The world’s largest showcase for the mobile industry, the Mobile World Congress 2021 (MWC 2021) returns to Barcelona in, Spain but not with original flavours.
MWC2021 began on Monday, 28 June and will ends on Thursday, 1 July.
However, with the shadow of the pandemic still looming large, MWC 2021 is a very different experience from previous years.
Firstly, it is a hybrid event, meaning it will be a mix of in-person and virtual showcases.
Numbers are also being kept down, with fewer than a third of the 100,000 visitors it welcomed in 2019 expected to take part this year.
Also, attendees must hold a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours prior to their visit and have to wear FFP2 face masks.
Despite these safety measures, many big names including Facebook, Sony, Oracle and Nokia have pulled out, citing the safety of their employees.
Another factor may be that people have got used to the idea of attending big conferences remotely and actually prefer “attending” large-scale events like the MWC virtually.
It’s thought MWC 2021 being split between physical, virtual and hybrid activities, will provide a blueprint for future large-scale business conferences.
Nevertheless, more than 30,000 visitors from 143 countries are set to attend the three-day event.
Spain’s Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence Carme Artigas described MWC 2021 as “the starting shot for us to relaunch our economy’s growth.”