• The Mobile World Congress was one of the many events held virtually in the last year, marking the beginning of a new era. Let’s see how it went.

This year has seen an increase in technology usage as a way to make things virtual rather than in-person. This includes attending concerts or meetings through a zoom call, or enjoying some of your favorite pastimes electronically, including casinos.

The Mobile World Congress, also known as MWC Barcelona, is one of the many significant events held virtually this year, and we are pleased to report the event was an online success.

What is the MWC? Who is GSMA?

MWC Barcelona is an annual trade show organized by the GSM Association (GSMA), the Global System for Mobile Communications, which mainly focuses on the mobile communication industry.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, bringing together nearly 400 companies from the broader mobile ecosystem, such as handset and device manufacturers, software companies, equipment providers, internet companies, and organizations from related industries.

The GSMA also produces the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences and the industry-leading MWC events held yearly in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai.

Usually, the event is held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, at Fira de Barcelona Gran Via in February or early March. Device manufacturers, network equipment suppliers, wireless carriers’ representatives, and the press were the primary attendees. The number of visitors each year peaks typically at about 100 000 people, while mobile manufacturers often use the conference to reveal future devices.

GSMA has previously expanded to Shanghai, China and Los Angeles, USA, with plans for the GSMA to expand the MWC brand to two further exhibitions. However, the brand is still synonymous with the Barcelona event.

Virtual MWC 2021

GSMA prepared for the return of MWC Barcelona at the beginning of the year. Building on the achievements of the GSMA’s first major hybrid event in Shanghai this year, MWC21 announced a new era of mobile ecosystems connectivity and cooperation.

Designers significantly improved GSMA’s hybrid experience at Fira Gran Via, which took place from 28th June to 1st July 2021, which combined unique personal and virtual elements – attracting 35,000 people from all over the globe and thousands more online.

The CEO of GSMA Ltd, John Hoffman, was very proud to announce the virtual event this year. He spoke of how, for the first time, the brand’s new hybrid features would allow attendees and their organizations to create bespoke experiences for the MWC Barcelona, along with this year’s theme of ‘Connected Impact’.

The theme was based around the current global circumstance and emphasized the health and safety of the attendees and those who were unable to attend in-person in Barcelona. The event focused on the involvement of everyone, despite their inability to attend.

Hoffman continued to emphasize how important it is to adapt to the current world situation and explained how they had learned from the hybrid event earlier in the year in Shanghai. The Shanghai event had a massive impact on how event organizers ran the MWC21 Barcelona event.

The Influence of Teams

One-third of the 350 speakers from the MWC21 saw the announcement of the official GSMA video conference and meeting partner of Microsoft Teams. Integrated into existing digital MyMWC platforms, Teams provided a host of features that created a fantastic experience for in-person and virtual participants.

Online participants could participate in live streaming virtual exhibition tours conducted by industry experts, ask questions via live chat and watch on-demand sessions. Themes such as 5G and the Internet of Things were covered by a series of ‘Topic Tours’ supported by Dell Technologies, Orange, Royole, ZTE and Kaspersky. Also showcasing their latest products and innovations, exhibitors such as Orange and TelcoDR offered exclusive company tours.

Also included in this year’s Partner Program was a series of virtual and hybrid events. The sessions were hosted by thinkers worldwide, including AWS, Braze, Facebook Connectivity, Huawei, IBM, KORE, Lenovo, Nvidia and Snapchat, who provided insight that could resolve some of the most complex challenges we face today.

Concentrated networking workshops brought together leaders from various industries such as automobile, fintech, manufacturing, mobile IoT, telco edge and drones. Each meeting was organized by an expert and aimed to promote debate on critical issues and allow participants to connect.

The MyMWC app

The MyMWC app used more than 300 data points, enhancing iLeader, Leader, and VIP users with tailor-made meeting and contact recommendations. The built-in video conference feature offered participants the chance to network wherever they were.

The MWC21 is proof that a new era has begun that will involve more virtual interactions. The evolution of how we do events is thanks to the technology developed in the last few years. From creating their app to organizing virtual conference calls with speakers worldwide, the MWC team made it work.

From your armchair, you can play all of your favorite games and communicate with people all around the world. One of the most major mobile communications events recently took place digitally, paving the way for all other key events to follow suit.