Some 60,000 attendees from 100 countries are expected to attend the seventh edition of Mobile World Congress Shanghai (MWCS) this week, with the event’s theme – Discover a Better Future – speaking to “how mobile is connecting everyone and everything to a better future”, GSMA CMO Michael O’Hara explained.
In an interview with Mobile World Live, O’Hara said this year’s MWCS theme will be reflected across the show, “from the conference to the exhibition and everywhere between”.
Discover a Better Future highlights what the industry is doing to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as how mobile is “revolutionising industries and improving everyday lives, creating exciting new opportunities while providing lifelines of hope and reducing inequality”, he said.
Encompassing that very theme, O’Hara is expecting intelligent connectivity – leveraging 5G, the IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to deliver “a smarter and more sustainable future” – will be a major topic of this year’s event.
“You’ll hear more about this in the opening keynote session, you’ll see it in demonstrations at the GSMA Innovation City. These foundations of intelligent connectivity will be amongst the hottest topics of the show,” he said.
Of course, 5G as a standalone topic is also expected to be big this year. The GSMA’s Mobile Economy Asia Pacific report, released tomorrow, will unveil some impressive forecasts for the region.
O’Hara believes there will be a big focus at the event on what the technology will deliver for consumers and how it will transform a range of vertical industry sectors.
The CMO was keen to highlight that MWCS, like MWC in Barcelona, is a global show, but there is of course a distinct emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region. The event also maintains a consumer element which the GSMA’s other events do not have.
O’Hara highlighted some of the some new features introduced at this year’s event.
The new NEXTech Hall will showcase technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as AI and robotics. The GSMA is also extending the Women4Tech programme to Shanghai, after successes in Barcelona and the 2017 MWC Americas event in San Francisco.
There will also be an increase in the number of collocated and partner events being held alongside MWC Shanghai, “offering attendees a wider range of experiences than ever before”.
“One particularly exciting event is the Migu Health and Fitness Festival, which highlights the intersection of sports, entertainment and technology,” added O’Hara.
On the conference agenda, O’Hara said he was excited about a new concept introduced called the Leaders Stage, which will explore “wide-ranging trends that are shaping the mobile future”.
Session topics include digital society, blockchain, cyber security, big data, mobile payment technologies and others.
Across the conference, around 220 speakers will address seven overarching themes: Applied AI; Immersive Content and Media; Networks; Technology in Society; the Fourth Industrial Revolution; the Digital Consumer; and the Future Service Provider.
“I’m looking forward to the opening keynote, of course, which will feature leaders from the mobile operator community, including China Mobile and China Telecom, as well as Bharti Enterprises and AT&T Business,” said O’Hara. “And I’m looking forward to hearing from companies that may not be traditionally considered mobile – we have leaders from Shell Retail in China, Dentsu Aegis Network, Viacom International Media Networks, and others.”