Officially, 2018’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) starts on February 26, but for many attendees, the day of greatest anticipation is a day earlier, February 25. Why? Because that’s when we finally get to know the new Samsung Galaxy S9. Not everyone believes that the presentation of the latest member of the Galaxy family is the most important thing at the show, however.
“We don’t focus on device launches as something essential for our show,” explained Michael O’Hara, CMO of the GSMA — the trade group that organizes the MWC show — in an interview with Digital Trends Español. Although O’Hara noted that the organization is very happy with launches like the Galaxy S9, he pointed out that there was no event of this magnitude last year, and does not consider that the strength or success of the Mobile World Congress.
— DT en Español (@DigitalTrendsEs) February 21, 2018
In fact, what takes place in Barcelona is something else. It’s about doing business, business, and more business. “The MWC is successful because industry leaders, regulators, and governments come and do their business,” he stresses.
And in that sense, the figures that accompany MWC show their importance. In addition to some 2,300 exhibitors, 170 international delegations and 108,000 attendees, it also entails the creation of 13,000 temporary jobs and an economic impact of 471 million Euros. In fact, since 2006, the MWC has generated 4.4 million Euros and created of 115,000 part-time jobs. Not bad!
Possible change of venue?
It’s obvious therefore that the mere possibility of a change of headquarters would be a great loss for Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain in general. But at the present the GSMA has an agreement with these three parties (city, state, country), so Barcelona remains the headquarters of MWC — at least until 2023. Whether that changes will depend above all on one thing: “that you can guarantee a safe environment for the event.”
Despite the secession vote and subsequent protests that have taken place recently in the Catalan capital, and the strong independence movement that still live and breathe in all of Catalonia, the truth is that this requirement is illogical. Despite everything, for the GSMA, “the city of Barcelona works very well, and we want it to continue being headquarters,” O’Hara clarifies.
What is expected this year at MWC are fewer interventions of super-known industry leaders such as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg or Google CEO Sundar Pichai — events that were present at previous MWC events and drew great publicity and press. The motive?
“This year we’ve decided to make things a little different. We wanted to have leaders from more emerging industries. Focus on technologies that can make a difference and that can change the world, “O’Hara explains.
More female presence and greater security
Likewise, in order to change things, the MWC of 2018 will have a greater female presence in terms of the participant speakers, as well as the attendees to this technology fair. “Twenty-five percent of our speakers are women this year,” said O’Hara, who wants the show to be a little more diverse.
“Twenty-five percent of our speakers are women this year.”
But that’s not the only thing that worries O’Hara. Therefore, to avoid a recurrent problem during the MWC, this year will increase the security during the event. Thefts are a daily issue in Spain,especially in Barcelona. However, the organization is working and collaborating closely with local authorities to increase the police presence with special attention this year.
All for the purpose of allowing entrance to the event only to authorized persons, and to try to have fewer reports on thefts. “It’s not possible to eliminate crime, but to try to reduce the number of reports,” concludes the GSMA’s marketing director.
MWC expects to reap the same success as past shows in 2018 — and indeed, to exceed it in some ways.
No doubt, that will be thanks to events such as Samsung and the presentation of its Galaxy S9, along with the announcements and novelties of other important industry players such as Huawei, LG and HTC, to name a few — even if it is not the priority for the GSMA. There is a lot of excitement and many curious and experts are ready to see what is happening and what comes out of this Mobile World Congress. Whether or not they will meet expectations, we’ll know soon enough.
But if you want to know in advance with a little more detail the ads on phones and other devices that we hope, do not miss our predictions.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.