MWC 2018: King of Spain, smartphones, autonomous cars and spacecraft


Written by: Sergiy Vakarin, UkraineIS Chairman

Photos: Vitaly Mamchyn

Last week I was a participant and meetup organizer at the Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile industry gathering and its sister event Four Years From Now – one of the largest startup shows in the world. The event featured showcases and discussions of telecom trends, data processing, smart cities and blockchain, new gadgets and mobile apps as well as a prominent Ukrainian business and startup community.

King of Spain Felipe VI officially opened the Congress. He and the Mayor of Barcelona, despite their political differences, shared a meeting at the Congress and the inaugural picture – a good example how technology unites people. And the Barcelona Smart City project shows how an ancient city like Barcelona can reinvent itself – take just one example of AR tours at the famous Gaudi buildings.

4YFN (4 Years from Now) event was held in parallel at a different (and also large) exhibition hall. In the recent years, it brings together over 600 startups and about 20,000 visitors.  This year’s emphasis was on blockchain, IoT, AI and cybersecurity. 4YFN opened its doors for the fifth time in Barcelona, and Ukraine also marked its fifth year at the fastest growing startup event in the world, as we announced in the previous article.

Read more: Ukraine saves Musk’s Martian dream

Ukrainian presence at the Four Years From Now and the Mobile World Congress itself, the Ukraine@4YFN-MWC event, my experience of presenting Ukrainian technologies and judging the startup pitches deserve a separate article. Another fascinating topic would be many MWC highlights – from gadgets and autonomous cars to robots and spacecraft, and a chance to present the CosmoHack that we conducted during the International Youth Space and Future Forum.Noteworthy, previous MWC editions were stalked by protests – from Femen to Greenpeace. This year, some of the protestors’ concerns were addressed and topics included Women in Tech and reduction of the participants’ carbon footprint. I guessed if this time there will be a protest by those who failed to register even after several attempts. If there is one thing to be improved, it is the registration system with its General Errors and losses of entered data! And at the show itself, you see too many interesting things but struggle to find what you planned to visit. More signs and indicators would not hurt indeed.

Read more: Several space events in Kyiv confirmed Ukraine’s status as a hi-tech nation

In conclusion, organizers deserve great respect for gathering the exponentially growing industry, startups and consumers in one place – and for keeping it manageable.


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