As a 8 year veteran visitor of Mobile World Congress (MWC) and Barcelona resident I get the question from a lot of people what to expect from MWC this year. New innovations? Trends? Is it a place to close deals or just to socialise and party? Who will be there? How should I plan my week?
What & When
MWC is the biggest industry event for mobility in the world no matter if you are an operator/carrier, mobile device manufacturer, telecom network supplier or service provider for mobility. All the C-level executives come together as well as army’s of scouts, business developers, sales people, procurement representatives, entrepreneurs, a few developers and more for a once in a year opportunity, to meet, network and see what’s going on. For the 8th year in a row MWC will take place in Barcelona and this year 25-28 of February.
Why should you go?
There might have been a time when people went to do business but I haven’t met anyone the past 6 years that have done deals at MWC. No, most people go to network and to watch the latest and greatest gadgets and technology. With over 60.000 people attending the chances are not fairly slim that you will stumble in to the people you really want to meet. Therefore you need to set your objectives, plan and prepare at least 2-4 weeks in advance when people start locking down their schedules. So prepare, prepare and prepare!
What can we expect 2013?
Last year was the year of LTE (4G) network announcements, Android tablets from 10+ manufacturers, Windows Phone 8, new devices by LG and Samsung, NFC and mobile payment partnerships, Ericsson and others talking about the Internet of things and of course all about APPS. This year we expect less new announcements as Samsung, Nokia, LG and others are following Apples and Google’s lead in creating their own launch events. Instead we think the emphasis will be for companies to show how they differentiate, what their plans are for cloud, enterprise mobility and big data and to show off some of the technology that most of us don’t get to see otherwise.
What you shouldn’t miss?
Here are a few of the things we would recommend that you don’t miss
- Check out Google’s Glass (previously confused with Goggles) if you get a chance
- Try out the latest Blackberry OS10 devices
- Play with some Windows Phone 8 devices and Microsoft Surface if you haven’t already (you will be positively surprised)
- See all the new low-end smartphone and tablet devices from Huawei and ZTE that will help revolutionise mobile in developing countries
- Have a look at some of the innovative start-ups (less expected this year but still fun)
- Follow the trend of tablets and laptops converging
- Experience some of the non-payment related utilisations of NFC
Other than this key topics will be:
- How operators can continue invest in network capacity to support all new devices when margins are being squeezed
- The future role of the operator (bit pipe or service provider)
- Big data trends
- Lots of and lots of new cloud announcements (everything is a cloud nowadays)
What are the best parties at MWC?
Finally we get to the most commonly asked question of them all. What parties should I got to? Firstly most of the best parties are by invitation only and the answer to the question really depends on what you are looking for. Great people to network with? A fantastic venue? The best ratio between men and women (won’t be very good anywhere)? Free drinks and food? Your favorite music.
There are over 400 parties going on during the 4 day event. Among the early staring parties that are open to everyone my personal favorites are Nordic Wireless party, WIP Party @ MWC, MEF Connects MWC, Mobile Marketing Mixer, Mobile Sunday (organised by Mobile Monday) and MLove @ MWC. For a more detailed list of some of the free parties visit http://socializemobilize.com/2013/02/12/mobile-world-congress-2013-networking-events-parties-list/. The best parties however are those organised for private guests by Samsung, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Etisalat and a few other cash rich and big spenders. And if you want a genuine local Barcelona party experience then come and hang out with DMI.
We will post an up to date list of all the parties during the next week or so.