Barcelona unveils a new permanent platform for mobile technologies, the Mobile World Centre
Barcelona plays host each year to the world’s largest cell phone-related technology event, the Mobile World Congress, and the Catalan city is becoming an international hub in this field, concentrating several platforms, business initiatives and cultural projects. In fact, Barcelona was declared the Mobile World Capital, in order to act as a global meeting point and platform for mobile related industry. The Mobile World Centre was unveiled on Thursday in Catalunya Square, in the heart of the city, and will become a permanent lighthouse for mobile technology. It will display human stories of how this technology can help in everyday life, explaining the latest developments and also the history of this industry.
Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona plays host each year to the world\u2019s largest cell phone-related technology event, the Mobile World Congress, and the Catalan capital is becoming an international hub within this field, concentrating several platforms, business initiatives, institutional bodies and cultural projects. In fact, Barcelona was declared the Mobile World Capital in order to act as a global meeting point and platform for mobile related industry, a title it will hold until at least 2018. The Mobile World Centre was unveiled on Thursday in Catalunya Square, in the heart of the city, and will become a permanent lighthouse for mobile technology. It will display human stories explaining how this technology can help in everyday life; it will show the latest developments and also tell the history of this industry. The new centre is hosted within an historical building owned by Telefónica, which has offered the space. The Mobile World Centre was presented on Thursday evening in the presence of the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas; the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias; the Spanish Deputy Minister for Telecommunications and Information Society, Víctor Calvo-Sotelo; the President of Telefónica Spain, Luís Miguel Gilpérez; the General Director of GSMA \u2013 the organisers of the Mobile World Congress, Anne Bouverot; and, the GSMA CEO, John Hoffman, among other distinguished guests. Most of them will coincide again in the opening ceremony of the 2013 Mobile World Congress, scheduled on between the 25th and 28th of February in the Catalan capital.
The MWC \u201Cwill make Barcelona grow\u201D
The Catalan President stated that being the Mobile World Capital \u201Cwill make Barcelona grow\u201D. Mas noted that the building hosting the new Mobile World Centre was from 1928 and just a few decades earlier that land was occupied by the city wall. The Catalan President compared the Mobile World Capital status to the importance of demolishing the city walls in the mid-19th century and the implementation of the town plan designed by Ildefons Cerdà, Barcelona\u2019s famous squared grid. This allowed the city to grow \u201Cwith a spirit of modernisation\u201D. \u201CIn that time, there was a modernising spirit and those who transformed the city left a major footprint\u201D. The \u201Crobust and clear prioritisation of information and communication technology\u201D is \u201Ca new breaking down of the city walls\u201D, according to Mas. \u201CThe Mobile World Capital turns us into a great display open to the entire world in a field of strict modernity, which grows and creates highly added-value jobs\u201D, he added. \u201CThis is not a temporary prioritisation. As Cerdà\u2019s plan was in its time, this is a prioritisation towards the future\u201D, he concluded.
During the ceremony, the Mayor of Barcelona emphasised that it is a thrilling day because the city \u201Cis now harvesting the efforts of many years\u201D, which have enabled Barcelona to become the world capital of mobile technology. \u201CThis centre that we are now unveiling is one of the essential assets of the Mobile World Capital\u201D, Trias underlined. He also remarked that this status goes way beyond organising the Mobile World Congress \u2013 the annual main trade fair of this industry at international level \u2013 each year. Trias explained that, for instance, the city is making a big effort to modernise the cell phone network set-up.
The MWCentre promotes business opportunities
The Mobile World Centre Movistar Space is also looking to promote business opportunities for the sector. The centre is, together with the Mobile World Hub, the Mobile World Festival and the Mobile World Congress, one of the four pillars of the Barcelona project to play the role of world capital for mobile technology. Barcelona won this status in the summer of 2011, after competing with 30 other cities around the world in a competition organised by GSMA.
The MWCentre has 1,800 square metres distributed over three floors. It aims to become an access point for citizens to discover all the opportunities this technology offers, explaining mobile solutions to everyday issues. For companies, it aims to become an exchange platform where they can interact with their customers. Besides the space devoted to exhibitions, the building will host a Movistar shop with commercial products and a technical assistance service.
The Mobile World Hub
Besides, the MWCentre and the main congress, over the year and each year until at least 2018, Barcelona will be hosting the Mobile World Festival. This event will organise activities related to mobile technology along the year. For instance it hasl already created synergies with the Sitges International Film Festival and with Barcelona\u2019s Sónar Music Festival, especialised in electronic and advanced music.
Furthermore, Barcelona will also host the Mobile World Hub. The MWHub will be set in the high-tech and environmentally-friendly MediaTIC building, in the Catalan capital\u2019s technological district 22@. The MWHub will provide advice to companies, assist start-ups, and organise activities worldwide. It will promote Barcelona as the world\u2019s leading centre of mobile technologies, fostering the creation of high technology clusters.