Mobile World Congress registers a record 101,000 visitors and will stay in Barcelona until 2023
The 2016 edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) registered a record participation of 101,000 visitors, 6% more than last year’s edition. The 2,200 stands distributed across two different venues, L’Hospitalet Gran Via and Fira de Montjuic, constituted an exhibition of 110,000 square metres where the latest news in the mobile phone-related industry was unveiled. Presentations on virtual reality held the spotlight throughout the week, with newly unveiled gadgets and discussions on how virtual reality will change how we live and communicate.Despite the mobility problems, mainly derived from the metro strike which diluted the opening of Barcelona’s new L9 underground line, GSMA CEO John Hoffmann confirmed that the MWC will stay in Barcelona until 2023. The 2017 edition will take place from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March.
Barcelona (CNA).- The 11th edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) surpassed its record and registered 101,00 visitors, 6% more than last year’s edition. Barcelona’s community benefited greatly from the creation of over 13,000 part-time jobs, and close to €460 million in increased revenue The 2,200 stands distributed across two different venues, L’Hospitalet Gran Via and Fira de Montjuic, constituted an exhibition of 110,000 square metres where the latest news in the mobile phone-related industry was unveiled. Presentations on virtual reality held the spotlight throughout the week, with newly unveiled gadgets and discussions on how virtual reality will change how we live and communicate. Despite the mobility problems, mainly derived from the metro strike which diluted the opening of Barcelona’s new L9 underground line, GSMA CEO John Hoffmann confirmed that the MWC will stay in Barcelona until 2023, maintaining the city’s reputation as a mobile centre of Europe.
“The Mobile World Congress hit a significant milestone in 2016 as visitors to the event surpassed 100,000 for the first time” said Hoffman. He highlighted the “diverse range of events, spanning multiple sectors and interests” incorporated in this year’s edition which reflected “the expanding role of mobile around the world”. “We once again enjoyed a tremendously stimulating show, featuring a world-class speaker line-up and a range of cutting-edge product launches that will set the tone for the mobile industry for the remainder of the year and beyond” he stated in a communiqué.
Over half of those in attendance were C-level technology leaders, 5,000 of which were CEOs. As a result, the event generated close to €460 million in increased revenue and created over 13,000 part-time jobs. Throughout the week, newly unveiled virtual reality gadgets sparked audience interest and discussion from exhibitors on how VR technology will change the way we live and communicate in the years to come. As the event continues to grow every year, the record numbers and increased revenue only further secure Barcelona not only as the host of this event until 2023, but as a mobile epicentre of technology and innovation in Europe.
MWC will stay in Barcelona
Both Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, and GSMA’s CEO, John Hoffmann, have assured that the MWC will stay in the Catalan capital until 2023, as they agreed last year. Thus, the 2017 edition will take place from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March, maintaining the city’s reputation as a mobile centre of Europe.
However, the problems derived from the strike actions, which affected the new L9 metro line and other metro, bus and train services, were seen as a threat to the MWC’s continuity. Furthermore, Hoffmann’s absence on the first day of the congress, set off alarms. Nevertheless, the record figures confirm the continuing romance between the MWC and Barcelona.
Proof of the interest which MWC generates in other cities was given on Wednesday by the President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes. “I hope to see the congress in Madrid” she stated and assured that the transportation problems which affected the 2016 edition “wouldn’t have happened in Madrid”. A few hours later, the spokeswoman of Madrid’s City Hall, Rita Maestre, nuanced Cifuentes statement. “There are plenty of events, it wouldn’t make any sense to compete with Barcelona on this one” she stated and assured that she prefers “cooperation rather than competition”
Virtual reality is everything at MWC 2016
While metro routes were slowed, visitors made the most of the experience by checking out this year’s hottest tech trend: virtual reality. Several highlights of MWC 2016 focused on virtual reality. From new headsets unveiled by major tech companies like Samsung, LG, and HTC visitors got to experience VR technology for themselves. At the congress, visitors could board the Innovation City airliner only to then leap off a virtual ski lift. Several presentations had viewers pull on virtual reality goggles and headsets, while keynote speakers like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the potential for 360-degree video changing the way we communicate and share our world through social media.
Though some tech trends don’t catch on despite their hype at events like the MWC, tech analysts and professionals say VR is not something to ignore in the coming years.
MWC marked by a legacy of growth, innovation
While this year’s MWC was a milestone year in many regards, the event has continued to grow since its first edition in 2005. Since the inaugural year, discussions have shifted from the importance of WiFi connectivity to the possibility of 5G technology and an internet of not just one mobile device, but of all sorts of gadgets that can improve different industries and facets of our daily lives. Additionally, the MWC has generated new economic growth for Barcelona, creating thousands of new jobs and increased revenue every year.
Over the past ten years, by playing host to the MWC Barcelona has become widely recognised as a mobile centre of Europe, and continues to innovate as seen for example in the event being certified as carbon neutral in 2014. And, with the new L9 Sud metro line, despite the strike, Barcelona is now home to the longest automated metro line in Europe and a benchmark in transportation technology.