BARCELONA, SPAIN — The Mobile World Congress (MWC) opened its doors in the city of Barcelona on Monday following a ceremony attended by King Felipe VI of Spain.
The MWC has been held in Barcelona since 2006, growing in importance every year with the 2018 edition predicted to attract 108,000 visitors from over 200 different countries to see stands by 2,300 exhibitors
The 2018 MWC has as its motto “Creating a Better Future” to demonstrate its commitment to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the benefits offered by mobile technology, such as eradicating poverty, improving education and aiding gender equality are reflected in 17 personalities on display at the MWC.
As in 2017 the event will continue to focus on the latest developments in 5G networks and their implication for the Internet of Things, Smart Cities, Big Data, virtual and augmented reality, healthcare, drones, driverless cars and the rise of Artificial Intelligence, all of which will play an ever increasing role in everyday life.
The 2018 MWC is home to the Women4Tech section, which aims to close the gender gap in the world of technology. GSMA, the association which represents the interests of the mobile industry and organizes the WMC, has said that it hopes that this year women make up 25 percent of attendees, improving on the 18 percent in 2016 and 23 percent last year.
The 2018 MWC focuses on youth with the YoMo Festival (Youth Mobile Festival) which is aimed at adolescents and educators throughout Spain, while the 4 Years From Now zone looks to connect star-ups and entrepreneurs with potential investors.
Of course the MWC is also about mobile phones and devices and the Congress is a launch-pad for the world’s major telecommunications companies to present their new products and ideas.
Huawei is not launching a smartphone at this year’s MWC, but on Sunday presented its MateBook X Pro laptop, while ZTE presented the Blade V9 and the Blade V9 Vita smartphones.
Aside from ZTE and Huawei, other major players such as Sony, Nokia, and LG will all present new devices in the coming days.