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What to look out for at MWC 2024

MWC Barcelona represents one of the largest gatherings of key players from across the global connectivity landscape. With a focus on the growing ecosystem of connected technologies and services, the event has become increasingly important for the automotive industry – with global OEMs such as BMW, Tesla, and Ford exhibiting at its most recent editions. Beyond the convention hall its importance can be realized across the advancement of various vehicle connectivity technologies, from the expansion of OTA and FOTA updates to the use of 5G in exciting new V2X applications.


Recognizing the potential for MWC 2024 to deliver true innovation, we will be sending two of our experts to explore the event and understand the impact its sessions, exhibitions, and innovations will have on automotive connectivity. In this Insight, we will take a deep dive into what you can expect from MWC 2024, highlighting the trends that we expect will become key talking points for the future of vehicle connectivity.


SBD Automotive MWC Flash Report

Before we get into the key trends for MWC 2024, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified as soon as our event Flash Report becomes available! This complimentary report for SBD Automotive subscribers highlights the OEM trends, latest research announcements, novel products, and significant announcements from the show!


Trend #1 - The evolution of 5G

A core theme of MWC 2024 is 5G and Beyond, through which it will explore the evolution of 5G to 5G Advanced while offering thought leadership and discussions around the impact of this evolution on a number of verticals. Within automotive, 5G is already facilitating exciting new IVI opportunities, such as in-vehicle video streaming and gaming, that are quickly gaining mainstream attention.

At the height of MWC’s activities around 5G is the 5G Futures Summit which offers three sessions that will together take a deep dive into the opportunities presented by 5G in 2024 and beyond. Across these sessions, speakers from Microsoft, Qualcomm, Cisco, Huawei, and more will offer deep insights into how accelerating 5G can open new revenue streams; how 5G Advanced can elevate the standard, provide a competitive edge, and pave the way for new services; and how successful edge computing use cases and deployment strategies can align costs with revenues.

Building on this, the Smart Mobility Summit will explore how advancements in 5G and 5G-enabled technologies will support future mobility solutions. With speakers from Volvo Cars, Harman, AT&T, and more, the summit’s ‘Who’s at the wheel in the connected vehicle revolution’ session will unearth the strong potential offered by the integration of connected vehicles and mobile networks to deliver future transportation innovations, from enhanced safety features to smart navigation.


Beyond the conference halls, an array of 5G exhibitors will be attending MWC 2024, sharing their latest innovations and knowledge. A key exhibitor for the automotive industry is the 5G Automotive Association, a cross-industry organization spanning the automotive, technology, and telecom industries working to develop future mobility and transportation services – whose members include Apple, BMW Group, Ford, GM, and Nio among other global OEMs.

Trend #2 - From 5G to 6G

In addition to offering a range of insights and exhibitions around the automotive future of 5G, MWC 2024 will also look ahead to explore its successor – hosting a variety of discussions that explore both the transition from 5G to 6G and its potential use cases.


At the forefront of this exploration is ‘6G Horizon: Bridging Perspectives for a Sustainable Future’, a conference session that will highlight the multifaceted case for 6G and its impacts on businesses, technologies, and societies. At the conference, members of the European Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) will be joined by representatives from various institutions and companies such as Ericsson and Nokia, who are both supporting the advancement of future V2X technologies, to delve into the broad potential of 6G across several domains. While highlighting the impact of 6G on critical areas such as cybersecurity, the session will also explore how collaborations between industry leaders, policymakers, innovators, and researchers in the field of next-generation connectivity can drive a unified vision of what 6G can and should be.


Taking a deeper dive into the future of smart mobility, and how future connectivity solutions like 6G will empower the smart mobility landscape, is ‘Weaving the Mobility Future: Better Together’ a dedicated panel offered as part of the Smart Mobility Summit. Outlining 6G’s potential within automotive, this session will explore the roles that MNOs, SNOs, HAPS and more will play in the rollout of future mobility technologies, including new connectivity and automation solutions as well as the digital twin.


On the show floor, a wide variety of connectivity players will be exhibiting their latest 5G/6G innovations, ranging from global telecom operators like Orange, through to automotive specialists such as Spirent Communications and Cubic Telecom. Future-focused organizations will offer further insight, such as Thinknet 6G – a 6G thinktank operated by Bayern Innovativ.

Trend #3 - Adopting and implementing AI for vehicle connectivity

In 2023, Generative AI entered the automotive industry and rapidly gained momentum. At the same time, its potential use cases across several domains became a strong talking point across the industry that will continue through 2024. Recognizing this potential through its ‘Humanizing AI’ theme, MWC 2024 will be holding more than 40 sessions focused on AI while bringing in dozens of key AI players as exhibitors, including providers like NVIDIA, BlackBerry and Samsung Semiconductor who are today empowering OEMs with advanced AI solutions.


One of MWC 2024’s standout sessions for automotive is a panel discussion on the development of AI in smart devices. The ‘Putting Human First in AI Development: Key Considerations for Creating AI for Smart Devices’ panel will see senior figures from Qualcomm Technologies, HONOR Device Co. and the GSMA take a deep dive into the importance of a human-centric focus in the design of AI for smart devices, and the potential of next-generation on-device AI, while highlighting the best practices for trust enhancement and privacy protection.

Digging deeper into the relationship between AI and connectivity is a panel hosted by Microsoft that will explore Azure for Operators – understanding how its suite of AI-powered technologies can help customers monetize AI and optimize operations. The suite forms a key part of Microsoft’s Azure AI platform, which itself has been adopted by Mercedes-Benz, TomTom, Cerence, and further automotive players looking to advance their AI capabilities.


Secure your copy of the MWC 2024 Premium Event Report Today!

Across its four days, MWC 2024 will provide invaluable opportunities to experience the latest, most innovative, vehicle connectivity solutions, and gain insights from key players in the global connectivity landscape into the impact of future trends and technologies. However, with more than 2,200 exhibitors at this year’s event, and more than 330 sessions, staying on top of its most important trends can quickly become difficult.


While a portion of these trends have been highlighted in this article, our full MWC Premium Event Report will explore the full extent of what MWC 2024 has to offer for the automotive industry – cutting through the noise to provide the information, analysis, and takeaways you need to strengthen your connectivity strategy. In the report, our experts attending the event will break down its top trends, technologies, and announcements while more broadly identifying its implications for the future of the automotive industry.


Provided as part of our new Premium Event Report Series, the full event report provides a detailed view of MWC 2024’s key automotive conferences, trends, exhibitors, and innovations.

Our new 2024 Event Report Series spans several events taking place over the year, in addition to offering deep insights into MWC 2024, purchasing our Premium Report Series will also provide you with immediate access to our full range of CES 2024 reports, while also securing your copy of our Premium Auto Beijing 2024 Report set to release later this year.


Contact us directly to learn more about our Premium Event Report Series


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