Highlights from Mobile World Congress 2017: Another record-breaking year

The 2017 edition of Mobile World Congress was once again a resounding success, attracting a record 108,000 visitors from 208 countries and territories worldwide. The event hosted more than 2,300 exhibitors featuring some of the most high-profile names in the mobile industry and beyond, as well as a record number of delegations to the Ministerial Programme. Furthermore, the event was mentioned on social media more than a million times, with close to half a million photos and videos tagged with #MWC17 in the week of Congress alone. For a full overview read the official press release here.

The GSMA programmes all showcased their influence and impact on the mobile industry through a series of seminars and events, as well as engaging demos that were a significant feature at the GSMA Innovation City.

Connected Living

The Internet of Things is consistently one of the most anticipated topics at Mobile World Congress and, with the commercial launch of Mobile IoT (licensed spectrum low power wide area solutions) beginning as early as Q1 2017, it formed one of the centrepieces of this year’s event.

Inside the GSMA Innovation City, attendees were given a glimpse of Mobile IoT’s many applications such as smart utilities, next-generation tools, freight tracking and marine wildlife monitoring – the latter tipped to enable the ‘Internet of the Seas’.

The commercial opportunities of this new family of network technologies were debated at the GSMA Global Mobile IoT Summit on the Sunday prior to Mobile World Congress and through a series of seminars throughout the week. Overall, the event saw a deepening of ties between operators and the wider IoT industry, and the showcasing of an array of smart city solutions, many of which are already rapidly evolving our cities in innovative ways.

Network 2020

The upgrade from SMS to Rich Communications Services, compared to the jump from black-and-white television to colour by one attendee, was one of the big topics at this year’s event.

Based on the GSMA’s Universal Profile for Advanced Messaging, Britain’s most successful train company, Virgin Trains, and Walgreens, the largest commercial pharmacy company in the western world, showcased how they are harnessing this new mobile technology in a number of interactive demonstrations at the GSMA Innovation City.

The Network 2020 showcase also revealed how network advances are crucial in the formation of public services and smart cities. For example, JCDecaux’s connected bus shelter gave visitors a glimpse of how LTE broadcast technology is being used to create a new generation of smart street furniture, using sensors and user data to display relevant and critical information. Furthermore, Jaguar showcased their F-Pace SUV at the GSMA Innovation City highlighting the use of 5G’s high speeds and ‘network slicing’ to perform different functions such as telematics, remote diagnostics and infotainment.

5G was one of the most widely discussed topics at Mobile World Congress 2017 and panellists at the Network 2020 seminar debated the need for investment in 5G networks. The GSMA also released, The 5G Era: Age of boundless connectivity and intelligent automation report, outlining why global cooperation is needed before 5G can deliver its immense benefits by digitising economies and societies.

Personal Data

Increasingly characterised as a key element of next-generation services, digital identity touched almost every element of this year’s event. Mobile Connect and the degree to which it can address the growing demand for a secure and convenient solution was central to the discussion. The industry seminar also explored Mobile Connect’s suitability for use with emerging technologies such as biometrics and blockchain.

A diverse range of live demonstrations of Mobile Connect included a biometric airline check-in, a connected vending machine which used the solution to authorise purchases, and the British Government’s Gov.uk/Digidentity solution that allows citizens to verify their identity in order to check their pension account details.

The Mobile Connect seminar on combatting fraud and protecting brands highlighted how Mobile Connect is helping to restore trust between buyers and sellers at a time when digital services are reducing face-to-face transactions as a result of the ever-evolving digital world. Now available to over 3 billion people in 29 countries and supported by 51 of the world’s leading operators, Mobile Connect can be leveraged to provide high-grade security and an enhanced customer experience across a multitude of verticals and use cases.

Mobile for Development

In his opening keynote, GSMA Director General Mats Granryd talked about how the mobile industry is uniquely placed to address all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This set the scene for a focus on how mobile technology can achieve social good, particularly in emerging markets, throughout Mobile for Development’s busy schedule of seminars, roundtables and report launches, including the most recent Mobile Money State of the Industry report, Innovation Fund and the first Humanitarian Connectivity Charter Annual report.

The two Mobile for Development seminars looked at solutions to product-level challenges in developing markets, and explored how operators and start-ups can work together to innovate and achieve scale. At the GSMA Innovation City, the Mobile for Development Rural Village showcased how mobile technology is transforming the lives of farmers and rural communities, engaging visitors to interact with a range of products and services, from weather forecasting and smart irrigation, to solar energy and cooking gas.

Mobile Congress 2017 was another tremendously successful show and the GSMA programmes highlighted their innovations and thought leadership within the mobile industry. We would like to thank everyone that participated in the event and we look forward to returning next year with an even more exciting Mobile World Congress.

Mobile World Congress 2018 will be held in the Mobile World Capital Barcelona from 26 February to 1 March, 2018. Mark your calendars and stay up to date with the latest news and developments surrounding Mobile World Congress 2018 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Snapchat.