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Top 10 takeaways from Mobile World Congress 2016

Mobile World Congress 2016 concluded last week with a record 101,000 attendees, an increase of more than 6 percent from last year. 

The conference has evolved over time and is now the most important event of the year for wireless carriers, brands, technology companies, governments and startups. Mobile World Congress is the place where companies come together to do business and make important announcements.

Numbers game
What makes Mobile World Congress unique is the depth and diversity of the attendees, who came from 204 countries. 

There were government delegations representing 137 countries and 31 international organizations. 

In addition to the industry leaders, there were more than 5,000 CEOs in attendance this year. 

Mobile World Congress combines the best of TED, Cannes Lions and CES all in a four-day period. 

4 Years From Now (4YFN), which is a part of Mobile World Congress, featured 500 startups and large companies in the innovation market. 

Brands have found Mobile World Congress to be an important destination to understand the rapidly changing technological and consumer changes affecting their business. 

Brand leadership from AT&T, Ford Motor Co., GE Digital, Getty Images, Intel Corp., MasterCard, Mercedes, Coca-Cola Co., Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Bank of America, Nestle and Netflix attended this year. 

In addition, media companies such as CNN, Viacom, AOL, Sky, BBC, Yahoo, Facebook, Google and Conde Nast were also present this year.  

Advertising agencies are also coming in greater numbers. McCann has been a long-term attendee and other agencies attending include WPP, Havas, OMD and Publicis. 

I have attended Mobile World Congress since 2007 as a speaker and moderator and what we saw as vision in 2007 has become a rapidly evolving reality in 2016.

Here are ten key takeaways from Mobile World Congress this year:

1. The Internet of Things (IoT) is omnipresent and everywhere.

2. Connected cars are already on the road.

3. Smart cites are in the early stages of development.

4. Health and mobility are providing tangible products and benefits.

5. The mobile marketing technology ad stack is unleashing the power of mobile for marketers. 

6. Augmented reality is real and growing rapidly.

7. Smartphones are getting significantly smarter every 12 months.

8. A successful mobile ad model will be driven by relevance and context.

9. Mobile is already improving the quality of education and healthcare in emerging markets.

10. Mobility has already expanded beyond smartphones to smart devices.

Mobile World Congress 2017 is a year away, but it is not too early to start planning.

Dan Hodges is managing director of Consumers in Motion Group, a New York-based strategic consultancy offering business, marketing, and technology services. He is also head of the New York chapter of the Location Based Marketing Association. Reach him at .