Top 10 things we can't wait to see at MWC in Barcelona

Mobile World Congress is upon us once again with equal parts excitement — and dread. The show floor! The demos! The machines with blinking lights! Screens and lots more screens. Strange virtual reality experiences that may or may not make the case for one wireless tech or another, but definitely draw a crowd! Also 20,000 steps per day at least. 

Our editorial team has packed our sneakers and is ready to hit the ground running in Barcelona. First stop coffee and then we aim to set off for the Fira in search of the following Top 10 things we expect to see at the show.

  1. Early applications using 5G API location tracking will start to emerge this year. Operators are mainly offering open APIs for security, device management and SIM validation so far, but the advent of large vendors getting into the API game will lead to more location tracking apps. Using data from the network will enable enterprise and consumer developers to bring out more location apps to be used in various ways. — Dan Jones
  2. Gen AI and open RAN will compete for the honor of hottest topic at MWC 2024. Who will win: the cloud team or the mobile team? Place your bets now. — Linda Hardesty
  3. AI-based relaxation robots will emerge from the halls of MWC in a waft of scented oils. These human-scale AI-powered machines will be the hit of late 2024 and 2025. These devices will relax your cares away after a hard day at the home office. Their subtle yet metallic fingers will ease away tensions with a gentle massage even though they could just as easily snap your neck like a wishbone. So get relaxin'! — Dan Jones
    robot, therapy session, Freud
    A philosophical discussion about AI (Art by Midjourney for Silverlinings)
  4. One word: Jamón! — Everyone everywhere
  5. More AI! Will this be the year of autonomous AI (a.k.a. The Rise of the Machines)? Not like Terminator, but more along the lines of big mobile operators having philosophical discussions about when and where they will let AI truly take control of the network operations that underpin the communications network. — Steve Saunders and Liz Coyne
  6. Speaking of food again (can you tell what we all look forward to the most?), cheese makes our Top 10. All forms of cheese, especially in the form of cheese sandwiches. — Monica Alleven
  7. Satellite/non-terrestrial networks will rise from the dead and be cool again. Satellite 2.0? — Monica Alleven
  8. More robots! I have already gotten one pitch to meet "digital humans." Watch this space to see what I can find out about this curiosity. Separately, Dan Jones and I were invited to experience something called "FEEL TECH," which apparently allows one person to experience how another person tastes food or drinks, for example, soup or juice. We'd prefer a nice Rioja, personally. — Liz Coyne
  9. Remote surgery, mobile world congress
    Please don't remind us of the remote surgery we saw last year on the show floor...  (Source: Silverlinings)
    Have we mentioned AI yet? Yes, but there's more. GenAI replaces 5G as the hype cycle topic du jour. Gen AI will be hyped so much at this show that people will suggest it can single-handedly do remote surgery! — Linda Hardesty
  10. Last but not least, we hope to see at least one irresistibly fluffy mascot. (See polar bear.) — Liz Coyne
Snowflake mascot, Mobile World Congress 2023, small
See you in Barcelona! (Source: Silverlinings)


Follow our coverage of Mobile World Congress 2024 in our dedicated channel here.