The celebration of MWC 2021 has been the chronicle of an announced death. The event took place despite the fact that not a single major exhibitor participated in person and without any minimally relevant announcement for the mobile industry.
As expected, the media that have attended the event – few, if we compare them with a normal edition – have found themselves with a bleak stamp. As described in The confidential, where they have also portrayed with some shocking snapshots the state of the fair, in Pavilion 3 (the one that used to house the greats of the event) the only stands mounted have been those of “Telefónica, Orange and a telephone and infrastructure manufacturer of networks run down like ZTE ”.
“The next stand with the most carats was that of an Italian brand of accessories such as car covers and chargers.” “The picture is devastating,” remarks the medium. And so it is as reflected in the photos shared by his own correspondent on the spot.
And day one is the strong day. pic.twitter.com/RNPS5GZVtB
& mdash; Michael McLoughlin (@michaelMCsaez) June 28, 2021
In total, of the 2,500 exhibitors that the fair usually has, there have been only 300. This means that it has gone from using the eight pavilions of the Fair to occupying only two. Something that is not only unheard of, but also dirties the image of the event, until now one of the most important in the world in its field.
Despite the insistence by both the GSMA and the Barcelona authorities to celebrate the event, the uncertainty and fear derived from the current health situation ended in a cascade of cancellations starring giants such as Ericsson, Sony, Nokia, Samsung , Oracle, Facebook, Xiaomi, Google or Intel among others. Many of these companies have not held any type of special event that coincides at least on dates with the MWC, while others have chosen to participate virtually.
What happened in Barcelona leads us to reflect on the future of this type of massive event. Do they really have a place in the new normal that we have to get used to? Will they mutate into hybrid events – like this MWC – or will they end up being one hundred percent virtual like E3?
The answer in this case is not so simple and we will need time to verify it. The reason is that, unlike other types of technology events (such as the aforementioned E3 or some presentations by manufacturers such as Apple or Google), fairs such as Mobile World Congress, IFA or CES are not just a space to present products or technologies, but also a meeting place where synergies are created and very important networking takes place for the evolution of the sector. And this is something that has to be done in person.
With this premise, perhaps the ideal scenario is a hybrid model, something that we may see at the next CES in Las Vegas that is expected to take place in early 2022. For the moment, we are left with a sad picture of a half-throttle MWC (both in attendees and in content) that has undoubtedly been carried out by pure economic interests.