via the collaboration of mobile players, NGOs and governmental institutions across growth markets. Equally, the industry has an opportunity to tap into the benefits of recognising that companies with more women leaders are more profitable and ultimately successful.

Such initiatives highlight the opportunity for the ecosystem to unlock the potential of addressing diversity with mobile serving as a tool of transformation. MEF will continue to engage closely with members and new sectors to create a trusted and geographically diverse mobile ecosystem. May we collectively rise to the challenge of creating both a sustainable and profitable business that also empowers society.