Mobile World Congress plans 2021 in-person event with 50,000 attendees

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After cancelling the 2020 event over coronavirus concerns, smartphone conference Mobile World Congress intends to welcome back international visitors to its Barcelona event in June.

Mobile World Congress 2021
Mobile World Congress 2021


Following the cancellation of 2020's event, the GSM Association has announced that it intends to resume its annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) in June. The organization expects the in-person event to attract around 50,000 visitors to Barcelona in June.

According to Bloomberg, the GSMA says that every attendee, whether guest or exhibitor, will have to show a negative COVID-19 test -- and repeat that test every 72 hours. There are to be rapid testing centers on site.

"We believe that we can have around 45,000 to 50,000 attendees, as of today," said GSMA chief marketing officer Stephanie Lynch-Habib. "About 80% of our top 100 clients committed to a three-year participation when we canceled last year."

"The technology that we will use through a digital badge means we'll be able to detect if someone is standing in an area for more than 15 minutes, to enable eventual contact tracing," she continued.

Lynch-Habib says that MWC has developed a plan for the event "in coordination with, and approved by, the Catalan health authorities." The plan involves attendees having to download an app that is both a contact-tracing beacon, and a digital admission badge.

"[Data will be sent to health authorities] if needed to mitigate potential further exposure," she continued. "That's something that all attendees will have to agree to before entering."

The organization says that there will be COVID-19 preventative measures, and that it follows a successful smaller event in Shanghai in February 2021. Some 17,000 people reportedly attended that MWC Shanghai event, and that there were then no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

According to Bloomberg, MWC represents 80% of GSMA's revenues. Cancelling the 2020 show resulted in the organization having to cut around a fifth of its workforce.

The CDC's advice, last updated on February 18, 2021, currently recommends against attending events and gatherings at all.

Apple does not attend MWC. It instead prefers to run its own events, the next of which is expected to be another entirely virtual one and rumored to be on March 23.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    bsbeamerbsbeamer Posts: 76member
    Realize we'll be in a different state of the pandemic by this summer, but seriously 50K people in an indoor setting?  Public health folks must be cringing.  Will be difficult for people from the USA to attend with current travel restrictions, might be easier for those already in Europe.  Personally will not attend any conference like this in 2021, vaccinated or not.  Entirely outdoors with open air and it might be a different story.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 3
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,428member
    MWC is a huge money earner for Barcelona.

    The actual fair halls of Fira 2 are technically in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat which is another city but any foreigner would never know they were leaving Barcelona and entering L'Hospitalet. Most visitors will be in hotels in Barcelona.

    I would normally be in both cities five days a week but we've been under mobility restrictions since the 19th of December (municpal, Comarcal etc) and although I could justify travelling I've chosen not too.

    Bars and restaurants have also been impacted with severe restrictions on opening times. Today they were lifted a bit and bars can open from early morning uninterrupted until 17h.

    This is because of the third COVID-19 wave and things seem to be stabilising slowly now but mainly because of the restrictions.

    As the weather gets better and the days get longer people will want to get out more. I wouldn't want to venture how things will look come June. Vaccination initiatives are underway but in a best case scenario (as things stand today) I will be vaccinated in June or July. That's when the most active (and healthiest people) are likely to get the jab. 

    Of course new strains are appearing and no one knows how effective the different vaccines will be. The Californian 'satan' strain has already been detected here.

    It's going to be a bumpy few months up to June and decisions are being made weekly on how much mobility and intermingling can be tolerated (schools, holidays, transport, leisure etc). That makes it difficult for anyone from abroad to make plans now. 

    But given the costs involved to prepare everything, I think it will go ahead no matter what. Even if everyday citizens are on some kind of lockdown (assuming things aren't back under control by then). The question is if confirmed visitors would actually want to fly into a theoretical fourth wave.

    On the upside (as of now) the regular flu season hasn't started yet due to the mobility restrictions and extra hygiene and best practices. 
  • Reply 3 of 3
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,811member
    avon b7 said:
    MWC is a huge money earner for Barcelona.

    The actual fair halls of Fira 2 are technically in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat which is another city but any foreigner would never know they were leaving Barcelona and entering L'Hospitalet. Most visitors will be in hotels in Barcelona.

    I would normally be in both cities five days a week but we've been under mobility restrictions since the 19th of December (municpal, Comarcal etc) and although I could justify travelling I've chosen not too.

    Bars and restaurants have also been impacted with severe restrictions on opening times. Today they were lifted a bit and bars can open from early morning uninterrupted until 17h.

    This is because of the third COVID-19 wave and things seem to be stabilising slowly now but mainly because of the restrictions.

    As the weather gets better and the days get longer people will want to get out more. I wouldn't want to venture how things will look come June. Vaccination initiatives are underway but in a best case scenario (as things stand today) I will be vaccinated in June or July. That's when the most active (and healthiest people) are likely to get the jab. 

    Of course new strains are appearing and no one knows how effective the different vaccines will be. The Californian 'satan' strain has already been detected here.

    It's going to be a bumpy few months up to June and decisions are being made weekly on how much mobility and intermingling can be tolerated (schools, holidays, transport, leisure etc). That makes it difficult for anyone from abroad to make plans now. 

    But given the costs involved to prepare everything, I think it will go ahead no matter what. Even if everyday citizens are on some kind of lockdown (assuming things aren't back under control by then). The question is if confirmed visitors would actually want to fly into a theoretical fourth wave.

    On the upside (as of now) the regular flu season hasn't started yet due to the mobility restrictions and extra hygiene and best practices. 
    Nice super spreader event Spain has planned...
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