Q&A: What to look out for at MWC Barcelona 2023’s Industry City

Q&A: What to look out for at MWC Barcelona 2023’s Industry City

Richard Cockle, Global Head of IoT, Identity and Big Data at GSMA answers questions on Industry City and what delegates can look forward to this year

You launched Industry City at MWC Barcelona last year and it’s returning this year – why is it such an important part of the show?

For the past 20 – 30 years, MWC Barcelona has been hugely influential in the development of mobile technology. The show has been essential to the development of countless products and services, and long will that continue into the future.

Around ten years ago, we acknowledged that, to continue to grow and develop, the industry needs to embrace, collaborate with and, ultimately, move into other areas. So we started looking at the other verticals and what mobile could bring to their products and systems too. A decade on, all industries have made some form of transition to digital.

We’ve become extremely close to the verticals focused on smart mobility, including manufacturing, automotive and fintech – and know that companies from within these sectors can bring really strong innovation to the table, whether it’s using 5G for better quality of customer service or even just to simplify user interfaces for better experiences, we can all learn from one another when we share best practices.

Take financial services, for instance. Around three years ago, we brought UK banks together around user fraud, which costs the industry almost £13 billion per year. UK operators asked for data, from which they analysed and identified who was falling foul to this. Telcos devised a proof of concept, brought originally to NatWest, that is now being rolled out to mitigate against fraud in other banks like Barclays and RBS.

This is just one example of many, and it’s why we introduced Industry City to MWC Barcelona last year as a dedicated area to bring businesses, industries and solutions together through mobile. It was so well received that we’re thrilled to be bringing it back to MWC Barcelona 2023.

What can people expect from this year’s Industry City?

Once again, Industry City will be broken down into the Industry City exhibition show floor, the Industry City Stage and, of course, post-show networking drinks.

Last year, the Industry City Stage had more than 40 industry leading speakers across our dedicated industry summits, which are focused on FinTech, Manufacturing and Smart Mobility. An incredible 1,500 delegates turned up to hear about key industry topics, such as security, the metaverse, payments and fraud. This year, we’re thrilled to have keynote speakers from the likes of NTT, Accenture, Mars, Tonomus, Palo Alto, World Pay, AALTO HAPS, BT, Verizon and JP Morgan.

But it’s not just about the stage, we’re also very excited for the Industry City show floor, with a host of exciting exhibitors joining us this year. The show floor is where delegates can truly explore – it’s filled with demos, so they can get hands on with the latest innovations, both from companies in their own sector, and those from other verticals. It’s a great way to see how 5G technology can be applied for maximum effect to their own businesses, or used by their customers.

Can you tell us more about the Industry City summits?

We’ll be running three dedicated summits as part of the Industry City Agenda – just as we did last year. There will be a Manufacturing Summit, a FinTech Summit and a Smart Mobility Summit, taking place on the 27th February, the 28th February and the 1st March respectively.

At the Manufacturing Summit, delegates will hear from Teresa Tung from Accenture and Scott Gregg from Mars. Together with lessons learned, they will discuss their significant saving over the next several years by rapidly scaling digital twin technology to digitise global factory lines and assets. Further throughout the day, industry leaders including Carlijn Williams from Nokia, Babatunde Akindele from Verizon Communications, Marc Overton from BT Business, and many others, will be exploring a range of topics including; connecting an industrial revolution with cutting-edge technologies the industrial metaverse, digital twins, automation and private networks.

The FinTech Summit, meanwhile, will feature speakers including Martha Sazon from GCash, Frehiwot Tamru from Ethio Telecom and Jeff DeLong from Worldpay. Topics of the day will cover everything from Fighting Back Against Financial Crime through to the rise of Fintech disruption.

With the automotive market predicted to be worth $81bn by 2030, Smart Mobility provides substantial revenue opportunities for almost every modern-day industry. Attendees to the Smart Mobility Summit can therefore expect to hear about the latest emerging themes, learn more on innovative new case studies and future opportunities across the sector. Talks will be led by Mischa Dohler from Ericsson and Mark Thirman from IBM Consulting, as well as many more.

Will we get to see any demos?

I know exhibitors will once again be wowing us with their stands and a wealth of demos.

One demo I’m already aware of – and really looking forward to – AALTO HAPS, which is a new spin-off from Airbus. The team will have their AALTO Zephyr drone hanging above the stand and will be showing how it is able to deliver connectivity from the sky to remote regions (to aid forest fires, oil rigs, etc.). Airbus and AALTO HAPS stands can see a number of scale drone models and hear AALTO HAPS’ plethora of real-life use cases for the technology.

Other demos I can’t wait to see are those that will highlight how 5G can facilitate smarter and more efficient service solutions across all industries. Urovo will be showcasing their state-of-the-art smart terminals with recreations of the factory floor, storage areas and retail areas. Visitors can see how 5G technology is empowering supply chains and JIT delivery, as well as getting a first look at VR and voice identification technologies. Accenture’s demos will cover cutting-edge remote-control vehicles that keep worker safety front of mind, AI within industrial use cases, as well as edge computing innovations so that CSP’s can best monetise their 5G investment.

To make sure delegates see the very best of the demos exhibitors have on offer, we’ll be arranging walking tours of the exhibition floor, so they don’t miss a thing!

In the summer, GSMA launched the 5G Industry Challenge. What kind of things can we expect to see from the winning entries?

We launched the 5G Industry Challenge as we’ve seen so many people and companies benefit from 5G, but wanted to ensure we were sharing best practice cross-industry. Last year we launched the GSMA 5G Transformation Hub which showcases the user benefits of 5G and is filled with case studies that show real-world business outcomes of the technology. The Industry Challenge has been designed to encourage more companies across the vertical sectors to come forward with their own projects.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the winners, but we’ve seen some amazing stories come through, all of which are showing how 5G is really making a positive business impact for users. One example is where we’ve seen drones being used on windfarms to make things more efficient. With 5G, drones can analyse the profile of wind turbines, and see if it’s impacting other turbines. Understanding this can help improve a farm’s performance by 30%. That kind of thing is something that really benefits us all and it’s why we wanted to see – and recognise – the amazing work that’s going on through the challenge.

How do I register for Industry City?

You can sign up for MWC Barcelona 2023 via our MWC registration page. We’d love to have you join us!