MWC 2020 is cancelled – but the spirit of limitless connectivity will go on

Last updated: 21 April 2020

The GSMA’s decision to cancel this year’s MWC is unfortunate but understood in light of the threat posed by the Covid-19 outbreak. As an international organization with offices in nearly 70 countries, Thales acknowledges the severity of the situation and has taken steps to restrict business travel. Our deepest sympathies are with those affected in China and all around the world.

While this year’s MWC in Barcelona is on ice, the pioneering essence that drives the mobile industry’s flagship event undoubtedly lives on. The motto of the event, which is now in its 33rd year of existence, is ‘LIMITLESS Intelligent connectivity’, and it’s within the spirit of that ethos that the world’s greatest innovators are continuing to strive for groundbreaking connectivity solutions, even in the absence of a physical gathering.

Trials and tribulations

I’ve been going to the show since the early 90s when it was called the GSM World Congress. It was initially held in a different European city each year before a ten year residence in Cannes – it only finally settled in Barcelona in 2006. I’ve seen it weather the industry’s share of trials such as the bursting of the Internet Bubble in the early 2000s but this is the first time in the event’s history that it’s been cancelled.

I’ve been lucky enough to be at the bleeding edge of game-changing connectivity developments as we moved from 2G to 5G, as well as the emergence of the first smartphones and an Internet of billions of things. This year’s event would undoubtedly have built on its reputation as a hotbed for innovation, with market-leading manufacturers getting ready to showcase the latest exciting developments in the world of IoT and mobile.

The show must go on

While this year’s event will be much missed, it’s important that the industry keeps collaborating and striving for the excellence that has defined it over the last three decades.

Thales’ announcements at this year’s MWC were focusing on the themes of trust and partnerships. By supporting companies’ digital transformations and providing best-in-class advice and expertise to help businesses develop their IoT projects, we are able to raise the bar in connectivity and security across the sector.

Our booth was designed to capture this spirit of collaboration, with the demonstration of several areas of Thales’ expertise from connectivity to cybersecurity and AI. We can increasingly act as a one-stop shop for companies developing cutting edge mobile and IoT projects, combining expertise in four key areas:

  • 5G – Building trust by connecting and managing all types of 5G devices and networks, that will enable brand new use cases
  • Artificial Intelligence – Getting more value from data using AI and machine learning
  • Connectivity – Turning things on and simplifying lifecycle management
  • Security – Protecting things, people and spaces

Together these four streams aimed to share a 360° overview of state-of-the-art solutions for encrypted communications and environments, improved digital security and trusted digital identities, advanced AI-based analytics, IoT modules and platforms, 5G SIM and eSIM solutions, and much more.

The soul of MWC lives on(line)

As is fitting in our increasingly connected and digital world, we don’t need a physical get-together to showcase the wealth of innovation that our industry has to offer. You can get more info on the tech we were planning to show on our Digital MWC page and please keep in touch via Twitter.

It’s now up to the wider industry to keep this ball rolling – making sure that each player is contributing to the melting pot of ideas that have always been at the heart of MWC. And hopefully we’ll see you all in Barcelona in 2021.

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