From the show floor: tech trends at Mobile World Congress 2017 Expert OpinionWorld

Adam Jones, Freeman’s new director – digital products runs down the latest technology trends at MWC

Mobile World Congress is a key event in my annual calendar – it’s a place where I get to see the latest technology developments from mobile brands, and I can find out how brands that don’t traditionally play in the space are weaving new tech into their overall offering. It’s also a great way to see how these products can be incorporated into the world of brand experience, so that we can enhance the way we deliver events for our clients.

Here are a few interesting tech trends and developments that I noticed at Mobile World Congress 2017.

Say farewell to 4G, now it’s all about 5G

The capabilities of 5G technology are said to far surpass their 3G and 4G counterparts, and brands are moving towards the tech at a rapid pace. Countless stands – such as ZTE and Qualcomm clearly promoted their 5G capabilities, meanwhile the likes of Samsung chose MWC to launch its commercial 5G network.

There are many benefits associated with this technology – it gives us speed as fast at fibre optic broadband, it’s secure, and it doesn’t suck the battery life from devices. Traditionally event venues have struggled to provide fast, reliable Wi-Fi to exhibitors and attendees as there are so many devices being used in a confined space. If we utilise 5G technology it means the data is flowing through quicker than ever before, which allows users access to Wi-Fi at high speeds without any backlog.


Responding in real time with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In its simplest form, AI is about understanding the data that is being fed in to a system and coming back with an appropriate response. This means the opportunities really are endless with AI, and this was clear at MWC. Various brands incorporated the technology into their stands in unique and creative ways. Take the Verizon stand, for example, where visitors could watch on as two cars drove around a mini race track. Image tracking technology was able to recognise the difference between the two vehicles, and as such could monitor and predict if there was going to be an accident or close call between them.

Wi-5 – an end-to-end mobile engagement software solution that was on show at 4YFN, a digital start-up event that takes place alongside MWC, highlights just how effective AI can be in the live event space. The tech is equipped to capture real-time data about visitor behaviour – such as dwell times and preferred features of an event – as they interact with a stand or event space. There are so many different touch points from the beginning to the end of an event, so being able to capture that data and asses it on the fly is an incredibly powerful tool, as it means we can adjust our experiences in line with attendee behaviours.

Embracing the mobile phone to gain valuable attendee insight

Over at the Cisco stand, its cloud networking service known as Cisco Meracki was on show. This is a particularly interesting piece of tech as it uses the MAC code inherent in all phones, as well as integrated beacons to anonymously track devices within a particular space.

It can be used to find out what model of phone people are using, what they are using their phone for, how long they spend in a location and what they are interested in. This information can then be used to create targeted marketing. For example, if an attendee picks up a particular mobile device, takes a look at its functionalities and then heads off to another stand, the technology will record this, and the next time they enter a Cisco Meracki Wi-Fi zone, they could be presented with the same or similar product.

It gives us the ability to gather all data about an event so that we can start feeding back ROI information to our organisers and exhibitors, and by understanding the flow of visitors around an event you can begin to look at scale pricing – organisers could start charging more for high footfall areas, as they can prove that brands will receive greater exposure in certain areas.

Whether it’s enhancing the attendee experience or learning more about their behaviours, MWC once again highlighted that technology plays an important role in helping our industry achieve its goals. It ensures we’re always on the front foot, and enables us to execute engaging and intuitive events that meet clients’ needs and exceed exhibitor and visitor expectations.


Tom Hall

Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World

Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World