06 July 2021

Mobile World Congress : a review of the highlights

The hybrid edition of the 2021 Mobile World Congress has just come to an end. Both physically and virtually, telecom players around the world shared their visions of a connected world ready to meet post-crisis challenges. Here is a look back at the highlights.

 

Since its inception in 1987 by the GSMA , the Mobile World Congress has been the premier annual event for our industry. Telecom operators, digital players, start-ups, high-tech manufacturers and software publishers come together to present their latest innovations. Canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, exhibitors and visitors came back together from 28 June to 1 July this year to celebrate the MWC’s comeback, both physically on the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona or virtually on the show’s online platform.

 

A vision of Connected Impact

MWC 2021 was based around the theme “Connected Impact” and invited major industry players to explore how 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data will transform our lives in a more connected world. On stage or joining remotely, leaders from IBM, Accenture, Amazon Web Services, ZTE, SpaceX and Kaspersky shared their vision of the future and took part in debates on the challenges facing our industry.  

During the opening keynote, Stéphane Richard, CEO and Chairman of the Orange Group and President of the GSMA, emphasized the central role that telecoms must play in preparing for recovery.   

“Our industry will continue to play a central role to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges facing us in the coming years. Half of the world’s population is not able to benefit from the digital revolution. Trust in digital technology must be strengthened. And even more importantly, we must accentuate the positive impact on the environmental transition. Now more than ever, it’s not the technology but what we do with it.” – Stéphane Richard.

 

The main innovations announced at MWC

Once again this year, the MWC was an opportunity to discover some remarkable innovations. In terms of 5G mobile devices, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888+ 5G created a buzz with its computing capacity of 32 trillion operations per second. Samsung unveiled the interface for its upcoming smartwatch, the One UI Watch. TCL presented innovative connected glasses, the NxtTWear G, capable of simulating a 140-inch virtual screen projected 4 meters from the user. In terms of industrial robotics, Verizon demonstrated two 5G robots on the main stage.

As partners of the 2021 MWC, Orange was present both virtually and physically at the show, taking part in around thirty conferences, notably on the future uses of mobile technologies (Michaël Trabbia, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer), the hyper-connectivity of companies (Helmut Reisinger, CEO Orange Business Services) and the development of Orange 5G in Spain (Diego Martinez, Vice-President Consumer Business Unit, Orange Spain).

 

On our Orange stand, visitors discovered our latest innovations in networks, cybersecurity, sustainable technologies and enhanced services. Our 5G Immersive Lab experience demonstrated 5G uses in an interactive way. For example, we showed how Tik Tak, Orange Bank Africa’s new microcredit service, is democratizing access to financial services in Côte d'Ivoire. We demonstrated a new game developed in partnership with Niantic that delivers a unique multi-player augmented reality experience. And in Industry 4.0, we demonstrated an “augmented” operator that enables a digital twin to be manipulated in real time in a factory setting.
 

In all of these strategic areas in line with our Engage 2025 business plan , the MWC was the opportunity to show and share the latest high-potential technology through demos, conferences and discussions between experts.