MWC 16: Events worth notingBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 17 February 2016 | Categories: feature articles
One full week for a conference in tech terms seems fairly long, but given the scope and scale of Mobile World Congress, held annually in Barcelona, there really a lot to digest. To make things a bit easier, we've broken down each day by the must-see events it will cater to.
Sunday, 21 February
Technically, MWC 16 kicks off on Monday (22 Feb), but that has not stopped the smartphone manufacturers from getting a jump on things. To that end, there are three events of note.
At 15:00 (CAT), both LG and Huawei have press conferences scheduled where they will be showing off their new wares. At this stage, it's LG which holds the bigger lure, as the South Korean manufacturer has detailed the impending arrival of the G5. On Huawei's side of things, it is unclear what new device we will see, especially as the Chinese company favours separate launch events for their flagship offerings. There are, however, rumours of a stylus supporting device.
Later that evening, 20:00 (CAT) to be more precise, the Galaxy Unpacked event gets underway. Samsung will no doubt have plenty of products to debut, with Galaxy S7, S7 edge and possibly a new Gear VR headset among them.
Monday, 22 February
The first 'official' day of MWC 16 serves up a smorgasbord of events and seminars. The first thing to diarise is Sony's press conference, which kicks off bright and early at 09:30 (CAT). As for what the Japanese manufacturer has in store, little is known. There is talk of a new tablet on the cards, with a number of mid-range and entry-level devices also in the mix.
Immediately after that, most likely running concurrently with a start at 10:15 (CAT), is the first keynote for MWC 16 presented by GSMA, where the message for this year's conference will be discussed - Mobile is Everything.
Following that, there is a bit of time before the next significant aspect of MWC 16 gets underway, with the first seminar in the Connected Women programme - Accelerating digital and financial inclusion for women. This seminar starts at 18:00 (CAT), with a number of similar seminars set up throughout the week of MWC.
Tuesday, 23 February
If you're able to get up early enough, Tuesday's schedule of MWC 16 deals with some interesting talks. One of them is the PayPal sponsored discussion about Financial Transactions: The Rise of the Digital Wallet. Given the fact that Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are currently battling it out within this sector, and LG readying its own platform, this could prove a significant debate as the year continues.
From there, one will no doubt be exploring every nook and cranny that MWC 16 has to offer, but later that day the second batch of Awards will be presented, from 14:30 (CAT) onwards. Perhaps the most intriguing category will be the Best Wearable Technology, which has been an area of consumer and manufacturer interest for the past few years now.
Once the winners enjoy their time on stage, it might be a good idea to look to the future and MWC's 4YFN (4 Years From Now) seminars. At 16:00 (CAT) there will be networking event built around 'What Makes a City a Startup Hub?', something that modern cities are all trying to create and foster.
Wednesday, 24 February
Wednesday morning greets us with another smartphone launch press conference. It will be Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi's turn, showcasing their new Mi 5 device from 09:30 (CAT). This is one we're particularly interested in seeing, as Xiaomi entered South Africa last year and will be hoping the same kind of impression that counterparts Huawei has had locally.
From then on things settle down slightly, with no real events of interest until 17:45 (CAT), where the perennial IoT (Internet of Things) will take centre stage, with a particular focus on connectivity and the implications, both positive and negative, that entails.
Thursday, 25 February
In spite of it being the final day of MWC 16, there are still some noteworthy events. One particular will be of interest for those in the mobile gaming arena, with a full day (10:00 - 17:00) conference for those in the gaming industry to network, workshop and collaborate.
If gaming does not catch your fancy, then the concluding Mobile Innovation conference will. Kicking off at 15:15 (CAT), it will play host to panel discussions and presentations specifically centred around hardware and devices.
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