The GSMA Mobile World Congress 2018 Returns to Discuss the Future of Personal Technologies and Wearables

February 3 2018, 06:00
The Mobile World Congress returns in 2018, held 26 February – 1 March at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain. The event brings more than 100,000 attendees from over 200 countries and 2,300 exhibitors together in one place, creating a dynamic environment of collaboration, innovation and education that will advance the mobile industry. Front and center in this year's edition will be once again the future of personal mobile technologies, wearables, and many innovations that will affect the audio industry.

There is a reason this event has been a success for the past 32 years - attendees report they can get more accomplished in one week at MWC than they can the entire year of business travel. As a matter of fact, nine out of ten attendees rank Mobile World Congress as "excellent" with a majority reporting that meeting potential partners and suppliers were their primary reason for attending.

As we reported on last year's event, MWC is becoming a larger forum for cutting-edge audio technologies than other industry events such as CES, any electronics industry show, or any of the specific audio-centric trade shows and conventions. Obviously, MWC is now the center of attention for anything that's wireless audio, wearables, and IoT, and even small dedicated audio technology providers have taken notice and are attending in full force. Companies such as Dolby and DTS are here, obviously, and so are all the microspeakers, MEMS, and balanced armature manufacturers, as well as many of the key DSP technology companies and any semiconductor company active in audio components - all targeting the growing market of mobile audio in all its forms. 

Headphones and earbuds of any type and shape; communications and wireless audio transmissions at home or on-the-go; and, of course, the new class of mobile speakers now powering the trending voice recognition applications and personal voice assistants, all are as much the focus at MWC as the new smartphones or the technology for network operators, which was at the foundation for these events.

This might be of marginal interest for any person who just cares for high quality, traditional, audio experiences, but as any engineer in the industry knows, these are not only some of the markets fastest growing segments (where money comes from) but actually it would be hard to dismiss quality notions from current audio implementations in this space, since the mobile industry is very much aware of the growing consumer interest toward high-end audio and HRA experiences. In fact, it's precisely the interest generated by the mobile industry that's powering many of the ambitious R&D budgets in audio manufacturing these days. Also, this is the space where cutting-edge concepts and technologies are finding the room to actually make it to market. More than in any other consumer space.

In addition to an expansive exhibition showcasing the newest technologies and the latest innovations, Conference Pass holders can also experience an award-winning keynote program and more than 40 relevant track sessions. Developed around eight key themes - Networks, Future Service Provider, Applied AI, Digital Consumer, Immersive Content & Entertainment, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Tech in Society, and Innovation - the conference has a topic for just about everyone.

The GSMA recently announced final updates for Mobile World Congress 2018, including new keynote speakers, program developments, partners and sponsors. Mobile World Congress will be held 26 February – 1 March 2018 at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, with events also taking place at Fira Montjuïc and La Farga L’Hospitalet.

“Mobile World Congress will showcase the latest in mobile technology, from 5G to artificial intelligence, connected cars to virtual reality, drones to robots, and everything in between," says Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA.

For the first time ever, Formula 1 will have its own dedicated area at a world-class exhibition facility. Mobile World Congress attendees will be able to discover current and future initiatives of Formula 1 across all digital platforms, visiting a fully branded 450 square-meter stand.

They join the more than 2,300 companies participating at Mobile World Congress, including brands such as Alibaba, AT&T, BMW, China Mobile, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, HTC, Huawei, Intel, Lenovo, LG, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, NTT DOCOMO, Nokia, Oracle, Orange, Qualcomm, SAP, SEAT, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Toyota, Vivo, Vodafone, Xiaomi and ZTE, among others.

To help attendees better navigate Mobile World Congress, the GSMA offers a number of topic- and exhibition-focused tours at Fira Gran Via. Led by industry experts, the 2018 MWC Tours program includes 5G & NFV, Content, Emerging Tech, Enterprise, IoT, IoT Security, Mobile Advertising & Apps, Retail & Digital Commerce, and Sustainable Smart Cities. The GSMA also offers bespoke Custom Experience Tours to address attendees’ specific business objectives and requirements.

The Mobile World Congress is the cornerstone of the Mobile World Capital, which will be hosted in Barcelona through 2023. The Mobile World Capital encompasses programs and activities that span the entire year and will benefit not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry. 

The GSMA Innovation City will be at Mobile World Congress 2018 once more, offering visitors with an opportunity to discover how mobile products and services are helping to create a better future for citizens and businesses around the world. The interactive exhibition space, which welcomed over 30,000 visitors last year and is one of the key attractions at Mobile World Congress, covers the latest innovations in mobile from artificial intelligence (AI) to 5G through a range of hands-on, experiential demonstrations that illustrate how mobile impacts virtually every aspect of our lives in sectors such as transport, health, agriculture, industry, home and retail.

“From chatbots to 5G, the GSMA Innovation City includes the very latest developments and innovations in this fast-moving industry and frames them in a consumer context via immersive, interactive demonstrations,” explains Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “One of the most popular destinations at Mobile World Congress, the City is a one-stop shop for the latest developments in our industry and we encourage all attendees to visit this year’s showcase.”

The GSMA will also include a number of exhibits and experiences highlighting its key industry programs, allowing attendees to:

- Experience how licensed Low Power Wide Area networks (LTE-M & NB-IoT) are transforming everyday life across cities, businesses, communities and citizens around the world
- Learn how Mobile Connect is supporting cross-border identify verification compatible with the European Union e-Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) regulation
- See how the SmartThings Tracker tracks everyday objects from cars and laptop bags to pets in real-time on Mobile IoT Networks
- See how cities are using the IoT to measure air quality using new sensors and big data analytics to improve the health prospects and quality of life for citizens
- Experience how 5G networks will transform critical communications for the emergency services
- See how operators, aggregators and brands are using RCS A2P messaging services to engage directly with customers using chatbots and AI – with real-life demos from some of the world’s biggest brands

The GSMA Innovation City is located in Hall 4, Stand 4A30, 4A5 and 4A15 in Fira Gran Via and will be open during Mobile World Congress exhibition hours from Monday, 26 February to 1 March from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. GSMA Members are invited to visit the exclusive Members Lounge for networking and cocktails daily from 4:00 pm. The GSMA Innovation City is open to all attendees with all pass types.

February 26–March 1, 2018
GSMA Mobile World Congress
Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain
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