MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

Mobile World Congress 2016 Innovation City

The Mobile World Congress 2016 has just opened its doors today in Fira Barcelona and the Sting is in Barcelona as Brussels’ only EU media to be GSMA’s media partner for many years now. This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), under the over-arching theme of Mobile is Everything, will showcase mobile in a plethora of industry sectors. From connected cars to the airline and cruise industries, delegates will see how far the technology has broadened in scope from the pre-smartphone era when MWC first moved to Barcelona in 2006.

“Mobile is impacting everything in our lives, covering the likes of media, IoT, security and identity,” Michael O’Hara, GSMA’s chief marketing officer, told Mobile World Live. “And MWC is expanding to cover every aspect of mobile.”

As a sign of expansion, O’Hara is confident the number of attendees at MWC 2016 will eclipse the record 94,000 who came last year. “We’re hopeful it will reach six figures,” he said.

And those who do attend, added O’Hara, will see a huge logistical improvement in getting to and from the Fira Gran Via venue. Only days before MWC started in earnest, the Catalonian government, on 12 February, opened the second section of its ambitious Barcelona Line 9/Line 10 metro tram project.

It means attendees can now use the venue’s Metro station, accessed by escalator at the South entrance of the Fira building, to get to the airport or city centre.

“The number one issue that people raise with us about MWC is the taxi lines,” said O’Hara. “We’ve now, hopefully, taken that off the table.”

Aside from trams, Fira Gran Via plays host to a plane. GSMA’s popular Innovation City, which attracted a third of the attendees at MWC 2015, will this year have a lifelike airliner parked at its centre. “We’re showing how mobile is impacting that industry, but also using it as a base to showcase some really cool virtual reality technology,” said O’Hara.

The City also includes an airport, a café, a farm, a vineyard and shops – each taking advantage of the latest mobile-connected products and services. Among the City exhibitors are AT&T, the Global M2M Association, Cisco-target Jasper, KT Corporation and Sierra Wireless.

The car industry is well represented at MWC 2016 too. O’Hara is particularly pleased that Congress is such a strong draw for Ford, whose chief executive, Mark Fields, is giving a keynote presentation on Monday. “Although Congress coincides with the International Geneva Motor Show, Ford prioritises attendance in Barcelona because they think mobile is so important,” asserted O’Hara. “We’re expecting announcements from them at this year’s event.”

Lewis Hamilton, Driver, Mercedes AMG Petronas.jpg_webThere’s also a treat for F1 fans. At his keynote on Tuesday evening, Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm, will be joined on stage by Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe who run the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. Three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton will also make an appearance.

Not only will they discuss how mobile technology is transforming their sport – Qualcomm Technologies entered into a multi-year agreement with the Mercedes F1 team in March 2015 to become an official technology partner – but examine how wireless technology is transforming the future of consumer automotive through motorsport.

Another keynote speaker flagged by O’Hara as demonstrating mobile’s growing cross-industry appeal is Richard Fain, chief executive of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Mark Zuckerberg, however, who is attending Congress for the third year in a row, is likely to grab the headlines in the international press. Given the emphasis made by the Facebook’s chief executive in a recent Wiredarticle on using the likes of drones and laser technology to offer internet access, O’Hara expects he could spark an “interesting conversation” with other MWC delegates.

A place to do business
The bedrock of Congress, however, is still attracting the leading lights from the mobile operator community. “The core of the event is to bring leaders from the mobile industry and adjacent industries together,” said O’Hara.

He argued that, unlike the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, MWC is more about striking deals rather than simply trying out the latest gadgets and gizmos.

“Our strength is that people come to Barcelona to do business,” said O’Hara. “And as long as we continue to bring the right people here, I think we’ll have a healthy event.”

colaoAmong the MWC 2016 keynote speakers are Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive of AT&T Mobile & Business Solutions; Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises; Cesar Alierta, chief executive of Telefonica; and Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive.

There’s also a more unfamiliar face at Congress this year. Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Group, will make an MWC keynote presentation for the first time. “I love having him here after the EE acquisition,” enthused O’Hara. BT’s £12.5 billion takeover of EE, the country’s largest mobile operator, cleared at the end of January and marks the UK fixed incumbent’s return to a market it left more than a decade ago.

Network suppliers, too, are well represented with chief executives from Cisco (Chuck Robbins), Ericsson (Hans Vestberg) and Huawei (Guo Ping) all making keynote presentations. Chief executives from chip companies Intel (Brian Krzanich) and ARM (Simon Segars) also take the keynote stage.

Keep it fresh
This year’s Congress marks 30 years since the first event, and one which has nearly doubled in size from when the event first moved to Barcelona and attracted around 50,000 attendees. Although O’Hara believes that the pervasive nature of mobile technology has driven the phenomenal growth, there is also inevitable pressure on the chief marketing officer to keep the event fresh.

Another innovation is the MMIX Summit, first launched last year, which encompasses a media theme with events scattered throughout Congress. This year’s MMIX includes keynotes and a party on Tuesday evening. “It’s something you’re going to see more of from us going forward as we try to create other themes, such as technology and travel, that run throughout the event,” said the marketing chief.

Neither is the format of the event’s annual awards show keeping still. Attracting a record 930 entries this year, some newly revamped ‘Glomo’ awards will be presented on the exhibition floor and broadcast on Mobile World Live TV rather than staging the whole event in the auditorium. “We want to keep the awards fresh and dynamic,” said O’Hara.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Europe moulds global defense and security chart given US new inward vision

JADE Spring Meeting 2017– day 1: Excellence awards, panel discussion, keynote speeches

Trade deals’ pure realism: it may take 10 years for a post-Brexit agreement

Israel @ MWC14: Israel The Start App Nation

Germany rules the banking industry of Eurozone

Social Committee teaches Van Rompuy a lesson

Five cities short-listed to become the European Youth Capital 2017

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

Europe provides financial support to African countries while Turkey denies to change terrorism laws jeopardising the EU deal

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

EU Summit’s major takeaway: a handkerchief cannot save Greece from austerity

Jade Spring Meeting 2017 – day 2: Coporate workshops, general assembly and magna moment

Young people are Europe’s biggest value and hope

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

How can entrepreneurship tackle the migration crisis in the EU?

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

The 28 EU leaders don’t touch the thorny issues

Dreaming of China

Can the US deal a blow to EU and Russia together over Ukraine?

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

Internet of Things: a Force for Good or Evil?

A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

EU Youth Conference in Riga concludes with recommendations for ministers

Why the ECB suddenly decided to flood banks with money?

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

IMF’s Lagarde to Peoples of the world: You have to work more for the banks!

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

More taxpayers’ money for the banks

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

Facts and prejudices about work

18th EU Eco-Innovation Forum in Barcelona shows the way for Europe’s new Environmental policy

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

Europe’s richest regions actively seek investment from China’s biggest banks

Theresa May in search of a magic plan to invoke Article 50 and start Brexit negotiations now

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “European unity and cooperation is being called on question”, Vice President Joe Biden criticizes from Davos

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

“Access denied”: the Greek health system under pressure

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

Refugee crisis update: Commission still in panic while Turkey is to be added in the equation

What lessons to draw from the destruction of Syria

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

Draghi cuts the Gordian knot of the Banking Union

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

MasterCard @ MWC14: Innovation in times of regulatory uncertainty

Infinite Oath

In China things are moving in the right direction

Ukraine turns again to the EU for more money

COP21 Breaking News_09 December: List of Recent Climate Funding Announcements

Dealing with stress among healthcare professionals: are we missing the elephant in the room?

Elections in Europe: No risks for the EU, leaders readying to face Trump-Brexit

Investing in working conditions and quality jobs

EU-China relations under investigation?

A Sting Exclusive: “There can be no global deal on emissions without China and the USA”, Conservative MEP Ian Duncan stresses from Brussels

Sustainable Development Goals: making the world a better place

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s