Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) was once again the global epicenter of the connectivity industry. Decision-makers from all over the world attended the event in Catalonia’s capital in what was the closest take on reaching pre-pandemic numbers: the congress attracted more than 85,500 attendees, over 2,400 exhibitors, and more than 1,000 speakers.
The mobile industry has its effects in a broad range of sectors. So, many adjacent industries couldn’t miss being part of the event where key decisions are taken and new technologies are presented. In that sense, international companies BMW, Hyundai, Ikea, and IBM were all looking to integrate new solutions to their businesses in the automotive industry, furniture or software, and the MWC was the place to scout them all out.
“The Barcelona and Catalonia ecosystem is super exciting for us; it's growing very strongly”
Alexandra Renner, Startup Lead R&D Division at BMW Startup Garage
“There are so many interesting and exciting technologies we can find here from all over the world”, said Alexandra Renner, Startup Lead R&D Division at BMW Startup Garage. Renner attended the MWC in Barcelona in search of startups that might become BMW’s future suppliers.
According to Jens Kronen, Open Innovation Manager at Hyundai Cradle, the MWC “gives us a good chance to get in touch, within a few days, with all the local startups and companies, and explore the Barcelona ecosystem”.
For Ikea, implementing digitalization holistically was their objective for participating in the congress. “My goal is to meet with companies and startups that can support us with digital services so we can test our innovation pilots with them”, said Aniol Salvador, Scouting Leader at Inka Group – Ikea.
Álvaro Rodríguez, Gaming, Industry & Retail at IBM Cloud, stressed the competitive assets of the capital of Catalonia, which has been hosting the MWC since 2006: “Barcelona has the perfect conditions to build a significant hub of startups and innovation not only in Spain but also in Europe”, he said.
MWC’s impact on Barcelona’s economy is calculated at €350 million in 2023, according to the GSMA. Undoubtedly, it acts as a catalyst for the local ecosystem of Catalan companies and its over 2,000 startups that have helped boost the region as Southern Europe’s business hub. The congress will return in 2024, from February 26th to 29th. So, mark your calendars and see you next year!