85,000 strong record-breaking attendance at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress 2014

GSMA, the organisers of the Mobile World Congress, have announced on Thursday that more than 85,000 visitors from over 200 countries participated in this year’s event. The figure sets a new impressive attendance record with an overall increase of 18% on last year’s edition. Around 80,000 attendees participated at the Mobile World Congress at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venues and more than 5,000 visitors attended mPowered industries programme at Fira’s Montjuïc venues. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty delivered highly anticipated keynote speeches, while close to 1,800 international market leading companies presented their latest innovative products and services. In the Global Mobile Awards, the HTC One scooped top award of the Best Smartphone of the year, while Apple iPad was announced the Best Mobile Tablet. Wearable devices were also an exciting highlight of the 2014 MWC.

Samsung stand at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (by N. Sinkeviciute)
Samsung stand at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (by N. Sinkeviciute) / Ben Ramage / Rurika Hashimoto / Neringa Sinkevi?i?t?

Ben Ramage / Rurika Hashimoto / Neringa Sinkevi?i?t?

February 27, 2014 09:02 PM

Barcelona (CNA).– GSMA, the organisers of the Mobile World Congress, have released on Thursday the figures revealing that this year’s premiere mobile phone exhibition has broken all previous records for attendance. According to their figures, over 85,000 visitors came from over 200 countries to this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), which is the main international event of the mobile-related industries, taking place each year in Barcelona. The 2014 attendance represents an 18%increase on last year’s event. 80,000 of these visitors were at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via facilities, the Congress’ main venue, while 5,000 attended the new mPowered industries programme at Fira’s Montjuïc venue. The figures come off the back of a particularly exciting Mobile World Congress with hugely famous speakers such as Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty delivering some of this year’s keynote speeches. Samsung also created a buzz by unveiling their latest Flagship model, the Galaxy S5, while the annual Global Mobile Awards revealed the key winners of the mobile phone industry last year. Wearable devices were also a hot topic at this year’s MWC, with several companies announcing the move into this emerging and exciting market. More than 3,800 international media and industry experts participated in the event.

Key Releases – Samsung unveil Galaxy S5 model

As anticipated, Samsung unveiled the new version of their flagship model, the Galaxy S5. The new phone, set for commercial release in April, has a larger screen than the previous model, as well as a number of new fitness features, such as a built-in heart monitor and pedometer. It also has an impressive 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, which Samsung claim is the fastest of any available smartphone, taking just 0.3 seconds to autofocus. Another impressive announcement came from Huawei, who unveiled what they claim is the thinnest tablet ever produced, the MediaPad X1. Blackberry also announced 2 new smartphones, the Q20 and the Z3, as they try to recover lost ground in the mobile phone market.

Keynote speakers Rometty and Zuckerberg serve up impressive speeches

The most anticipated talk of the Congress was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s, but IBM’s CEO Virginia Rometty’s accomplished speech made Zuckerberg’s question and answer session seem slightly less impressive. Her speech focused on the growing importance of Cloud based technology to all businesses, as well as a short video feature on IBM’s most innovative creation ‘Watson’, a computer system that ‘learns’  by itself by scanning online data, and is now being used by some Hospitals to help decide the best treatment plans for Cancer patients. Zuckerberg’s question and answer session inevitably involved his acquisition of Whatsapp, which he believes is a key asset in his fight to connect the entire world.  On his first appearance speaking outside of the US, Zuckerberg mainly focused on his project internet.org, which he hopes will provide free internet services, including Facebook, to the developing world, with the help of global internet providers.

The Global Mobile Awards

This year’s Mobile Awards threw up some interesting winners, with HTC grabbing the coveted best Smartphone award for their flagship device, the HTC one, defeating the other nominees, the Apple iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Nokia Lumia 1020. The Awards was hosted by British comedian James Cordon, who did his best to liven up the event with his flirtatious actions, whilst also acknowledging his lack of knowledge in technology. Apple won the award for best Tablet for their Air model, despite again failing to attend the Mobile Congress, while Nokia picked up two awards for Best Low-Cost Smartphone and Best Entry-Level Smartphone.  The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, also picked up a special award for the mSchools initiative honouring an innovative project developed by Catalonia’s educational system.

Wearable devices as growing trend in mobile phone industry

This year ‘wearable devices’ received world-wide attention. Samsung showcased the latest smartwatches called ‘Gear 2’ and ‘Gear 2 Neo’, and also its newly released cutting-edge smartband called ‘Gear Fit’. Sony released its latest smartband called ‘Core’, which is a small device with a sensor. Other companies such as Motorola, which confessed during this year’s MWC that it has a new smartwatch on the way, are going to join this emerging flow in the industry. These devices are connected with apps and users can record their sport activities or health condition. The innovation in the industry intends to improve health control and mHealth, health-related services using mobile devices, could also be an upcoming trend in the near future.