10 Take Aways from Mobile World Congress 2024

21 / 03 / 2024

Worldline attended the Mobile World Congress 2024 and summarized the most interesting aspects of this global innovative technology event

8 min.

MWC 2024

Mobile World Congress 2024

This year, MWC24 (Mobile World Congress 2024) attracted from 26th February to 29th February over 101.000 attendees from 205 countries and more than 2.700 exhibitors in Barcelona. Over half of the attendees, 51%, were at director level and above and 59% of attendees represented "industries adjacent to the core mobile ecosystem”.

In this edition, the event has been dedicated to exploring the latest mobile technology innovations and trends around six main themes: 

  • 5G and beyond: How 5G is shaping the future.

5G's role in pushing AI-driven network evolution and user experience innovation, while also noting the industry's challenge of balancing rapid tech advances with the economics of investment returns in the era of 5G and beyond.

  • Connecting Everything: From connecting everyone to connecting everything.

By 2030, GSMA Intelligence forecasts 6.3 billion mobile users and 5 billion 5G connections, alongside a surge to over 15 billion IoT devices. This growth necessitates a collaborative effort to create open, seamless, sustainable, and secure networks, requiring synergy between cloud services, infrastructure providers, and satellite companies to meet future demands efficiently.

  • Humanising AI: Our future with artificial intelligence.

Generative AI offers practical benefits beyond the hype, optimizing network and cloud processes and fostering human-computer interactions for tailor-made customer experiences. Central to its efficacy is effective data management. This marks the beginning of a disruptive shift in technology.

  • Manufacturing DX: Digital transformation in Industry 4.0.

Manufacturers are heavily investing in digital strategies, with 5G poised to revolutionize the sector through smart factories and private networks. Emerging technologies are enhancing competitiveness by offering sustainable practices that boost efficiency and cut costs. With entities like the European Commission backing AI and robotics, the full potential of Industry 4.0 is within reach.

  • Game Changers: Planning ahead for the future

Tech in 2024 is set to be transformative; AI-driven personalized experiences, quantum computing breakthroughs, and extended reality are redefining our digital interactions. The very nature of devices, such as smartphones, is poised for a revolution, potentially giving way to immersive wearables and ambient technology.

  • Our Digital DNA: Making societal change part of our future

Sustainability and diversity are now strategic priorities in telecom, with an urgent need to double down on recruiting talent and address the dip in women in tech leadership, all while striving to meet environmental targets in line with UN goals – a call to embed societal change in our industry's core, its digital DNA.

As usual, 4YFN (Four Years from Now) - the platform for startups to network and innovate - was at the center of MWC Barcelona. In this edition, they marked their 10th anniversary and celebrated a decade of supporting startups with more engagement, practical learning and expert advice.

Participation of Worldline in MWC24

Worldline participated this year in the Open Innovation Challenge organized by Acció (Agència per la Competitivitat de l'Empresa from Generalitat de Catalunya) and Enterprise Europe Network that brought together corporations, startups & technology providers.

In the same way as other relevant international companies (full list: https://mwc2024.b2match.io/page-2991), from Worldline we have proposed a challenge consisting on to connect with startups to look for synergies in how to apply Generative Artificial Intelligence within our Mobile Messaging solutions such as WhatsApp Business or RCS, with the main objectives of:

  • Improve the current conversational processes on these channels.
  • Think about new services to offer brands and companies in the interaction with their consumers.

We have held 8 face-to-face meetings with startups during the event, and more than 25 e-meetings in the days following.

mwc 2024

10 Takeaways from MWC24

These are our 10 take aways from this event, where we can say that absolute normality has returned after the pandemic and post-pandemic years:

1. Artificial Intelligence everywhere

Artificial intelligence (AI), with the hype of Generative AI, has emerged as the leading theme, showing its ability to radically innovate various sectors and alter our lifestyle and work. AI has been the focal point for the majority of exhibitors, attracting attendees' curiosity with practical demonstrations and specific use cases that aim to change everything from industrial automation, Health solutions and smart police solutions like the Police Patrol Manager assisted by Artificial Intelligence from Catalan police for police response to daily incidents.

In the case of mobile devices, a trend that we have observed both in manufacturers (like Samsung) and operators (like Deutsche Telekom) is about offering smartphones with embedded AI capabilities.

mwc 2024

2. Electric and connected vehicles gaining protagonism

In this event, many proposals have been presented on electric vehicles, connected vehicles, and even vehicle models that can fly. The most relevant novelties are listed hereafter:

  • For the first time in Europe, Xiaomi unveiled the Xiaomi SU7, the company's first electric car, demonstrating that the brand is no longer just about phones, wearables, and home devices; it's a company aiming to have the most complete ecosystem in the market.
  • HARMAN Automotive launched Ready Connect 5G Telematics Control Unit (TCU) with Qualcomm Technologies to push connectivity boundaries, delivering rich in-cabin experiences for consumers.
  • MediaTek presented "Dimensity Auto" space in which they showed how their processors are capable of connecting the vehicle to the network, and how quickly they can execute both applications and native functions of the car's UI.
  • EK presented S4SKT, an air taxi that according to the brand we will begin to see operationally in Seoul from 2025.
  • Alef Aeronautics, based in California, presented the first flying car prototype. Resembling a UFO, the company hopes that the vehicle will take to the skies in 2025.
mwc 2024

3. Robots and Androids potentiated with AI

Robots remain a popular subject for creating a WOW factor in certain booths showcasing robots in unique, unconventional use cases. Some examples are explained hereafter.

One of the attractions of MWC24 was the android Ameca, a robot equipped with cameras in his binocular eyes, microphones and many sensors, including a facial recognition software and GPT4 allowing to answer in a realistic way to any question. It also features motorized and articulated fingers, arms and legs and has been designed to be genderless. The most amazing of this was the way people interacted with Ameca breaking completely the distance that exists between robots and humans.

Xiaomi presented CyberDog 2, a bio inspired quadruped robot that uses artificial intelligence based on recorded information from more than 30,000 AI-simulated dogs.

In the pavilion of China Telecom it was possible to see a human playing GO against a robot in a physical board.

Ella, AI-powered robot Barista automatizes the choice and preparation of selected coffee, including payment in a full autonomous way. Using data, AI and robotics, Ella is able to brew more than 300 coffee combinations at 200 cups per hour, four times faster than a human On top of that, she recommends and remembers your favorite coffee.

mwc 2024

4. Telcos and device vendors present latest 5G solutions and launch of visionary smartphones and consumer devices

At the MWC, there have been displays of not only the newest devices and technologies like in previous editions, but also of visionary and forward-looking solutions: a transparent laptop by Lenovo, a bendable screen concept by Motorola, Samsung devices with Generative AI, etc.

The event has revealed the potential of mobile devices and digital interaction in the future. These devices and concepts at MWC show a sustained dedication to innovation and finding new ways to satisfy consumer wants and needs.

In terms of R&D, Ericsson has presented what would be the first complete prototype of a 6G mobile for the networks of the future.

mwc 2024

5. Conversational solutions powered by Generative AI

Conversational solutions continue to grow compared to last year, powered by Generative AI that allows adding virtual assistants to conversations that facilitate natural and personalized interactions with users.

mwc 2024

6. From Metaverse to immersive experiences

Metaverse was nearly not mentioned at the event and most of the exhibitors were proposing immersive experience pushing AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) technologies to enable new forms of entertainment, education, communication, and commerce, among other use cases.

mwc 2024

7. Distributed participation of Fintech and Payments industry

This year, Fintech has not been one of the main themes of the event as it did last year. This has meant that the representation of the sector has been more distributed. In any case, some relevant topics has been presented during the event like:

  • Fighting Fraud with advanced technologies: identity authentication solutions, Know Your Customer (KYC) methods, the use of AI to counteract false identities.
  • Innovation in Payments and Banking: mobile wallet-based solutions displacing cash transactions to the growing emphasis on digital currencies such as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). 
  • The use of chatbots, GenAI, and embedded finance for conversational commerce also highlighted the shift towards mobile-centric commerce.

J.P. Morgan Payments featured prominently at the event, focusing on the transformative potential of payment solutions across various sectors, including blockchain, digital wallets, connected cars, and embedded finance. The discussions highlighted how payments are evolving beyond mere transactions to provide insights into consumer behavior and market operations.

mwc 2024

8. Health and Wellbeing solutions

This year edition, the focus on health and wellbeing solutions showcased a dynamic intersection of technology and healthcare, underlining significant advancements and discussions in this domain. The event highlighted several key areas, including innovative startups, AI's role in healthcare, network capabilities for health solutions, and collaboration across industries for future healthcare technologies.

The 4YFN (4 Years From Now) platform, integral to MWC, spotlighted startups and innovations with a significant emphasis on health and wellbeing. Participants had the opportunity to engage with companies specializing in various health technologies, demonstrating advancements in digital health, medical technology, and innovative healthcare solutions.

By other side, several big tech companies (Huawei, Samsung, Accenture and others) underscored the importance of technology in healthcare transformation. The discussions explored how AI and other digital technologies are revolutionizing patient care, operational efficiencies, and personalized medicine. Sessions addressed the critical role of cloud computing, AI, and intelligent edge technologies in driving innovation in healthcare, including applications in smart factories and the wider industry 4.0 movement.

mwc 2024

9. Start-up ecosystems and Open Innovation programs

4YFN (Four Years from Now), the platform for startups to network and innovate, celebrated its 10th anniversary edition this year, hosting 930 exhibitors, 450 speakers and more than 1,000 investors with a combined capital of €50 billion.

Moreover, large companies such as Deloitte, Decathlon, Banc Sabadell, Vueling, Repsol, AWS, Telefonica (Wayra) and others displayed their open innovation programs and startups ecosystem activation.

mwc 2024

10. Talent Arena

One of the highlights this year has been the new Talent Arena, dedicated exclusively to digital talent. This initiative, driven by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, featured various activities, among which the technical conferences for developers stood out, along with a 48-hour hackathon involving multidisciplinary teams (front-end, back-end, full stack, and business profiles) tasked with developing solutions using the GSMA Open Gateway's various APIs.

mwc 2024

We hope that precedent points have been able to illustrate the most relevant aspects of this edition. However, from the Mobile Competence Center (Worldline Iberia) we are organizing sessions with clients to share all this finding from MWC24. Anyone interested to get more details can contact the following people.

Jose Mª López

Head of Business Development at the Mobile Competence Center and Coordinator of the Innovation Committee at Worldline Iberia.

Santi Ristol Jorba

Director of the Mobile Competence Center and member of the Worldline Discovery Hub.