According to Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA, the trade group that produces the annual confab, not only will the traditional wireless vendors like Nokia, Huawei, and Ericsson be talking about 5G, so will many IT-focused companies. Firms like VMware, HPE, IBM, and others will be flocking to the show to talk about their role in 5G and in another hot area — the Internet of Things (IoT).
“When I started here, the ecosystem was just about operators and vendors,” O’Hara says. “Now virtually every industry has a mobile strategy.”
O’Hara says that the GSMA is anticipating more than 101,000 attendees at the Barcelona conference. Those conference delegates will be coming from more than 160 countries around the globe.
More than 2,200 companies will be exhibiting at the show and there will be about 4,000 members of the media covering the annual event.
The GSMA will again be hosting its Innovation City, but this time it has moved to the entrance of Hall 4 of the Fira Gran Via. Last year the Innovation City had more than 30,000 visitors, so the move to Hall 4 will accommodate even more people.
Expect the Innovation City to be filled with interesting demonstrations like a virtual reality bobsled and IoT-enabled safety jacket to keep people safe at sea or in the mountains. There will connected cars showing the latest innovations in vehicle-to-vehicle communications, autonomous driving, and more.
AT&T, which has been a big proponent of the Innovation City, will be showcasing its DirecTV Now video service as well as its various IoT solutions. Sierra Wireless will be demonstrating a live LTE CAT-M network for smart water solutions. And Huawei will be highlighting a connected drone.
Interestingly, the GSMA is launching a Women4Tech initiative at the conference that will feature programming, tours, and networking opportunities for female employees. O’Hara said the initiative is intended to help improve the gender gap that exists in the telecom industry.
The SDxCentral team will be out in full force at Mobile World Congress, bringing you all the latest news and updates. I’ll be there along with my colleagues Linda Hardesty and Craig Matsumoto. If you pass me in the hallway or the show floor, be sure to say hello. – Sue