A technological paradise: Mobile World Congress 2018
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, and drones, just some of the innovations showcased at this year’s event in Barcelona
The atmosphere is buzzing at the 2018 edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, which got underway on Monday morning. It is the main event in the mobile world, and over 108,000 people from all over the world are expected to attend, with thousands of new innovations related to all things mobile and more being showcased until March 1.
There were even bicycle charging sites for mobiles on site, where particpants could get a bit of exercise whilst charging their phones. Products are on show in numerous exhibition halls, a true bombardment of the senses, with attendees walking around, heading to and from meetings, and letting curiosity draw them in to stands.
The MWC is a tech-heads’ paradise. Some of this year’s key themes include robotics, artificial intelligence, 5G technology, and the fourth industrial revolution. Even drones can be seen buzzing about here and there.
For many participants, it’s the perfect time to find out the latest developments in the industry, as well as organize business meetings. “It’s a great opportunity to get a dozen or more really high quality meetings without travelling all over Europe,” said Michael Stewart, founder and CEO of Escape Communications based in California. For him, although he was “concerned” at first, politics wasn’t an issue.
“You could hear the clinking of pots and pans at around 9 o´clock, people expressing their displeasure with policies, but as far as the Mobile World Congress is concerned, it doesn’t seem to be affected yet.”
This was the first MWC for some attendees, such as Wendy Tai, based in Berlin and San Francisco. “I’m looking forward to making some new connections and to seeing what is new and upcoming next,” she said.
“It’s a great opportunity to get a dozen or more really high quality meetings without travelling all over Europe”
Michael Stewart · MWC attendee
With attendees of the annual event coming from over 200 different countries, people come from far and wide to find out what is going on in the mobile world. Ofentse Molatelo, another MWC first-timer, travelled all the way from South Africa.
“There’s a lot of things happening, but one thing I’ve picked up on is that everybody is doing the same thing. It’s really just about what package you want in it,” he said.
Talking about Sunday night's protests, called in response to the arrival of the king of Spain in Barcelona, Molatelo said that it wasn’t a problem for him.
“I’m not too sure what the current situation is,” he said, “but I love that whatever’s happening, it’s kind of peaceful, the way they are protesting and spreading their message. We’re really not feeling like we have to hide in our hotels. Being from South Africa, I know how the political climate can a bit crazy, so I’m enjoying the peace in negotiations and communciations.”
New security measures
Security is a key issue at this year’s MWC. For the first time ever, the Catalan police will incorporate the use of drones in the security measures throughout the event.
Security plans have been adapted, as the terrorist attack warning in Barcelona is high, currently set at level four out of five.