OV at global tech events – MWC Barcelona, March 2022

MWC Barcelona was back this year, and we took a front row seat

There’s plenty of choice around the world for those wanting to see the latest and greatest in tech up-close, but few quite capture the future like Mobile World Congress (MWC).

So, each year we look forward to meeting with like-minded leaders, taking stock of where the world of mobile is, where it’s heading, and how we’re going to get there. This year, the theme of the event was ‘Connectivity Unleashed.’

Innovation was in abundance

We’ll start by delving into the sights, because there was a lot to see. Thanks to new-found use-cases made possible by 5G, there was an influx of creative IoT devices ready to welcome those who made the event in person. From futuristic 4D metaverse experiences (SK telecom), and wearable tech, to affordable, durable solutions for front-line industries – innovation was found at every turn. Countless stands highlighted innovative ideas about how 5G is set to transform the way we do everything. And because we’re big on revolutionary thinking, we relished it all. Find out more about how OV supports IoT connectivity.

It was fascinating to see how 5G is leading the charge for innovation. However, it also serves as an unsettling reminder that many remain unconnected. With 62.5% of the world using the internet, and 15% with 5G (GMSA figures), there’s still a long way for providers to go to ensure accessible connectivity for all. This is why we believe a network-agnostic approach to mobile connectivity is key, offering users maximum choice and versatility.

Powerful words and inspirational insight

After a look back at how tech helped us stay connected throughout the pandemic, sights were quickly set on the future. But behind it all, there was an emphasis on the ‘why.’ As sustainability and efficiency become increasingly important, each generation of modern technology is being carefully designed with a clear focus on creating value.

Throughout the event we heard from experts covering an array of industry verticals. In manufacturing, Telefonica led the way with real-world applications of AI, 5G, Digital Twin technology and more. In healthcare, Garmin explained how remote monitoring with IoT devices can provide preventative care. For government, public cloud delivers huge opportunities across cost, efficiency and scalability. You can find more real-world applications of IoT here.

In each use-case, it was becoming clear that the speed and low latency benefits of 5G have the power to enable technology-led mission-critical activity, and this allows industry professionals to use their skills more efficiently. We are a partner OV choice in these settings, providing multiple networks in our ecosystem, connecting everyone to the strongest available signal, and further reducing the risk of downtime.

Barcelona’s worst-kept secrets

We were expecting huge developments in the eSIM market at MWC Barcelona. However, these were somewhat overshadowed by the possibilities of 5G, the metaverse and further exciting developments. However, an interesting discussion hosted by GSMA gave some insight into this emerging facilitator of connectivity. The industry is hailed as a game-changing, promising market with huge plans to accelerate over the next three years. In addition, the eventual move to eSIM-only smartphones will supercharge adoption. By the end of day four, eSIM was labelled as a technology to watch.

With recent announcements on the sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks, we were also expecting more discussion about how this will affect consumers and industries. Instead, there was a stronger focus on 6G. In one keynote, experts from NokiaBarkhausen Institut, and NGMN Alliance gave a three-fold approach to the upcoming network from the perspective of vendors, operators, and academics. With much to learn about 6G, discussions were focused around whether it will be more evolutionary or revolutionary. The answer? Still unclear.

Until next year

Overall, MWC was an enormous success, and we were delighted that we had the chance to attend in person. The pandemic has amplified technology adoption, bringing exciting new possibilities and investment to the sector, all of which has made the event bigger and better than ever before. We’ll certainly be back next year. In the meantime, keep an eye out as we blog at similar tech events to further enrich our understanding of the ever-evolving mobile sector and its impact on how we live, work and learn.