How to Plan for MWC 2024

It’s that time of year again, when we're all planning our next trip to beautiful Barcelona. For the European tech industry, perhaps no event is bigger than MWC. In case you’re also heading there the last week of February, I thought I’d reach out to see if you wanted to catch up on site or nearby — connect to schedule a coffee catch up. I also wanted to share some highlights that I’m looking forward to, after attending 18 of these!

What to Look for At MWC 2024

They may have changed their name, but MWC still really focuses on the power of mobile. This year, with Europe already leading the world in 5G adoption, it’s time to start learning all about 6G, which promises to be an astonishing 100 times faster, with increased reliability and network coverage. This isn’t about streaming faster, this is about delivering on the promise of AI and maybe even one day soon holding hologram meetings like in Star Trek. 

As the 2030 UN sustainability goals get closer and closer — and with Europe at the forefront of both carbon footprint reduction and measurement — there’s no doubt there will be continued focus on how to make the telecommunications industry greener and fast. 

After about a decade talking about Big Data, this year you’ll hear a lot about Small Data. This is because the combination of AI sensors and edge computing means that we have more of an opportunity than ever to embrace both personalization at the individual level, as well as a rapid growth in the digitalization of the manufacturing sector and the broader adoption of quantum computing — all these topics will be both on MWC’s stages and vast exhibitor floor. 

No tech event could be complete without a consideration of 2023’s hottest topic — generative AI. I’m happy to see that GSMA — the organizers of MWC — seem to be taking a practical approach to the consideration of GenAI, like how we can use it today for business process automation and to help enterprises finally complete their migration to the cloud. Of course, there will be plenty to discuss with the data management of it all.

And don’t forget to check out 4YFN in Hall 8. It really shows off and celebrates tech startups and founders that have the potential to become unicorns by 2028. It’s a great fringe event buzzing with energy.

The European Telecommunications Industry in 2024

MWC sets the tone for telcos and the many businesses built to support them for the year. So I thought I’d give you a preview of what I’m seeing in the European telecommunications Industry in 2024.

In 2024, we anticipate significant advancements aimed at streamlining digital telco operations across Europe. You can expect a focus on technologies facilitating enhanced efficiency, such as no/low code software development and generative AI, which will be leveraged across a spectrum of novel applications and scenarios. 

Of course, the theme of greener practices have continued into 2024. We already know that sustainability is a huge focus for much of the European tech industry, so it's no surprise that telecom operators across the continent are actively implementing measures to decrease their carbon emissions across various aspects of their networks and operations, and promoting responsible recycling and disposal of electronic waste. There’s no doubt this focus will continue through 2024 and you can expect to hear all about it at MWC.

It looks as though the European telecoms industry will undergo further digital transformation throughout, with automation, robotics, and advanced analytics driving operational efficiency, cost savings, and improved customer experiences. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also be increasingly integrated into telecom networks and services, enhancing network management, predictive maintenance, customer service, and personalized experiences for users.

Unfortunately though, European telecommunications operators are confronted with a pivotal growth obstacle this year. The knock on effects of COVID19, inflation and the Ukraine war mean that they are under increased pressure. Expenses related to wages, energy, network equipment, and borrowing are also all experiencing an upward trend. Strategically delayering their businesses to prioritize addressing this challenge could emerge as the most efficacious approach.

Despite this, innovations are set to redefine the landscape of telecommunications, paving the way for faster, more seamless processes that I hope meet the demands of an ever-evolving digital era and extend well into the future.

Top Tips for Making the Most of MWC

There’s no doubt the jam-packed FIRA can be overwhelming. Just want to set you up for success for a final list of tips to make MWC a great experience that helps you grow your tech company and level up your connected knowledge:

  • Schedule as many meetings ahead, but wait til you get there to confirm where. On your first day (or better Day Zero when you pick up your badge), take a walk around FIRA to get your bearings and to decide a good meeting point.
  • Take advantage of the gorgeous Barcelona weather and the nice sponsored areas outside. 
  • Remember the basics. Bring a bottle of water. There will be fill up stations throughout. Bring energizing snacks. Wear comfortable shoes — it isn’t unusual to see folks in suits with sneakers.
  • Check your FOMO. I cannot stress, FIRA can be a lot. The talks will be recorded, so focus on networking as much as you can — hopefully again taking advantage of those lovely outdoor meeting areas. 
  • Be sure to utilize the MWC24 app, which offers matchmaking opportunities with like-minded tech leaders and investors. And of course, the app can be used for browsing the agenda, searching for exhibitors, or to see the speaker line-up.
  • On that note, calendar reminders are your friend. Don't get caught out and miss any key talks or networking opportunities! Put everything you must do or see in your calendar at the start of the event, and then let yourself relax.
  • Utilize your LinkedIn - MWC is networking heaven, but it's unlikely you’ll remember everyone you meet (if you do - well done!), so ensure you use your LinkedIn when you meet new faces, and be sure to catch up with them after the event.
  • Going for working lunches or group dinners? Book ahead! Barcelona’s restaurant scene is busy and vibrant, so you don’t want to miss out if you’re heading out with a bigger group.

I hope to see you in Barcelona at the end of the month. Just fill out our Contact Us form so we can book in a coffee. 

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