‘Re-convening is a must so, adapting is paramount,’ says GSMA CEO
With this year’s Mobile World Congress Barcelona less than two weeks away, the GSMA is releasing additional details on how it is supporting virtual participation in the event. GSMA said that it expects one-third of participants to be virtual, and that it is aiming to attract 35,000 in-person attendees to the Fira Gran Via. That attendance figure is significantly scaled down from the usual 100,000+ people who come from all over the globe, but still a massive event in the time of Covid-19, which last year forced the cancellation of the event altogether.
Microsoft Teams is the official video conference and meeting partner for MWC21, and Teams has been integrated into the digital event platform, MyMWC.
The GSMA said that the event “heralds a new era of connectivity and collaboration for the mobile ecosystem” and will build on lessons learned from its hosting of MWC Shanghai earlier this year. The GSMA pulled off a large in-person event at MWC Shanghai in February, reporting about 25,000 in-person attendees from 114 countries — but that figure was dwarfed by the amount of virtual participation, with another 175,000 people viewing conference content online.
Many of MWC Barcelona’s usual big names — Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle, Sony, Facebook and others — have bowed out of participation this year, or have opted to have an online-only presence due to ongoing safety concerns.
Online attendees at MWC21 will be able to watch sessions on-demand, join live-streamed exhibition tours and ask questions via live chat, GSMA said. There will be virtual specialist networking workshops with specific topic areas, curated by an expert and designed to encourage debate on critical issues while allowing attendees to connect.” The MyMWC app will recommend personalized meeting and contact recommendations for networking, according to GSMA, and the event’s Partner Program with thought leaders from a variety of companies will also have virtual and hybrid events.
“For the first time, brand new hybrid event features will allow attendees and their organizations to create a bespoke experience for MWC Barcelona, embodying the theme of this year’s event, Connected Impact,” said John Hoffman, CEO of the GSMA. “Given global circumstances, our planning emphasis has been on health and safety for those who can be in Barcelona and experience for those who must attend online. Re-convening is a must so, adapting is paramount. Taking learnings from our hybrid event in Shanghai has been instrumental in helping the team shape the experience for MWC21.”
GSMA is rebuilding its MWC events roster after being forced to cancel the events in 2020 due to the pandemic. The organization reportedly earns about 80% of its annual revenue from MWC Barcelona and implemented significant staff cuts last year in the wake of the cancellations.
Last week, GSMA announced that it will be hosting MWC Los Angeles in-person October 26-28, with Hoffman saying that its focus “will be delivering an unprecedented, attention-grabbing display of next-level innovation, emerging technology and, ground-breaking products and services.”
MWC Barcelona will take place from June 28-July 1. More information and registration at mwcbarcelona.com.
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