Mobile World Congress Americas is set to kick off in Los Angeles this week, and will feature a new focus on media and entertainment, mirroring a trend of convergence in the mobile industry.
Reed Peterson, GSMA’s head of the MWCA show, told Wireless Week that the organization has been seeing this trend for a number of years—with operators like AT&T and Verizon now jumping in with two feet—so the new focus was a pretty obvious choice.
“It makes a lot of sense in terms of how the industry is coming together and how media and entertainment is tying in with innovation, mobile, and connectivity,” Peterson says.
This year the event will feature executives from Hulu, Oath, and Disney, among others, with AT&T’s President of Mobility and Entertainment David Christopher delivering one of the keynote sessions.
Peterson says speakers from the likes of AEG, HBO, and Pandora bring unique perspectives about their past and present business operations and what they’re looking for in the future.
“When you bring two industries crashing together, you want to make sure there’s an element of interaction and coordination that’s working there,” Peterson explains. “So we want to hear the business cases that have worked, we want to hear how these media and entertainment companies are getting a return on their investment, and how mobile—and specifically the future of 5G—are going to play into what’s going to provide value for them and how they want to interact with the mobile industry.”
The show is expecting a similar turn out from last year, but a little bit of an increase with about 22,000 attendees and about 1,000 participating companies from across the different sectors.
Peterson says this year’s show will also feature a Women for Tech summit, designed to address the persistent gender gap in the mobile industry, as well as other sectors. It involves a lineup of speakers along with coaching and networking.
Another new event launching this year is what Peterson describes as a youth mobile festival that is expected to draw between 6,000 and 8,000 students. Taking place just below the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the program involves about 100 different organizations across different themed sectors from LA and the southern California area, delivering more than 500 hours of content designed to inspire students pursuing careers in STEM. There will be workshops, exhibitions, and lectures showcasing new tech and innovations.
Of course, with 5G deployments expected later this year, 5G tech will be on display at the show. Peterson anticipates the Internet of Things will be a big theme as well, with discussions around AI and VR/AR.
“You’re going to see everything from connectivity to furthering business with economic efficiencies, social media and basic connectivity, to social good,” Peterson says. “There’s a big piece of making people’s lives better in this show as well, and ultimately new ways of engaging and interacting with the world around us.”
MWC Americas is taking place Sept. 12-14, so be sure to check back on Wireless Week for coverage from the show floor.