Defining Industry X

We are living in an age where the lines separating technologies are increasingly blurred and less distinct, as such it becomes increasingly difficult to define applications as one particular type of technology in isolation. Industry X perfectly highlights the convergence of many different technologies with potentially huge and widespread impacts on society, from the way we work, to how we produce and consume a range of goods and services.

Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a subset of Industry X. As Klaus Schwab puts it, “The overarching opportunity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution…is finding ways to give the greatest number of people the ability to positively impact their families, organisations and communities.” Schwab states that there are 12 clusters of technologies that come under this definition. These include A.I., Robotics, biotechnologies, VR & AR and energy . We can also include digital transformation, enterprise ICT & cloud systems, the future of transportation, cities and aerospace in our definition of Industry X.


Businesses can embrace constant technological change and disruption whilst also profiting from it. There is a vital and potentially lucrative role for telecoms operators to play here, as enablers for innovation within the enterprises that they serve. But many operators are themselves undergoing digital transformations and not able to move at the speed of more agile companies. It is crucial that they adapt their business models and mindsets in order to benefit from this new age of innovation and what may well turn out to be the most significant of the industrial revolutions.

As we witnessed in the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries – which increased wealth, extended life and was a powerful force for social change – a totally new economic and philosophical worldview emerged. But governments and politicians were slow to change their ways of thinking and were left significantly behind, taking them decades to catch up with the status quo.

The move to automation certainly brings challenges for businesses and workers. Given the way in which communities were failed during previous industrial changes, (for example, with the decline of the UK’s coal and steel industries) it isn’t surprising that people are worried about job disruption. But the real danger for the economy and for future job growth is not that we have too many robots in the workplace but that we have too few. In 2015 the UK had just 10 robots for every million hours worked, compared with 167 in Japan. By 2017, we represented just 0.6 per cent of industrial robotics shipments. (The New Statesman)

Industry X is so much more than simply a blend of technologies. It is the potential that these technologies represent, affording mankind huge opportunities to change the present and shape the future. We are facing some of the biggest threats to our existence, many of these are environmental and Industry X may offer us the chance to affect real change. We have a responsibility to ensure that no-one is left behind and ensure access to internet and education, online literacy and basic infrastructure are made a reality for half of the world’s population that are still not able to access or use the mobile services available.

What this theme will attempt to answer at MWC Barcelona 2020 is where there are new opportunities – and challenges – for our growing industry, identifying the business models and discussing the role of the operator as well as each stakeholder in the evolving value chain.

The potential of Industry X is Limitless.


(Sources: United Nations, Telenor, Oxford Economics, Business Insider, IoT Analytics, Gartner, Intel, McKinsey, PwC, Ovum)

Industry X Ecosystem

Industry X affects a large cross-section of companies, as you may expect. It incorporates everything from automation, data exchange, manufacturing technologies, IoT & Industrial IoT, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

MWC Agenda: Industry X Sponsored by Citi

Monday, 24th

11:00 – 12:00 Innovate to Grow: How to Embed an Innovation Culture

There is a vital and potentially lucrative role for telecoms operators to play as enablers for innovation within enterprises. A true change in culture involves engaging employees with your innovation strategy, addressing diversity and skills gaps and learning from companies with open cultures. This session examines the cultural drivers for innovation strategies.

16:00 – 16:45 Unlocking the Value of Partner Ecosystems

The multi-trillion-dollar enterprise ICT market presents huge opportunity for operators to diversify beyond a consumer play. These companies aren’t just buying operator’s services; they also seek a trusted provider who can integrate them into an entire ecosystem. Improved collaboration with other valued partners is crucial in unlocking the full potential of Industry X.

Tuesday, 25th

12:15 – 13:15 A How To Guide: Transforming Your Business for Industry X

Businesses must shift their mindsets to be able to move with the rapid rate of change and capitalize on Industry X. This session brings this to life, through practical case studies from the enterprise and telco perspective; How should enterprises look to transform? What are some of the critical investments that must be made?

14:00 – 15:00 Reskilling for Industry X: People-Powered Innovation

Organisations are facing major skills gaps as we enter an era where technologies like IIoT, data analytics, AI and robotics have become central to business. Those with the right skill set are hard to find and companies are competing over a limited talent pool. New approaches are needed – perhaps A.I. has the answer?

15:15 – 16:15 IoT Data Analytics: From Data to Actionable Insights

The number of cellular IoT connections will hit 3.5B in 2023, generating vast amounts of data. GSMAi forecasts $1.1 trillion of IoT revenues for 2025, but organisations feel challenges to realising this opportunity. Operators should expect a spike in demand for data analytics, cloud services and security, presenting a potentially lucrative market.

Wednesday, 26th

11:00 – 12:15 Security for the Industry X Era

Industry X presents inherent security risks. Highly connected and automated sites produce and store staggering amounts of data. IDC estimates that 175 zettabytes of data worldwide by 2025 and a huge amount is real-time IoT data. Organisations risk opening themselves up to cyber-attacks and hacks that threaten ever more connected systems.

12:30 – 13:30 Redefining the relationship between Cloud, Enterprise and the Edge

Industry X has the potential to unlock new revenue and engagement models with customers, employees and partners. This is driving a shift towards edge infrastructure and away from traditional cloud networks by directing certain processes away from centralised data centres to other parts of the network, companies can make savings and exceed customer expectations.

14:30 – 15:30 Digital Supply Chains of the Future

Supply chain and logistics is a key area expected to benefit from Industry X – one estimate states that companies with highly digitised supply chains can expect annual efficiency gains of 4.1%, boosting revenues by 2.6% a year. However, this is an area of increasing complexity and interconnectedness and logistics providers are having to adapt their business models in order to streamline systems, exceed customer experiences whilst enhancing security.

15:45 – 16:45 Innovating for IoT: Thriving in a World Where Devices Outnumber Humans

The human population will reach 8.6 billion in 2030 – the same year that the number of connected devices could reach 1 trillion. This presents opportunities for innovation in a number of areas; from tackling ageing populations to climate change, mass urbanisation the search for clean energy and food and water shortages.

Thursday, 27th

11:15 – 12:15 Industry in Action: Verticals and Demos

Industry X technologies have many potentially exciting applications across a range of industries and verticals. This fast-paced, hands-on demo session will showcase a range of cutting-edge applications of Industry X in action and bring the audience closer to the industries innovating for tomorrow.

12:30 – 13:30 Sky Wars: The 21st Century Aerospace Race

We’re witnessing a new “Internet of Skies” with an increasing number of use cases for cellular drones, including delivery of blood transfusions and remote monitoring of wildfires. This session brings together leaders from the aviation, aerospace, satellite and telecoms industries for a glimpse into the future of our skies.

14:30 – 15:30 Industry X Pitching Battle

Pitch it out in front of our panel of judges for your chance to be crowned winner of the Industry X Pitch Competition. This session features some of the brightest startups using technologies from IoT, AI, Robotics, Mixed Reality and big data to solve real-world problems – vote in real-time for your winner.


With a market projected to reach $70 billion by 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to have a transformative effect on consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world. At MWC Barcelona, we will explore the real potential of AI, how we must manage such a profound technological revolution and its impact on our professional and personal lives.

AI track sessions at MWC 2020 include:

• Becoming AI-Ready: Surviving & Thriving in a Robot Age
• Diversity & Democratisation: Ethics & Antidotes to Algorithmic Bias
• AI Autonomous Driving
• AI Data Governance Enabling Personalisation at Scale
• Intelligent Automation at Scale: Exploring the Operator AI Implementation Journey

Becoming AI-Ready: Surviving & Thriving in a Robot Age

The proliferation of AI is having a significant impact on society, changing the way we work, live and interact. It is poised to have a major effect on sustainability, climate change and environmental issues. However, as AI acts more autonomously and becomes broader in its use, AI safety will become even more important. Commonly discussed risks include bias, poor decision-making, low transparency, job losses and malevolent use of AI (e.g. autonomous weaponry). While many believe the rise of artificial general intelligence (AGI) could massively benefit humanity by raising our quality of life as a civilization, some fear the development may lead to global doom.

Our situation with technology is complicated, but the big picture is rather simple. Most AGI researchers expect AGI within decades, and if we just bumble into this unprepared, it will probably be the biggest mistake in human history. It could enable brutal global dictatorship with unprecedented inequality, surveillance, suffering and maybe even human extinction. But if we steer carefully, we could end up in a fantastic future where everybody’s better off — the poor are richer, the rich are richer, everybody’s healthy and free to live out their dreams.” Max Tegmark, Professor, MIT

Source: Vanity Fair, 2017

New technologies will cause job displacement and job creation. But perhaps the most significant impact is the degree to which it will bring about job change. McKinsey estimates ‘that about 75 million people worldwide will need to switch occupations by 2030 in the event that automation takes hold at a pace in the middle of our range of adoption scenarios. If the speed of adoption is faster, at the top end of our range, it could affect up to 375 million people, or about 14 percent of the global workforce.’


Diversity & Democratisation: Ethics & Antidotes to Algorithmic Bias

Machine-learning systems can easily pick up biases if their design and data sets are not carefully considered. Given that algorithms are rapidly becoming responsible for more decisions about our lives, by banks, healthcare companies and governments, any kind of inherent bias is a concern. Fears include whether AI algorithms are reinforcing racial stereotypes, gender biases and other prejudices as a result of a lack of diversity among scientists in the field — and of what happens to society when robots can do most jobs.

AI remains a jobseeker’s market, while the rapidly growing industry is failing to represent women. Equality in the field of AI expertise is vital to the technology’s ethical success. Sam Altman, the CEO of Open AI called machine learning “the most skewed field I know of right now”, in terms of PhD graduate gender balance, adding that AI “will have the most effect on the future of the world that we live in.”

In response to these concerns, ethical frameworks for AI are being written around the world. Last year, Professor Bengio co-authored the Montreal Declaration for Responsible AI, which named 10 pillars that AI development should not hamper including equity, democratic participation, and sustainable development. The UN, OECD, and Council of Europe have all formulated their own guides.

AI and Autonomous Driving

Autonomous driving technology is now a reality. If forecasts hold true, autonomous vehicles (AVs) operating as taxi fleets without human safety drivers could be in widespread use in cities around the world by 2030. Cities such as London, Shanghai, Pittsburgh and San Francisco all have test fleets of autonomous light passenger vehicles in operation (WEF), not without raising eyebrows and concerns from sceptical residents who have shown near zero tolerance for any accidents caused in the process. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives, reduce carbon emissions, give back billions of hours of time and restore freedom of movement. (GM Cruise). With significantly lower running costs than that of a vehicle with driver (estimated at between 44% and 61% lower for journeys between 10 and 20 km), autonomous transport offers a critical lifeline to our acutely congested cities.

AI Data Governance Enabling Personalisation at Scale

Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the data on which AI models are based is fundamental to business success. AI is only as good as the training data it’s given.

Many business leaders will apply ‘black box’ efforts toward new product introductions or marketing campaigns, assuming the data is accurate. However, if the wrong data is applied, huge investments could be at risk. This challenge is real. A recent KPMG CEO Survey showed nearly 50% of CEOs are concerned about the integrity of their data on which they base their critical decisions.

With vast amounts of data coming from multiple disparate systems, an effective data governance strategy needs to break down hidden or siloed data across the organization, empowering everyone to go beyond just producing and consuming data to trusting and using the data to optimize value through business analytics or AI applications.

Intelligent Automation at Scale: Exploring the Operator AI Implementation Journey

Automation is of central importance as mobile operators start to evaluate their commercial 5G strategies. From the operators’ perspective, the primary purpose of network automation is simplified network deployment, OPEX optimisation and a guarantee of user experience and service agility.

According to a 2018 report by Analysys Mason, 56% of mobile operators globally have little or no automation in their networks and yet, according to their own predictions, almost 80% expect to have automated 40% or more of their network operations, and one third will have automated over 80% by 2022.

To build a more valuable telecoms industry and to take advantage of automation and AI, a simplified network architecture and operations automation is needed to self-configure, self-heal, self-optimize and self-evolve telecom network infrastructures. Operators need to offer zero wait, zero touch and zero trouble services, which will provide the best-possible user experience, full lifecycle automation and maximum utilization. (TM Forum)

Innovative breakthroughs are happening every day in the tech and mobile world, which makes it challenging to pinpoint exactly what topics we’ll be concentrating on this year.  With all this mind, our content team spent the past few months diligently researching the most cutting-edge and impactful topics for MWC Barcelona 2020.  The next era in technology is limitless intelligent connectivity and we have created seven core topics that support this below.

Sort through the event topics in our agenda to find the conference keynotes, track sessions, partner events, tours, and seminars that are most relevant to you. Here is a small overview of the topics:


With a market projected to reach $70 billion by 2020, artificial intelligence is poised to have a transformative effect on consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world. AI will explore the real potential of AI, how we must manage such a profound technological revolution and its impact on our professional and personal lives.

Connectivity: The 5G Era – Sponsored by Deloitte

Connectivity: The 5G Era at MWC 2020 aims to highlight how next-generation networks will form the basis of wide-reaching value creation and economic impact. We will take a broad look at the enterprise connectivity ecosystem, from implementation, to use cases, scalable platforms, business models, spectrum, regulation, and investment to the business and cultural challenges of working with new and diverse markets/industries. Realising the full potential of global connectivity is both complex and challenging, but the opportunity is near limitless in its application and impact.

Customer Engagement

Customer engagement has been a key battleground for brands, service providers and governments for decades, but its evolution and importance has accelerated in recent years driven by the internet, mobile and then smartphones. Customer Engagement will look at examples across all industries, to understand how you can set the benchmark for customer engagement, retain and gain customers and grow revenue.

Industry X: IoT – Sponsored by Citi

Using a blend of new technologies like industrial IoT, big data, analytics, AI, robotics, 3D printing and machine learning, industries can unlock new revenue and engagement models with customers, employees and partners. Industry X: IoT will examine the challenges, opportunities, scalability and limitless potential of Industrial IoT and Digital Transformation.

Media & Entertainment

As the appetite and expectation for AR, VR and other forms of richer immersive content grows, the impact on networks, event venues and overall consumer engagement will grow, presenting huge challenges to everyone involved in these now intertwined industries. Media & Entertainment examines the challenges, the revenue models, as well as the relationship between consumption growth and network capacity.

Our Planet

The world needs, now more than ever, our sector to be a fundamental contributor to creating a safe, clean and equitable world for all. Our Planet will discuss the connected technology industries responsibilities to the environment and underserved people, including the unconnected and accessibility for the disabled, among others.

Security & Privacy

Recent scandals have eroded trust in the digital ecosystem. Coupled with the growing introduction and interest in legislation around privacy and the ethics of data usage as we enter the AI era, we are at a pivotal juncture in the evolution of the Internet. Security & Privacy analyses the growing responsibilities required to create the right balance with consumers, governments, regulators and industries.

Take your part in #MWC20

“Mobiles are now used by two thirds of the world’s population and global smartphone adoption will reach 80% by 2025.”
Source: GSMAi, Mobile Economy 2018

Mobile connectivity is transforming the planet and shedding light on future innovations that will change how we think about technology. Our event brings together the latest trends from more than 2,400 leading companies, with a highly-rated conference programme assembling today’s visionaries to explore the hottest topics influencing the industry. With a successful 2019 in the books, we look forward to welcoming you to our 2020 event in February.

See what happened in 2019
Download the 2019 Post Event Report and learn why the disruptors of the future unite at MWC

MWC Barcelona features extensive learning opportunities from dozens of partner-led programmes, GSMA seminars, summits and more. Everything you need to know about the industry, today and beyond, can be found here. With over 109,000 key decision-makers expected to attend, MWC promises to expand your professional network and help you achieve your goals.

Over the four days in Barcelona, we expect to see big name exhibitors, partners, enthusiastic sponsors and press. Be a part of action to get more leads for your business, this is where you NEED to be at!

Register today!

A playground for tech enthusiasts – MWC Barcelona will immerse you into an interactive experience of hands on workshops to in-depth learning platforms. Join us on this four-day adventure filled with networking, education and cutting-edge exhibition. Registration will be open soon, but in the meantime learn about the different programmes and features we offer to start building your agenda.

Education in Motion

Our conference agenda is meticulously crafted from months and months of research so that we can present some of the most sought-after topics in the tech space today. You’ll also see some of the brightest leaders on the Barcelona stage. They share insight and inspire, it’s one of the best places you can learn about the industry, period.

Hands on

Gain a new perspective on the cutting-edge products and services through our extensive exhibition. Take a long stroll through the exhibition halls to see a multitude of exciting device launches, innovation at work and futuristic ideas that also be present.  

Say hello – Networking

At MWC, networking is GAME on. Build your professional contacts through various networking activities from specific events to mingling over a cocktail or two in the gardens.

The Startup Life

Startups, investors and companies converge at 4YFN. A startup movement that brings the movers and shakers together for three days of invaluable connections and launching new business ventures together.

Celebrate the Future

Immerse your senses in innovative imagination at xside. Discover interactive experiences of technology, design, music and art where pioneers and thinkers from converging worlds discuss the future of creativity and tech. This new & unique event takes place at 4YFN at Fira Montjuïc, in parallel to MWC Barcelona. Join us in Barcelona, start building your journey now.

As we look forward to 2020, let’s take a step back to appreciate all the awesomeness of 2019.

Under the theme of Intelligent Connectivity, MWC19 flourished. In fact, more than 109,000 professionals from around the world gathered in Barcelona to discuss current and trending topics in the mobile industry.

With a focus on Intelligent Connectivity, MWC Barcelona focused on eight specific industry themes; Connectivity, AI, Industry 4.0, Immersive Content, Disruptive Innovation, Digital Wellness, Digital Trust and The Future. CEOs, senior executives and thought leaders from mobile operators and adjacent vertical industry organisations around the world, gathered to explore these themes while discussing key developments in the broad mobile ecosystem and their impact.

Across 10 halls and at Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc, exciting companies from across a wide spectrum of industries showcased their products, technologies and services via exhibition stands and hospitality spaces. The exhibition included everything from 5G products and services, connected cars, VR, AI, IoT devices, new handsets and ingenious app ideas, privacy protection and backend solutions were on display. Visitors also explored and experienced immersive demonstrations of the most cutting-edge mobile enabled products and services in the world today at Innovation City.

For a sixth year, MWC hosted the 4 Years from Now (4YFN) programme at Fira Montjuïc. This pioneering programme, jointly developed by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and the GSMA, brought together a huge community of 23,000 attendees representing start-ups, investors and the wider mobile community for exhibition, education and networking opportunities.

Not only did attendees gain an unmeasurable amount of knowledge from the conference, seminars, summits, workshops and other features but many grew their professionals’ circles increasingly at the event through various networking opportunities.

Looking back to 2019 makes me realise that the best is yet to come. For more details on what unfolded in 2019 check out the Post Event Report here. See you all in 2020!

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