FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Communications Commissoner Ajit Pai delivers a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
INTERNATIONAL –The 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) is due to open its doors once again in the city of Barcelona in northeast Spain on Feb. 25. This year sees the MWC change its official name slightly to 'MWC19 Barcelona' and the theme will be 'Intelligent Connectivity' linked to the continued rise and rollout of 5G networks, big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IOT). 

Speaking to the Mobile World Live website, John Hoffman, CEO of the event organizer GSMA, gave a brief preview of what the estimated 105,000-110,000 visitors to MWC19 Barcelona can expect to see from the over 2,400 companies from some 200 different countries which will be exhibiting in the event. "We expect to have around 110,000 people here at MWC," he said, adding that the event would also see the Global Mobile Awards, where the best and the brightest from around the world will be recognized. 

In addition, the event would be "carbon neutral". The 2019 MWC will see an expansion in the use of facial recognition technology as a way to speed entrance into MWC. 

Hoffman said the limited use of facial recognition had been successful in 2018 and that it would "speed and enhance the experience of people entering the event" and "address heightened awareness of security." Hoffman also confirmed that MWC19 Barcelona would see keynote speakers from "Microsoft (which returns to the MWC after an absence of several years), Huawei and Google...We have lots of speakers from around the ecosystem," he confirmed. 

MWC will also showcase new hardware, with several companies expected to present their proposals for 5G handsets, among which will be foldable models designed to bridge the size gap between smartphones and tablets. 

Several major car manufacturers also have confirmed their presence. Mobile World Live's Saleha Diaz explained that companies such as Daimler and Volkswagen will be on display on the exhibition floor. 

MWC19 Barcelona is also important for investors and startups. 

"Over 700 investors (are) coming to the show and we are going to have more than 600 startups showcasing their products on the show floor," commented Pepe Duran, series event director at 4YFN Barcelona, the section of MWC19 Barcelona dedicated to linking new ideas to new investment.

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