It’s February, which means the tech world will soon be descending, once again, on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC). Kicking off on February 26 and running through March 1, MWC is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry and the place where many companies announce their most important mobile products of the year. With over 100,000 attendees and 2,300 exhibitors, just choosing what to see and do is no easy task. Rakuten.Today is looking forward to being on the ground and, as we were doing our homework for the trip, we decided to put together some recommendations on how to make the most of the event and the beautiful city of Barcelona:
1. Rakuten’s Mickey Mikitani on “Mobile Ecosystems: The New Generation”
We expect to hear from great speakers from around the globe at MWC, but our top content recommendation is the “Foundations of the Digital Economy” keynote session slated to kick-off Day 2 of the Congress. The session will feature Rakuten founder and CEO Mickey Mikitani, as well as the CEOs of Ericsson, Red Hat and McAfee. Each of the speakers comes from a very different perspective on the chosen topic, with Mickey planning to speak about the strengths of ecosystems that have grown up around e-commerce and fintech. The session is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 09:00-10:30 CET at Hall 4, Auditorium 1, with Mickey planning to take to the stage from 10:00.
2. Futbol fever at Camp Nou
Chances are you won’t make it out of Barcelona Airport without seeing a picture of Leo Messi and his FC Barcelona (FCB) teammates in their famous garnet and blue “blaugrana” uniforms. Soccer is an essential part of city life, with FCB’s home field Camp Nou at its heart, the largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of nearly 100,000. At Camp Nou, visitors can experience stadium tours and gain an understanding of the club’s history, values and philosophy – all unique aspects of the club that inspired the partnership between the club and Rakuten.
3. Pick your pavilion
The scale of MWC is mind-blowing – and it simply isn’t possible to see everything, so you need to prioritize the pavilions most important to you. At Rakuten.Today, we love bleeding-edge tech, which means we’ll plan to stop by NEXTech Hall 8.0 to check out all the hot new innovations in VR/AR, robotics, drones and artificial intelligence. The Graphene Pavilion and its eponymous tech is also looking like a place to be, with interactive demonstrations showing what this novel material can do in the fields of Sensors and IoT, Wearables and Health, Datacom and Energy.
4. The Glomo Awards
It’s awards season and we can’t wait to see who will take home the coveted Glomo Awards this year. Glomo is short for Global Mobile Awards and they recognize and celebrate those who move the mobile industry forward. Sometimes called the “Oscars of the mobile industry,” the Glomos will be awarded on February 26 and 27 in Hall 4 before the final award for Best New Connected Mobile Device @ MWC 2018 is announced on March 1.
5. Say hello to Barcelona (before you say goodbye)
You probably won’t have time to get out of the eight venues that make up MWC, but if you do, here are some quick ways to discover Barcelona – one of the world’s most spectacular cities.
Barcelona is a city of markets, music, architecture, and of course football, and we think no visit to Barca is complete without a little bit of each. Start at Park Guell, which offers a great view of the city and is a fitting introduction to the works of one of Barcelona’s favorite sons, Antoni Gaudi. The architect produced many of the city’s most famous buildings, including his masterwork, the Sagrada Familia basilica.
Once you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, Mercado de la Boqueria should be your next destination. It’s the largest food market in Europe and offers a veritable cornucopia of choices, sure to satisfy.
You never know what will be announced at MWC, but one thing we do know is that the Congress and its host city never disappoint.
For more coverage of Mobile World Congress 2018, see here.