The Mobile World Congress (MWC 2023) kicked off in Barcelona on Monday, hosting the world’s largest wireless trade fair. The event is set to feature cutting-edge technologies, including folding-screen smartphones, immersive metaverse experiences, and AI-powered chatbot avatars. The MWC has evolved from a forum for mobile phone standards to a showcase for new wireless technologies. Organizers are expecting around 80,000 visitors from over 200 countries and territories. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the latest trends and offerings at the MWC.
AI has caught the tech world’s attention thanks to the dramatic advances in new tools like ChatGPT, which can hold conversations and generate readable text. Companies are promising to show how they’re using AI to make home Wi-Fi networks more energy-efficient or sniff out fakes. Startups will demo their own AI-powered chat technology: D-ID will show off their eerie “digital human” avatars, while Botslovers says its service promises to “free humans from boring tasks.”
However, Ben Wood, principal analyst at CCS Insight, warns that AI might be deployed as an “overused buzzword” at MWC. Microsoft’s press representatives have hinted that they might have a demonstration of ChatGPT but haven’t provided any details. The company added AI chatbot technology to its Bing search engine but scrambled to make fixes after it responded with insults or wrong answers to some users who got early access, Baidu Search engine also looking to integrate a chatbot to its search engine.
One of the most talked-about topics at this year’s MWC 2023 is the metaverse. A slew of companies are planning to show off their metaverse experiences that will allow users to connect with each other, attend events from far away, or enter fantastical new online worlds. The popularity of the metaverse exploded after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hailed it as the next big thing for the internet and his company. However, doubts have started to creep in. “All the business models around the metaverse are a big question mark right now,” said John Strand, a veteran telecom industry consultant.
Attention at the show is focusing on potential uses for 5G, the next generation of ultrafast wireless technology that promises to unlock a wave of innovation beyond just smartphones, such as automated factories, driverless cars, and smart cities.
“Mobile phones will still be a hot topic at MWC 2023, but they’ve become a mature, iterative, and almost boring category,” Wood said. “The only excitement will come from the slew of foldable designs and prototypes, but the real size of the market for these premium products remains unclear.”
Device launches will be dominated by a slew of lesser-known Chinese brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, ZTE, and Honor looking to take market share from the market leaders, Apple and Samsung.
Chinese technology giant Huawei will have a major presence at MWC 2023. Organizers say Huawei will have the biggest presence at the show among some 2,000 exhibitors. That’s even after the U.S. pushed allies to get their mobile phone companies to block or restrict Huawei’s networking.