Mobile World Congress Wraps Up in Barcelona

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The Mobile World Congress (MWC) wrapped up in Barcelona this week, bringing an end to a conference that brought together 100,000 attendees from 204 countries. The conference also featured the participation of 2,200 companies exhibiting new products in areas such as virtual reality and 3D printing.

Among this year’s major technology themes were mobile health, NFC (near field communication), apps, green technology, IoT, and wearable products, each of which was given its own exhibition pavilion.

This year MWC also featured the GSMA Innovation City (pictured above), where mobile technology companies demonstrated how connected devices and services will be implemented in the future. Among the exhibitions was a demonstration of some of the ways airports will use mobile technologies in the coming years, including in virtual reality-enhanced duty free shopping malls, and to track luggage and merchandise throughout the world.

Innovation City on the Future

Also on display in the Innovation City was a demonstration of how farmers can use mobile technology to track their herds or keep tabs on the health and development of their crops. Cyclists, meanwhile, were treated to a glimpse of the future benefits of the connected bicycle.

The conference program featured 374 speakers, including those from consumer brands, mobile companies, mobile operators, and companies that are heavily impacted by mobile technology such as advertising, banking, health, entertainment, educations, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

The event also featured speakers from organizations not typically associated with mobile technology such as Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman and CEO Richard Fain, UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake, Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, and Ann Cairns, president of international markets for MasterCard.

Connected Women Program

The conference also sought to highlight recent innovations that aim to exert major influences in the next several years with its “4 Years From Now” exhibit, which brought together startups, investors, and business owners to network and share ideas for cutting edge technologies.

Another key event at this year’s MWC was the Connected Women program, which focuses on bringing more women into digital and mobile companies as leaders and employees. Connected Women also works to promote the use of mobile technologies to empower women in the digital and financial worlds. This year, more than 20 percent of MWC attendees were women, a first for the conference.

Meanwhile, more than 40 awards were given out in categories such as best mobile innovation for health, education, and automotive, best use of mobile for retail, brands, and commerce, and best use of mobile for travel, leisure, and hospitality. L’Oreal won the Best Mobile App for Social and Lifestyle for its Makeup Genius app, while Google won for best overall mobile app for its Cardboard virtual reality viewer.

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