GSMA unveils new keynote speakers and features for MWC Barcelona 2024

Speakers include leaders from Accenture, Dell Technologies, Microsoft and the United Nations; as well as Nobel Prize laureate, Sir Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselo

25 January 2024, Barcelona:The GSMA held its MWC preview press conference today, revealing new keynote speakers, participants and features for MWC Barcelona 2024 taking place at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, between 26-29 February.  

This year’s event theme is Future First, working towards solving the challenges of today and tomorrow. Future First is supported by the MWC agenda and shaped by six sub-themes which reflect the latest trends and technologies including 5G and Beyond, Connecting Everything, Humanising AI, Manufacturing DX, Game Changers and Our Digital DNA.

Hosted by the GSMA’s Director General, Mats Granryd, and Chief Marketing Officer, Lara Dewar, the press conference revealed the Barça Women’s striker and Women’s African Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, as the new ambassador for the Breaking Barriers campaign. Oshoala will use her platform as a footballer – and the profile of the Asisat Oshoala Academy – to raise awareness of the challenges that contribute to the Usage Gap, such as handset affordability, literacy and digital skills.

In addition, two new speakers will be joining the distinguished line-up of connectivity leaders announced earlier this year, including Carmen Artigas, Co-chair of the UN’s AI Advisory Board and Sir Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselo, Professor at the National University of Singapore and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said, “This year’s edition of MWC Barcelona will mark 18 years that we’ve been bringing our flagship event to the city of Barcelona, and we are grateful for our unique public-private partnership built on innovation, collaboration and mutual success. MWC is a unifying force that emphasises how mobile technology transcends political, geographical, and cultural boundaries, and we cannot wait to kick off this gathering of the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial minds next month.”

“I’m as excited about this edition of MWC as I was my first show in Barcelona in 2006,” says GSMA Ltd. CEO, John Hoffman. “As ever, we’re coming back bigger and better with a great roster of speakers, exhibitors and programmes that talk to the whole mobile ecosystem, from industry innovators to policymakers. We’re excited to work with our host city parties to deliver the world’s greatest technology event, supported by some of the world’s biggest technology brands. I’m very much looking forward to experiencing the buzz of halls and seeing Barcelona shine in February.”   

Lara Dewar, Chief Marketing Office of the GSMA, said,“MWC is no longer mobile first, or digital first, we are Future First – and the event brings industries, technologies and communities together, to realise the future’s potential for the sustainability of our society and planet. At MWC Barcelona, you will have the opportunity to engage with the leaders of the moment and participate in the debates of the year, while experiencing the technology of tomorrow.”

Celebrating the 10th edition of 4YFN

4YFN, the start-up and innovation platform at MWC Barcelona, celebrates its 10th edition at this year’s show. Over the past decade, the start-up event has welcomed over 4,200 exhibitors, and connected over 9,200 founders with 5,200 investors looking to find the most promising digital start-ups. To mark its 10th anniversary edition, 4YFN will fill Hall 8 and feature four stages that will host the 4YFN Awards, on-stage pitching competitions and keynotes from some of the biggest names in the global start-up space. Recently confirmed speakers include Sara Bisbe, Co-founder and Chief AI Tech Officer at Aily Labs, and Chema Alonso, Chief Digital Officer at Telefónica.

4YFN will also feature partner programmes from Amazon, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, ESADE, GSK and the Institute for Information Industry.

Beyond Mobile – showcasing vertical innovations and driving policy debate

The GSMA confirmed the return of Journey to the Future and Sports Tomorrow Congress, both located in Hall 6, Connected Industries in Hall 4, and the invitation-only GSMA Ministerial Programme.

Journey to the Future is the high-tech space at MWC Barcelona, where attendees can discover and interact with the technologies changing the face of six sectors – Health, AI, Mobility, Sustainability, Accessibility and Retail.

Also announced was participation from the Emirates Team New Zealand, winners of the 36th America’s Cup, as part of the Sustainability track at Journey to the Future. Attendees will have the opportunity to see their groundbreaking, hydrogen-powered chase boat, and discover how innovations in hydrofoil technology are unlocking new possibilities in clean technology – ahead of the 37th America’s Cup coming to Barcelona in August later this year.

Sports Tomorrow Congress is presented by the Barça Innovation Hub and provides attendees with a unique experience into how mobile technology is transforming sports. The congress is built upon decades of knowledge from FC Barcelona on topics such as health, nutrition, high athletic performance, the digital sphere, and the sports industry’s impact on society.

Connected Industries is dedicated to showcasing the vertical innovations unfolding in industries adjacent to mobile. Split into four Summits, it will highlight how connected technologies are changing the face of Manufacturing, Smart Mobility, FinTech & Mobile Commerce, and Entertainment. Connected Industries will host speakers exploring topics such as connected vehicles, Industry 4.0, the fraud landscape, and the role of technology in improving fan and guest experiences.

The GSMA Ministerial Programme is the world’s largest gathering of policymakers and industry leaders that enable the digital economy. The Programme provides a forum where ministers, heads of regulatory authorities and policymakers, and mobile industry CEOs and representatives of international organisations, can share knowledge and evolve policy and regulatory issues. Priority topics for this year’s agenda include network investment, spectrum availability and the Usage Gap.

Cultural experiences on MWC Barcelona’s doorstep

The GSMA also confirmed the return of several food, networking and entertainment spaces, providing attendees with authentic food, cultural and entertainment experiences. Beat Barcelona, located on the outdoor terrace by Hall 8, offers a relaxed networking space with culinary experiences and live concerts on each day of the show.

The Meet & Eat space, created in partnership with L’Hospitalet City Council, also returns for its 9th year. Located a short walk from the MWC South Entrance, it welcomes local chefs and artists for attendees to enjoy, right on the doorstep of MWC Barcelona. 

For 10 years, MWC has been certified carbon neutral and recognized by the Guinness World Records as ‘The World´s Largest Carbon Neutral Trade Show’. 

The press conference is available to watch on-demand here. Find out more information on our Press Zone and, if you haven’t already, register for your place to attend MWC Barcelona here.

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About GSMA

The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.

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