From PDAs to Payments: The changing face of MWC

It’s that time of year again when planning for the annual pilgrimage to Barcelona for MWC begins. The showcase for the mobile industry has undergone a number of changes over the years. Since its inception the show has moved from Cannes to Barcelona, changed its name and more recently changed venue from the disparate Fira de Barcelona to the gigantic Gran Via Fira. However, most people will admit to missing the chaotic sprawl of Fira de Barcelona and the backdrop it provided. The avenue, the fountains and the Palace of Montjuic have been replaced by a taxi rank, several non-descript hotels and a shopping centre.

Different venues aside, the show itself has changed dramatically over the years to reflect industry trends. The rate of change in the industry has accelerated from the late noughties onwards at a terrific pace. Significant and powerful brands have fallen by the wayside, victims of aggressive takeovers or simple neglect, replaced by bolder and more forward thinking companies.

MWC’s emphasis has shifted from the mobile carriers that dominated the show in the past, to a diverse range of brands and sectors. You’re just as likely to find a financial services or an automotive brand exhibiting at the show these days as you would an operator or OEM.

However, despite the fact mobile services have evolved and become the domain of brands like Spotify (music), Netflix (TV and Movie content) the operators are still the enablers, providing access and service delivery, actively supported by vendors. These companies are no less important than they were 10-15 years ago, but the emphasis has clearly shifted towards brands such as Samsung, VISA and Facebook.

The headlines would suggest that the attention of the media at MWC is now firmly fixed on this new breed of mobile service provider at the expense of OEMs and infrastructure vendors, but in fact down on the exhibition floor important conversations about networks, connectivity and mission critical systems continue. Mobile payments, video streaming and social media are all dependent on the reliability and sustainability of mobile network infrastructure to process and deliver content and services to our devices.

Babel PR is holding a debate that will look at how the industry has changed dramatically over the years, through the prism of MWC. The panel will include a mixture of trade and national press, and an industry analyst. During the session the discussion will cover how companies can remain relevant and refine their messaging to fit with the media agenda at MWC. We will also be opening the floor to a Q&A with the panel. Please join us for what promises to be a lively debate.

To find out more about the event and how to register, please visit our events page.

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