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Reflections on MWC 2017 – The Next Element

The Mobile World Congress 2017 is over, it was – as usual- an overwhelming experience and probably ‘the biggest annual TMT show on earth’

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017

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The conference programme was a highlight of the week, featuring 322 speakers from consumer brands, mobile organisations, mobile operators and industries including automotive, advertising, banking, health, NGOs, entertainment and education. Also European Commission Vice-President Ansip was present and stipulated the importance of the development of 5G, especially for Europe that, as he warned, can’t miss the boat as it did with 4G. Highly anticipated keynote speaker Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix discussed how content is in the midst of a period of disruption and change. ‘In the era of content’, Huawei CEO Eric Xu highlighted, ‘gold being found on video. The role of mobile operators is shifting towards becoming digital content players’.
The conference programme was a highlight of the week, featuring 322 speakers from consumer brands, mobile organisations, mobile operators and industries including automotive, advertising, banking, health, NGOs, entertainment and education. Also European Commission Vice-President Ansip was present and stipulated the importance of the development of 5G, especially for Europe that, as he warned, can’t miss the boat as it did with 4G. Highly anticipated keynote speaker Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix discussed how content is in the midst of a period of disruption and change. ‘In the era of content’, Huawei CEO Eric Xu highlighted, ‘gold being found on video. The role of mobile operators is shifting towards becoming digital content players’.

MORE ON MWC 2017

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by N. Peter Kramer

This year, it was showcased how mobile is the force behind almost every emerging innovation. 108,000 attendees flocked to the MWC; professionals from 208 countries and territories were present, and the event was covered by approximately 3,500 members of the international press and media. More than 2,300 companies participated, which spanned nine halls and eleven outdoor spaces at Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc in Barcelona. Everything from connected cars, virtual reality, new handsets and ingenious app ideas, to 3D printing, privacy protection and backend solutions were on display. Visitors also explored GSMA Innovation City and experienced immersive demonstrations of the most cutting-edge mobile enabled products and services in the world today.

Mobile-connected products and services were showcased in NEXTech Hall 8.0. This was a new destination to the show, featuring different pavilions dedicated to specific technologies and platforms such as VR/AR, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence spaces. The same time the Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo)welcomed more than 11,000 10 – 16-year-old school children from across Catalonia and Spain to one huge showcase of science and technology. This educational event taught kids about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Design/Art and Math (STEAM), with the hopes of encouraging them to pursue careers that will lead them to the mobile industry. YoMo was organised by MWC in collaboration with Mobile World Capital Barcelona. Over the four days, the Women4Tech programme provided a global platform to attendees to focus specifically on increasing the inclusion of women in the mobile industry and showcasing best practices for female leadership. Women4Tech supports the SDGs, particularly SDG 5 (Gender Equality).

5G and video, topics of the conference programme

The conference programme was a highlight of the week, featuring 322 speakers from consumer brands, mobile organisations, mobile operators and industries including automotive, advertising, banking, health, NGOs, entertainment and education. Also European Commission Vice-President Ansip was present and stipulated the importance of the development of 5G, especially for Europe that, as he warned, can’t miss the boat as it did with 4G. Highly anticipated keynote speaker Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix discussed how content is in the midst of a period of disruption and change. ‘In the era of content’, Huawei CEO Eric Xu highlighted, ‘gold being found on video. The role of mobile operators is shifting towards becoming digital content players’.  

The organising committee collaborated with 29 mobile visionaries as they explored how advancements in technology impacts the ever changing landscape of mobile. Partner Events, Power Hours, and Technology sessions centred around a variety of themes from Consumer IoT, Content & Media, Government and Public Policy, Networks, Sustainable Development, Platforms, and The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Industry awards were given at the annual Global Mobile Awards. 40 game-changing products, services, devices, apps and technologies were awarded Glomos.

Looking toward the future 

4YFN took a step into the world of innovation. Thousands of attendees visited this cutting-edge programme at Fira Montjuïc which brought together start-ups, investors and interested business owners for learning and networking opportunities, with the aim of giving them the exposure they need to take their ideas to the global tech community. Leading broadcast, film, TV, video, digital music, mobile games and brands were featured in The MMIX, which explored the exploding global demand for multi-screen media and entertainment in the market today. MMIX attendees received expert analysis, insights and new perspectives on content strategies from leading content value chain players and innovators. The MMIX party on Tuesday night ‘rocked the house’, with an exclusive performance by the Glass Animals.

Beyond meetings and conference sessions attendees had fun. GSMA and Niantic, the force behind the Pokémon Go app, partnered together to create PokeStops and PokeGyms throughout MWC to encourage networking. Android pin trading has become somewhat of a tradition of the show, attendees collected various pins offered by Google and its partners, then spent their Thursday afternoon trading with other enthusiasts.

A year from now, another Mobile World Congress will take place from 26 February to 1 March, 2018, in the Mobile World Capital Barcelona. 

*Mr. Kramer is a special guest at the Mobile World Congress of Huawei Technologies.

EBR’s Editor-in-chief N. Peter Kramer is among the 100.000 visitors from 200 countries to MWC 2017. The annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the largest gathering of the mobile industry in the world. This article is part of a series included in EBR's special report "WMC 2017 - The Next Element"

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