MWC in Barcelona: This Year’s Focus is on ‘Intelligent Connectivity’

This year’s Mobile World Congress (which is now officially called MWC) will take place from Feb. 25 to 28 in Barcelona at the Fira Gran Via, Fira Montjuïc, and La Farga L’Hospitalet. Organizer GSMA expects that more than 107,000 professionals from over 200 countries and territories will attend.

Under the event theme of “Intelligent Connectivity,” MWC19 Barcelona will highlight the intersection of “hyperconnectivity,” enabled by 5G and the internet of things, and “intelligence,” delivered by artificial intelligence and big data. In addition to the core elements of intelligent connectivity, MWC19 will explore the key topics of Content, Digital Trust, Digital Wellness, and The Future.

“Underpinned by 5G and AI, intelligent connectivity is a major technological force that will shape how the world communicates well into the future,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “Attendees will get to experience the impact of intelligent connectivity firsthand across the conference and exhibition and the many programs and events taking place at MWC19 Barcelona.”

The GSMA has rebranded its flagship event series, moving from “Mobile World Congress” to “MWC,” a refresh that will be applied across all three global MWC events. The 2019 events will be referred to as MWC19 Barcelona, MWC19 Shanghai, and MWC19 Los Angeles.

O’Hara commented: “We are rapidly moving to a world where mobile will connect everyone and everything, but at the same time, we are expanding our reach beyond mobile. The new brand retains the familiar acronym while placing less emphasis on ‘mobile’ to reflect the broadening scope of communications today.”

MWC19 Barcelona will bring together leading players from across the mobile ecosystem, as well as adjacent industry sectors such as automotive and consumer electronics, showcasing the latest technologies, products, and services. More than 2,400 companies will participate at MWC19. The show floor will also include more than 40 country and regional pavilions.

One of the perennial favorites at MWC, the GSMA Innovation City, will put a spotlight on how intelligent connectivity — 5G, IoT, AI, and big data — is impacting and improving the lives of citizens, enterprises, and governments around the world. Visitors will experience intelligent connectivity across a range of sectors including entertainment, transportation, public services, and industry, among others, with demonstrations from partners Google, Huawei, KT Corporation, Sierra Wireless, and Turkcell, as well as GSMA industry and advocacy programs.

NEXTech Hall 8.0 is the destination for MWC19 attendees seeking cutting-edge technology trends, including AI, IoT, drones, robotics, and virtual reality/augmented reality (AR/VR), among others. NEXTech will feature several specialized technology areas, including the Drone Zone, the Graphene Pavilion, and the IoT Pavilion, alongside the NEXTech Lab, an open theater where leading industry players will present their latest innovations.

New for 2019, the GSMA will introduce “Digital Planet: The Connected Experience” in Hall 8.1, an evolution of App Planet, which has been a mainstay of MWC since 2010. Digital Planet will include over 200 app, ad tech, e-commerce, and marketing communication solution providers and other organizations focused on creating connected experiences and solutions that will positively impact citizens’ daily lives. Digital Turbine, Infobip, MessageBird, and Toyota are among the companies that will be showcased in Digital Planet, and Generalitat de Catalunya has been confirmed as the official sponsor.

4YFN is the innovation platform for MWC19 Barcelona, enabling startups, investors, and companies to connect and launch new business ventures together. The three-day event, scheduled for Feb. 25–27 at Fira Montjuïc, is expected to attract 21,000 attendees who will have the opportunity to meet the growing global tech startup community, take inspiration from onstage talks and workshops, and develop their skills in the newly designed Discovery Area.

Over 600 companies will be exhibiting at 4YFN, including startup delegations from Colombia, France, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, among others. Sponsors for 4YFN include Banco Sabadell, Daimler, Intel, SEAT, and VISA, as well as public institutions from countries and territories including Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan.

The Women4Tech Programme is back in Barcelona with an expanded set of activities and events in its third year. Running across all four days of MWC19 Barcelona, Women4Tech is designed to address and reduce the gender gap in the mobile industry. A central element of the program is the Women4Tech Summit, with keynote presentations and panel discussions exploring topics such as gender equality and career development; mentoring and youth education; women in communication and vertical sectors; and women as entrepreneurs and innovators. In addition to the Summit, the Women4Tech Programme includes the Women4Tech Speed Coaching and Networking session; specialized MWC Tours; Women4Tech GLOMO awards for “Outstanding Achievement in Mobile Industry Leadership”; a Women4Tech panel on Mobile World Live TV; and Women4Tech activities at 4YFN.

The Youth Mobile (YoMo) Festival returns to Barcelona for its third year and is expected to attract approximately 25,000 attendees, including 22,000 school group attendees — nearly 85% more students than in 2018. A dedicated program designed to inspire young people to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math (STEAM), YoMo will offer an array of educational exhibits, live theater shows, interactive workshops, and hands-on activities, as well as educator-focused workshops, lectures, and more. The 2019 edition of YoMo also includes the Enhanced Teacher Track, which focuses on digital transformation of the classroom. YoMo will be held Tuesday, Feb. 26, through Friday, March 1, at La Farga L’Hospitalet. Energytruck, the new mobile exhibition of Foundation Naturgy, has been confirmed as a corporate sponsor for the program.

The 2018 edition of MWC was officially certified as carbon-neutral by AENOR International, reiterating its position as the world’s largest carbon-neutral tradeshow. In 2019, the GSMA is focused on further reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the event, offsetting any outstanding emissions as necessary. It will also extend the “Donation Room” program, through which MWC exhibitors donate used materials to Barcelona citizens at the end of the event. At the conclusion of the 2018 event, the GSMA collected 21.5 tons of building materials and 10 tons of furniture items and worked with the city councils of Barcelona and Hospitalet to provide them to more than 20 local socially responsible entities. ■