This year’s MWC Barcelona event is shaping up to be another humdinger that will try the patience, stamina, and shoes of the more than 100,000 attendees. (And yes, I said “humdinger.”) I am sure we will hear from GSMA – the event organizer – that attendance will be in excess of that six-figure amount, but I figure that once you cram that many people into one venue why bicker over the details.
And what can you and your new friends expect to see at this year’s event? 5G, that’s what. There is no doubt that 5G will be the dominate technology talking point, similar to last year.
But this year has the advantage of another candle on the cake, an actual 5G specification to work with, and real – though geographically limited – deployments. This last point will allow for more depth to conversations regarding real-world use cases and technical challenges that will be a focal point exiting the event.
But beyond the latest hype around 5G, we here at SDxCentral are also interested in hearing more about the importance of software, network infrastructure, and security in support of that 5G future. Sure, those things sometimes get glossed over by those chasing the latest “G,” but we know that without those things that 5G future is just a dream.
In terms of software, expect to see an increased focus on virtualization that goes deeper than the generic NFV and SDN topics we have seen in years past. Vendors and carriers know that the real promise of 5G cannot be attained without serious software support.
That software will also play a big role in how network infrastructure evolves to meet the 5G promise. This includes the ability to support edge computing platforms that are essential to the connected cities, vehicles, and IoT services that will drive usage and revenues across the 5G networks.
Of course security will need to underpin all of these efforts. If we have learned anything over the past 12 months, it’s that security remains a daily battle that needs to be overcome in order for society to trust this 5G future. This is an area where technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can provide the biggest benefit by supporting the automation necessary to deal with ongoing security concerns.
Dealing With the Horde
Like last year, the main entry point into the Fira Gran Via will be through the “South Entrance.” This is the most convenient access point for attendees arriving to the venue by Barcelona’s public transportation. This entrance also puts you closest to Hall 1 of the venue and makes for easy counting as you navigate the Fira.
There is also a new North Entrance this year, which lets you in near Hall 8. This might be a good alternative as it’s new and show regulars might not want to change up their regular pattern. But, it also will require you to count down from 8 to 1 as you traverse the venue, so be prepared.
As mentioned, most will take advantage of the city’s subway system, which is accessible with the public transportation card provided by the event. For the South Entrance you will want to look for the Europa/Fira stop, which will let you out about a five-minute walk from the South Entrance, or just follow the herd. For the North Entrance you will want to exit via the Foc station, which will put you at a six-minute walk from that entrance.
And like last year, expect security to be tight. One way to mitigate that drama would be to register for GSMA’s Digital ID or BREEZ services. These can make it easier to access the venue, though as with all large public gatherings, your mileage might vary.
And also know that we will be right there alongside you every step of the way. (Well, maybe not every step, but you know what we mean.) The SDxCentral editorial staff, including myself, Jessica Hardcastle, and Ali Longwell, will be putting in the miles (kilometers?) required to bring you the most important news from the show. And if you happen to see us running from one place to another while there, feel free to say “hi” or at least offer to grab us a coffee. – Dan