MWC 2016: GSMA need to think how to reinvent MWC – The year of IoT and VR

One more year, one more MWC. If last year I wrote the post ” MWC 2015: Everything Connected, Tapas and Jamon“, and I argued as one the reasons to attend MWC was the fact it was celebrated in Barcelona, this year I will write about the reasons why the MWC, in their need to reinvent itself, should, among other things, seek another city.

As usual, GSMA Mobile World Congress announced record of attendees, but I believe “Not all that glitters is gold”.  You will read how fantastic was the event, how busy people was, how many meetings they have, how many deals closed or how many new business opportunities and partnership signed. But scraping a little, I believe that for many of the old protagonists this event does not justify the ROI and many executives considers the MWC is a waste of time since a couple of years ago. Another thing, is for small companies or independent consultants, and especially for the Spanish / Catalonian ones.

What should GSMA do to reinvent MWC? Some ideas below.

MWC need a new city  

MWC 2016 will be remembered for the transportation strike in Barcelona that the powerful GSMA has failed to stop.

Guilt is part of the GSMA, they are trusted that everything was the same. But Barcelona has a new government team excited but lacks political experience. And experience is vital to handle conflict situations such as year after year occurs in the MWC.

My perception this year was that many people coming to MWC in Barcelona for the umpteenth time, is tired of the same city. A new city, will certainly, will encourage them.

I do not want to enter in this post in polemics about the abuse of prices in hotels because the market is free, but I do not like it and I hope that the cities that bid for this event will control this issue. We all will appreciate it.

I know that if MWC moves to other city will be bad for my compatriots, the Spaniards and especially Catalans, but we are not dreamers and we must assume that GSMA has already been thinking about it.

Note: I disagree with the attempt of Madrid to replace Barcelona. Not fair. Barcelona is doing very well.

No repeat three times the same Rock Stars

GSMA should create its own Rock Stars, to invite third year in a row, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg year, is a mistake, especially when his company does not have a Super booth at the conference and is a “near enemy” for many players of the communication industry.

Invite, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, however, it was a good idea, but has not been strengthened with the multitude of exhibitors featuring products and services in the connected car. The Rock stars must not only go to the conference sessions, they should go to the pavilions and delight visitors of their presence. Not just to a few privileged.

Focus, Focus and No more parallel events in different locations

MWC 2016 is huge. Add many parallel events in the city make more complicate the agenda of the visitors. Keep focus on the communication industry, and do not try to cover everything her just to make sure every year there are more visitors and exhibitors. The limit is near.

I miss this year 4YFN  and IoTStarts, and I wonder why the IoT community need to concentrate these events during MWC ?. We have an IoT day April 9th, why do not move all these events to this day ?.

No more squeezing the goose that lays golden eggs

GSMA wants more and more. After Mobile World Congress in a few months we will have  Mobile World Congress Shanghai. I suspect some minds are thinking in organize more regional Congress (middle East, Americas,…).

This year many small / medium enterprises and startups have been grouped under Country Pavilions to attract the presence of visitors and compete the Global Tech Giants like Huawei or Ericsson. I see less presence of Asia vendors and reduced space in Middle East vendors.

Should MWC become an event that is celebrated every 2 or 4 years and create more Regional events ?.

Awards ceremony for all

You know my opinion about the awards: “The several faces in the IoT / M2M Awards”. Do not want to criticize GSMA Awards 2016. My congratulations to all winners and participants. However, as an industry veteran, I ´d like to vote. Regarding the ceremony, GSMA need to work with the industry to make a “show” broadcasted worldwide by TV channels and platforms like Netflix or Amazon.

IoT at MWC 2016

If the star of MWC 2105 was “The Internet of Things”, Virtual Reality has been the star of MWC 2016, because of the number of demonstrations, cameras filming at 360 degrees, special lenses and new services related to the VR. Take a look at Top 10 Trends at MWC16 .

Nevertheless one more year, the real Internet of Things (IoT) has been this year centre stage at Mobile World Congress. The shift was definitely from simply a consumer thing, with smart homes and connected cars taking the centre stage, to how industry could benefit from the Internet of Things. New to the 2016 Exhibition, MWC 2016 has included an IoT Pavilion. The Internet of Things was pervasive in almost every presentation and walking the floor you could tell that almost everyone wanted at least one gadget in the area.

As usual many post, articles generated before, during and after the congress. Here are a few related with IoT.

Summary

I cannot conclude that the MWC has lost its shine, since the numbers of visitors and exhibitors continues to grow year after year. And it is true that press reports are mostly positive. But the sensation and perception of veterans like me is that this Congress needs to reinvent itself to remain attractive especially to large companies who spend a fortune to come with hundreds of employees to Barcelona. Usurping space to other markets like IoT, automobile, manufacturing, … is not the solution.

GSMA is a powerful organization, and I am sure my suggestions to reinvent GSM are in the agenda. We need MWC, after all MWC is the best place to meet industry colleagues face to face.

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