We’ll be adding daily recaps throughout the week, so please check back for updates from MWC. 

Day 1

Added June 28, 2021

Spain’s King Felipe V and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez were present today for the opening of the four-day Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, marking the opening of one of the first big technology conferences staged in Europe since the start of the pandemic. Today technology companies were busy announcing and demonstrating some of the latest advancements in their technology solutions and products. Worthy of note today were IBM and Telefónica Tech´s hybrid cloud business solutions based on artificial intelligence and blockchain, helping companies push their digital transformation through these two technologies. Covid19 pandemic rapidly accelerated digital transformation and these tow companies today showcased a Virtual Assistant with Artificial Intelligence that can streamline customer service services for companies and public entities allowing companies to now have 24×7 customer service. For companies operating more call centres and ecommerce helpdesks than before due to Covid19 pandemic, this solution received much interest.

5G technology today also took centre stage at MWC2021, as predicted, with companies like Orange showcasing an impressive 3D simulated reality experience that advances the future of communications by taking full advantage of fiber optic capacity. The operator carried out different demonstrations at its stand at the Mobile World Congress during which it shared two use cases of 5G technology in Spain. Similarly, Huawei launched a series of 5G products and solutions oriented towards promoting multi-antenna technology to all bands and all scenarios to build leading 5G networks.

Other companies like Lenovo used the timing of MWC2021 to introduce new tablets and a smart watch, designed to enhance the mobile experiences expected of today’s “hybrid lifestyle.” The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 tablet stands out, it´s a premium device that is practically a portable home-cinema, designed for entertainment that works almost anywhere, on a kitchen table, held in the hand or hanging from a hook for pans, thanks to its stainless-steel foot. It features an anti-fingerprint coating, facilitates hands-free viewing in any room, and has an 8MP front camera, which facilitates excellent video calls with reduced background noise.

Off to a flying start, we can expect many more announcements in the next few days and evenings from MW2021. As this is a hybrid event with a mixture of physical and virtual presence by technology companies, some companies are yet to announce their latest developments. An anticipated one is that of Samsung´s virtual event this evening at 19:15 pm local Spanish time. The South Korean tech giant has teased the launch of new devices at the event. The company is speculated to launch a new smartwatch, among other things. While Samsung usually holds standalone Galaxy Unpacked events for its flagship models, like the foldable phones and the Galaxy S series, it will offer a glimpse at the upcoming models during the virtual event. So in summary, a strong start to the trade show today, with more news expected in the next few days. Watch this space!

Day 2

Updated June 29, 2021

Although today is the day when the conferences and debates are taking place with the most illustrious guests of the MWC in Barcelona, like Elon Musk for example, numerous product presentations took place in parallel. There were many announcements made today, but perhaps a few stand out. An interesting and simply cool one was the new the Nova H1 Audio Earrings unveiled at MWC 2021 which, for the moment, are the only pair of wireless earbuds embedded in a pearl and mounted on a gold / silver clip. They are also characterized by being the smallest headphones on the market, the value of the equipment is that they are outstanding and at the same time headphones. They seem outstanding, but you can listen to music and make calls with them. To achieve this, there is some very clever technology which the firm has patented Directional Sound technology. This technology sends music or voice from the earlobe directly to the ear canal, preventing the diffusion and loss of sound and allowing music and conversations to be kept in total privacy, but still fully aware of what is happening around you thanks to out-of-ear technology. Pretty neat!

Surprisingly, another interesting product launched today came from a media company. Media heavyweight ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) unveiled its first smartwatch, in partnership with TV company Nickelodeon, a move which the company believes strengthens its position across the connectivity ecosystem. The launch of NickWatch as its called has been made specifically for the youth market, offering a range of entertainment features which tap into the company’s wide portfolio of media assets.

When it comes to handsets Honor, the mobile phone brand, now independent from Huawei, announced the restoration of Google applications and services on its phones, and plans to use the firm’s software in its new series of smartphones, the Honor 50. Honor 50 Pro is characterized by its two front cameras: one 12 mpx providing a 100 degree angle and the other 32 mpx. It has a 6.72-inch screen, compared to the Honor 50’s 6.57-inch screen. Both have a 120Hz refresh rate. Both models use the 5G Qualcomm 778G chipset and offer 100W fast charging. So better cameras, faster charging, and bigger screens, most definitely the direction of smartphones.

Qualcomm today also launched its latest 5G processor: the Snapdragon 888+ 5G that among its most outstanding features will have a 3 Ghz clock speed, which means a significant increase of 5 percent compared to the 2.84 Ghz of the previous model. While in the artificial intelligence section, the Snapdragon 888+ 5G has an increase of 20 percent, being capable of performing up to 32 billion operations per second. But what does that mean in terms of user benefits? Well, it means the mobiles that integrate this processor will be able to capture videos in 4K using HDR, in addition to giving more fluidity and avoiding overheating when playing video games.  The most important value of this product is that it will help deliver the most significant performance and 5G speeds to users of all types of mobile phones.

Finally, as is very typical in trade shows of this magnitude we saw many industry collaborations announced. One which was notable was that of Ericsson and Google Cloud detailing plans to jointly develop and deliver edge cloud solutions for operators and enterprise customers, combining the vendor’s 5G portfolio with the US company’s cloud compute platform.

What was evident today at MWC2021 is that attendance in post pandemia times may not be at 2019 levels for sure, but most definitely MWC2021 is rife with new products, technology developments and industry announcements. Today was testimony of that. We look forward to see what day three of MWC2021 brings.

Day 3

Updated June 30, 2021

The businessman Elon Musk was interviewed at MWC2021 yesterday evening, and typical with Elon Musk, he has dominated the headlines. Undoubtedly, he has been the talk of attendees today, with international and Spanish media covering today´s pages with his speech.  His announcement that Starlink, the satellite internet service of his company SpaceX, is growing rapidly and that it will arrive in the world in August made a big impact. A question many delegates were asking is why he chose MWC2021 to give everyone this news, and with this year´s congress theme being “Connected Impact”, Mr. Musk is betting hard his satellite system will be a key enabler of the mobile ecosystem. His project sets out to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites delivering high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet. In essence, it´s about ensuring that the whole world has Internet access, as telecoms networks both 4G and 5G cannot reach every single remote geographic region. An ambitious programme for sure.

But “connected impact” is a very wide theme, so what else took place at MWC2021 today around this theme? Key highlights today have centered around physical demonstrations of how connectivity translates and what impact it can make – there you go, connected impact! Three examples that caught my attention include. Verizon unveiling of 5G-Connected Robots, performing tasks whilst completely controlled over 5G. TCL also rolled out NXTWEAR G, which is a wearable OLED cinema display that approximates a 140-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio to give you an unparalleled experience. Finally, this caught my attention. Kursat Ceylan, a Turkish inventor who was born blind, rolled out a ‘Smart cane’ at MWC 2021. The stick informs blind persons about the obstacles as well as nearby shops and restaurants they are passing by. It uses ultrasound to detect obstacles, can be paired with a smartphone and gives voice feedback to help keep the user safe and informed. Indeed, very clever application of mobile technology.

That was day three at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Day 4 – Final day

Updated July 1, 2021

Today was the last day of the Mobile World Congress 2021, and whilst no exact figures are available yet on attendance, it is fair to say that the trade show delivered an important set of company technology and product announcements and has had several rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi and Elon Musk lend their attendance and presence to the show. So too have the top telecom industry figures with Jose Maria Alvarez, Chairman & CEO of Telefónica; Yang Jie, Chairman of China Mobile; Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange Group and Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG all who attended. Few industry events can claim to bring such high calibre of individuals and unite them at a trade show, especially in Covid19 times.

So, this year what was the top take-away from the event? Undoubtedly, the industry realization and final acknowledgement that telcos have become technology companies, and that “mobile” doesn´t cut it anymore. All telecom companies, mobile operators, media companies, content producers, automotive manufacturers and the hundreds of start ups at the show in the 4YFN area are all pushing the boundaries of technology. Communications whilst important, seems to be less of a priority, it is now more than ever what the show called “Connected Impact”. Information and what we do with it to change and impact our work and personal lives in a constant drive for a better economy, society, and planet. These were the constant themes at this year´s show.

I suspect Mobile World Congress may in time not change its name or drop the word “mobile”, and I am also sure that next February the event will come back again in 2022.

MWC2021 was yet again a highlight in the technology calendar of the world.